Night of the Fat Wallets

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Brother, can you spare $250,000? That’s the plea President Clinton will make to 40 or 50 of his wealthiest supporters over dinner Wednesday night in a desperate attempt to balance the Democrat's sagging books as the midterm election season fast approaches. Clinton will ask each of his pals to raise or donate $250,000 over the next two years to help retire the party's $14.5 million debt. The DNC has met all its money targets so far this year, and expects to raise at least $50 million in 1997. But while the flush and comparatively clean GOP continues to set the pace, the Democrats have had to stay ahead of Janet Reno's Untouchables; DNC officials say they will in the next two weeks return another $1.5 million in donations identified as coming from foreign or other suspect sources, bringing the refund total to more than $3 million since the campaign finance controversy erupted. Clinton has reason to dread his job Wednesday. After all, A-list donors who like to think they’re financing policy may recoil at being asked to replace illegitimate money. They may also be growing wearing of being asked to pony up the very soft money contributions that President Clinton says he wants to make illegal.