Bush Library Donors Gain Access to Rice and Cheney

UK probe reveals meetings for dollars
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2008 7:52 PM CDT
Lobbyist Stephen Payne has sold meetings with White House figures such as Dick Cheney, pictured here in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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(Newser) – An undercover probe has confirmed rumors that donors to President Bush's $200 million library are gaining access to his inner circle, the London Times reports. Bush lobbyist Stephen Payne offered an undercover reporter face-to-face meetings with Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, among others, for payments of $600,000 to $750,000. “Cheney’s possible, definitely the national security adviser" Stephen Hadley, Payne said.

Meetings with "Dr. Rice" and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte were also "possible," he said. Payne explained that donors are "well received" and recommended to the Bush administration. When challenged, Payne and the White House denied that donors garner any influence by such meetings. Payne said that one-third of donations go to the library, and the rest to his lobbying firm.