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"Dedicated to exposing the lies and impeachable offenses of George W. Bush"

Frist rebuts complaint, denies he hid $1.44M loan
Cox News Service

WASHINGTON — In his first public comments about his campaign finances, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist yesterday said he was not trying to hide a $1.44 million loan in 2000 and 2001, as a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission alleges.

Frist said the loan paperwork filed with the FEC "was all done within the FEC guidelines."

The Tennessee Republican also defended his decision in 2000 to invest $1 million of his contributors' money in the stock market even though that investment lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Over time, money that is placed in markets will increase faster than placed in banks," said Frist, who for the first time addressed questions about his investment and the loan. He fielded questions during a meeting in his office with regional reporters.

Only $290,000 remains of Frist's $1 million investment, and that money is being used to pay Frist's routine political expenses, making it less likely that the investment could recoup its losses.

The campaign also owes a $349,000 bank loan.

Frist would not identify the mutual funds in which he invested.

He said the money was placed in "mutual funds, multiple funds," but he did not elaborate. His claim that the money is in more than one mutual fund contradicts campaign aides' claims that the money is in a single fund managed by the Charles Schwab Co.

FEC regulations allow such investments in the stock market and do not require lawmakers to identify the stocks or funds in which they invest.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington last month filed a complaint against Frist with the FEC alleging that he tried to hide the $1.44 million loan his campaign took out in November 2000 so it could repay Frist for money he lent the campaign six years earlier.

The complaint was based on an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story disclosing Frist's campaign finances.

Frist's campaign committee, Frist 2000 Inc., is listed in bank documents as the borrower of the loan, but Frist 2000 did not report the loan to the FEC. Instead, the loan was reported by another Frist committee, Bill Frist for Senate Inc., which was set up in 1994 and was virtually dormant in 2000.

The effect was to make Frist's 2000 campaign looked financially stronger than it actually was at a time when Frist's $1 million investment was losing as much as $160,000 a month.

Is there a single ethical republicans left in Washington? Frist looked at a video of a dead woman on life support and claimed she could get better--and was wrong, now this. If forced to choose between a politician who panders to the religious right and one who lies to your face which do you choose?