Former president Bill Clinton is being dispatched by his wife’s campaign to an Ohio fundraiser co-hosted by a lawyer who worked to shield the Clinton White House from releasing information during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Clinton will be a special guest at the $1,000-a-head event being held at the Contemporary Arts Center in Downtown Cincinnati that is being co-hosted by lawyer Tim Armstrong, who was hired by the White House to defend Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
Armstrong was a leading lawyer in the 1998 effort by the White House to block investigators from forcing top aides to testify on a grand jury.
Armstrong authored the legal memo arguing in the case of Sidney Blumenthal that presidential communications privilege could be invoked. The memo also argued that Bruce Lindsey, who was White House deputy counsel and now is chairman of the board at the Clinton Foundation, could invoke attorney-client privilege to avoid testifying.
Armstrong was working for Washington, D.C., law firm Howrey, Simon, Arnold, & White when the White House hired him.
He now works as a law professor at the University of Cincinnati, which touts Armstrong’s efforts during the Lewinsky investigation on its website.
“During the Monica Lewinsky investigation in 1998, he defended the Office of the President of the United States in executive and attorney-client privilege litigation arising from the Independent Counsel's issuance of grand jury subpoenas to attorneys in the White House Counsel's Office,” it says on Armstrong’s official university biography.
Both Armstrong and his wife Eisha, who is also listed as a host for the fundraiser, are currently registered as Democrats in Ohio. Eisha has already contributed the maximum allowable amount of money to Clinton’s campaign.
Neither Armstrong nor the Clinton campaign returned requests for comment.
The Clinton campaign has postponed fundraisers that had the potential to hurt it in the polls against the surging Bernie Sanders campaign, but now seems to be scaling its fundraising apparatus back up after the $5.2 million boost that Sanders received following his New Hampshire performance.
The event will also be co-hosted by lawyer Richard Lawrence, a longtime Democratic donor who was accused of paying his way into a White House meeting with President Clinton.
Lawrence was one of the guests of a White House Coffee meeting for Democratic National Committee donors in March 1996.
DNC officials admitted to the Washington Post in 1997 that potential donors were told that $50,000 would buy them an invitation to the White House for coffee with Clinton. The meetings were described to Clinton as "political fundraisers in everything but name and the timing of the solicitation."
The president was told that coffee events brought in about $400,000 for the party, which set up at least 34 White House coffee events from January 1995 to August 1996 as it was preparing for Clinton’s reelection effort.
Clinton was criticized for using the White House to assist with fundraising but also said that he “genuinely enjoyed” the meetings and “did not believe they were improper.”
The coffee date with Clinton seems to have made Lawrence a supporter of Hillary Clinton, too. His contributions to her began with $1,000 in 1999 to her first Senate campaign. He maxed out to her Senate campaign in 2005 and also her presidential campaign in 2008.
Ahead of this cycle, Lawrence was a national co-chair of the Ready for Hillary national finance council, and has now contributed an additional $2,700 to her current campaign.