Nation: Vesco's Latest Caper

How the financier tried to buy influence at the White House

PLEASE SEE SPENCER LEE FROM ALBANY WHEN HE REQUESTS AN APPOINTMENT. This terse handwritten note from Jimmy Carter to Attorney General Griffin Bell lay forgotten for 19 months in a filing cabinet at the Justice Department. Last week it emerged at the center of a mystery that threatened to embarrass Carter and some of his closest associates.

At first, the flap seemed to have some of the ingredients of a first-class scandal. The evidence seemed to suggest that Financier Robert Lee Vesco had masterminded a well-funded campaign to buy influence from some of...

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