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Saturday, 3 February, 2001, 03:52 GMT
Clintons try to defuse gifts furore
Former US President Bill Clinton
Mr Clinton says he wants to eliminate any doubts
Former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary are to reimburse several high-profile supporters who showered them with gifts in their final year in the White House.

To eliminate even the slightest question, we are taking the step of paying for gifts given to us in 2000

former President Bill Clinton
According to their office, the Clintons will pay back $86,000, slightly less than half the value of the $190,000 in gifts they kept when leaving the White House.

The Clintons' unprecedented amount of gifts caused a furore among Republican and Democratic critics, not least their acceptance of two coffee tables and chairs worth $7,375 from Denise Rich.

A top Democratic Party fundraiser, Mrs Rich spent last year lobbying for a presidential pardon for her former husband, who fled the country in 1983 under indictment for tax evasion and racketeering.

'Slightest question'

Marc Rich received a pardon from the former president as he left office.

Gift list
Denise Rich: Coffee tables and chairs, $7,300
Ronald and Beth Dozoretz: Dining table, server and golf clubs, $7,000
Steven Spielberg: China, $4,920
Ted Danson and Mary Steenburger: China, $4,800
Jack Nicholson: Golf club, $350
Sylvester Stallone: Boxing gloves, $300
In an accompanying statement, the Clintons said they were paying for the gifts "to eliminate even the slightest question."

Mr Clinton added: "As have other Presidents and their families, we received gifts and followed all of the gift rules."

The former first lady also commented: "I believe the step we are taking today reaffirms that I am fully committed to being the best Senator I can possibly be for the people of New York."

Famous friends

The gifts being repaid include furniture, televisions, clothing, china and works of art.

Also among the people to be repaid are movie mogul Steven Spielberg and actors Kate Capshaw, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburger.

Actor Jack Nicholson is also expected to receive payment for a golf driver worth $350.

Brian Ready, from the Clintons' adopted hometown of Chappaqua, New York is also expected to be reimbursed for a portrait of their dog, Buddy, valued at $300.

A photograph of Duke Ellington, given to the Clintons by documentary maker Ken Burns, will be donated to the Duke Ellington School in Washington.

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See also:

26 Jan 01 | Americas
Clinton gifts under scrutiny
20 Jan 01 | Americas
Clinton pardons 100
20 Jan 01 | PM
Where next for Clinton?
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