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Congressional Accountability Project
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For Immediate Release: For More Information Contact:

Thursday, April 17, 1997 Gary Ruskin (202) 296-2787

Statement of Ralph Nader on the First Republican Bank for Fallen Public Officials

(Easy Loan Terms -- Not FDIC Insured)

There now emerges a Dole Bank for failed and corrupt politicians.

"Feel beaten and battered by ethics charges, try a Dole Rehabilitation Loan...No interest, no principal, no worries until the next century."

Perhaps Bob Dole's generosity stems from a feeling that the Republican Party shares in the Gingrich guilt and in the failings of the 104th Congress.

The Ethics Committee and the House of Representatives may be tempted to accept the easy loan terms. But the American people will see this as another easy dodge for a Speaker who has made a career of easy dodges from responsibility.

The bizarre Gingrich-Dole agreement has a loophole that Gingrich can exploit to avoid paying his fine from his own pocket. The term of the Dole loan extends for eight years. That term extends beyond when Gingrich may remain Speaker of the House under Republican rules -- January 3, 2003. Gingrich could leave office in 2003, and raise private money to repay the loan. Such a scheme would defeat the purpose of the fine: that Speaker Gingrich should be punished for bringing dishonor to the House of Representatives.

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, or, if necessary, the full House of Representatives, should reject this ruse. Gingrich must pay the fine from his own pocket. No one should shoulder Gingrich's burden but Gingrich.

Bob Dole now works for the Washington law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand. That firm was recently hired by major tobacco firms, including Phillip Morris, R. J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, and Lorillard, to provide advice on handling multi-billion dollar tobacco litigation.

Who is really helping Speaker Gingrich escape personal responsibility for paying his fine? Where is the Dole loan money coming from? Is it coming from Bob Dole's pocket, or Big Tobacco's deep pockets, or where?