Associated Press
February 14, 2000

Mrs. Clinton Picks Up Irish Award

By Shannon McCaffrey

WASHINGTON--Hillary Rodham Clinton picked up an award Monday for her work on the peace process in northern Ireland and helped raise cash for a group of Irish Democrats.

The $500-a-head fund-raiser at the Georgetown home of Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, a former U.S. ambassador to Portugal, benefited the Irish American Democrats, a political action committee.

The group's director, Stella O'Leary, said she expected to spend the maximum allowable $10,000 on the first lady's Senate bid and would also spend money on Al Gore's presidential run.

"This tonight will benefit Hillary's campaign," Bagley told about 100 guests.

The event was billed as an official White House function and at least one White House staffer attended with Clinton. Candidates for federal office are barred from using official staff for campaign-related events like fund raising.

But Clinton's campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson maintained the fund-raiser was for the Irish American Democrats. "We have no control over how they spend their money," he said.

O'Leary said the group would hold another fund-raiser for Clinton on St. Patrick's Day.

The award comes after the first lady ran into trouble with the Irish community by agreeing to march in New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Many Democrats avoid the parade because it excludes the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization. Clinton's likely Senate rival, Republican New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, always marches.

The award also comes as the peace process in northern Ireland is in jeopardy. Clinton said the setback was "a bump in the road but it's going to be resolved."

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