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Ellen Clayton Garwood; Donor of $2.5 Million to Contra Causes

Ellen Clayton Garwood, 89, who donated $2.5 million to conservative groups backing Nicaraguan Contras and testified on behalf of former White House aide Oliver L. North. Her donations to the Contras, which made up the bulk of $3 million raised by the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty, earned her personal thanks from President Ronald Reagan. During North’s trial in 1989 in the Iran-Contra affair, Mrs. Garwood testified that North described “desperate” Contra needs to her. But she asserted that he never directly asked for or received money from her while he was a White House aide. In April, 1986, Mrs. Garwood met with Reagan on a trip to Washington that resulted in her giving $2 million to the Contras. In Austin, Tex., on March 20.


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