CAMPAIGN ‘96 : Charities to Get Speaking Fees as Promised, Mrs. Dole Says
Elizabeth Hanford Dole says she will ensure that all the money she intended to give to charity has indeed been donated from $875,000 in speaking fees she received from 1991 to 1994.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the leading GOP presidential candidate, has said his wife gave all her fees to the Red Cross after paying taxes and speech-writing expenses and contributing to a retirement fund. But last week, based on an analysis of tax returns and financial disclosure statements, the Los Angeles Times reported she kept about $147,000 more than the senator said.
“My intent clearly is to give that money to the Red Cross,” Mrs. Dole told editors of the Concord Monitor on Monday. “If I find out the accountant didn’t do that, it will go to the Red Cross just as my instructions were given.”
The fees came from groups interested in policy issues before Congress, the Times reported. Mrs. Dole, who held two Cabinet positions before becoming president of the Red Cross in 1991, said her appeal as a speaker had nothing to do with her husband.
“I have a totally separate career,” she said. “Bob Dole is handling every issue before the public. That’s stretching it to say you can’t be involved in anything if your husband is Senate majority leader.”
Mrs. Dole is on unpaid leave as president of the American Red Cross as she helps her husband campaign for president.
Mrs. Dole’s career makes her a sought-after guest speaker. Before joining the Red Cross, she was an appointee of five presidents, serving as a member of the Federal Trade Commission in the 1970s and as secretary of Labor and secretary of Transportation in the 1980s.