Big companies to pay for Brown party

January 13, 1993|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Some of the largest U.S. and Japanese companies have agreed to pay at least $10,000 each for a party to honor the next commerce secretary, Ronald H. Brown, at a pre-inaugural gala on Sunday.

The sponsors of the "Friends of Ron Brown" party, an array of business interests that will probably have issues coming before the Commerce Department, include Anheuser Busch, J. C. Penney, Pepsico,Textron and Sony Music Entertainment.

Democratic and inaugural committee officials said they knew of no other corporate-sponsored parties for other nominees to President-elect Bill Clinton's Cabinet. But as part of inaugural events in 1989, Philip Morris, the tobacco and food conglomerate, sponsored a reception for for Clayton Yeutter, President Bush's nominee for agriculture secretary.

The party for Mr. Brown, to be held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will come 11 days after he aggressively rebuffed ethics questions raised at his Senate confirmation hearing. Appearing before the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last Wednesday, Mr. Brown said that his background as a lawyer-lobbyist did not pose any potential for conflict of interest.

The details of the party raised new questions from ethics groups. But Ginny Terzano, a spokeswoman for Mr. Brown, asserted yesterday that the "Friends of Ron Brown" party posed no ethical problems.

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