WASHINGTON – Maryland residents have given $310,000 to the Clinton legal defense fund since its inception, including $16,521 in the last half of 2000, according to figures released by the fund Wednesday.
The 315 contributions from Maryland in the second half of the year ranged from $1 to $1,000. The total was down sharply from the first half of the year, when 416 contributors gave about $50,000.
Since February 1998, the Clinton Legal Expense Trust has received a total of about $8.7 million from about 116,000 contributors nationwide. The fund collected $646,000 from about 11,000 contributors nationwide during the last six months.
Giving was also down nationally in the second half of the year, falling from $950,000 in the first six months of 2000, trust officials said.
The trust has paid out $7.4 million to the Clintons’ various law firms. Trust administrators said the Clintons still owe about $3.9 million in legal fees from troubles associated with the Whitewater real estate development in Arkansas and the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Maryland ranked 14th in the nation in per capita contributions. Washington, D.C., was first, Virginia was fifth and Pennsylvania was 18th in per capita giving during the period. Delaware was 30th in donations per capita for the last half of the year.
During the life of the fund, 3,317 Maryland residents have contributed, according to trust figures and the federal campaign watchdog group FECInfo.
The largest contribution during the last six months of 2000 was $1,000 from a resident of Montgomery Village. None of the Maryland residents gave the maximum allowable contribution of $10,000 — most gave $100 or less.
Terry Mousley of Greenbelt gave $4 to the fund.
“I don’t make a whole lot of money, but I did want to give something,” she said. Mousley performs telephone surveys of radio listeners for the Arbitron Co.
Mousley, who twice voted for Clinton, said she voted for his vice president, Al Gore, in the 2000 presidential election.
“I’m still a Clinton supporter. A lot of it (scandal) is due to the Republicans. Clinton really didn’t do anything worse . . . than (President George) Bush Sr.’s pardons,” she said.
Potomac resident Debra P. Ekman is another Clinton fan. She tied for second highest contribution by giving $500.
“He was a very good president,” Ekman said. She conceded, however, that she would be less likely to give money to help the former president defend himself against charges of impropriety in his last-minute award of pardons in some high-profile cases.
“I don’t feel as good about him now,” Ekman said.
Anthony F. Essaye, executive director of the trust, said that when the trust was new, contributions increased when the Clintons were in the news, such as during the impeachment trial. One official said contributions came “fast and furious” during the Lewinsky scandal.
Now they are more dependent on mailings soliciting funds, Essaye said, adding that contributions have tapered off since the last mailing was sent in December.
Essaye said the trust would hold off on new mailings until Clinton decides if he wants to continue the appeals. The trust could not coordinate their activities with Clinton while he was in office, but it recently contacted his staff to determine the former president’s wishes.
Now that Hillary Clinton has is a senator from New York, the fund is barred by ethics rules from accepting contributions from Senate employees. It has never accepted contributions from corporations, labor unions, political action committees, or non-citizens, according to trust officials, nor did it take donations from White House staffers when Clinton was in office.