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Ari & I: May 3, 2001

Russell Mokhiber questions White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

Russell Mokhiber questions White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer gestures as he speaks to reporters at the White House briefing room April 2, 2003 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Mokhiber: Ari, yesterday, I asked you about Koch Industries, which last month pled guilty to a felony environmental crime. The question was -- the campaign took money from the company and from the employees, and you said -- it couldn't have taken money from the company, because it's illegal to take money from the company. Which is true, but I went and checked, and in fact, Koch Industries Political Action Committee (PAC) gave $5,000 to the campaign. And the political action committee is controlled by the company. Back to the original question --

Ari Fleischer: That's not accurate.

Mokhiber: It is accurate.

Ari Fleischer: The political action committee is comprised of voluntary contributions from employees.

Mokhiber: But the company decides how to spend it.

Ari Fleischer: The political action committee decides how to spend it.

Mokhiber: But the company controls the political action committee.

Ari Fleischer: It's not corporate -- the political action committee is a voluntary committee - Is there a question?

Mokhiber: Yes, there is a question -- which I think you dodged yesterday -- given that this money came from what is now a convicted corporate felon, does the President have a policy on accepting money from convicted felons, and should he give it back at least to the PAC, which is controlled by the company?

Ari Fleischer: Again, you are making a tie between individuals and corporations. That's not the case. Corporations cannot give campaign contributions and the campaign did not receive corporate contributions.

Mokhiber:: Excuse me, could I follow up, Ari?

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