Clinton aides say Morris lied about book Deal with publisher was signed in January

September 12, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

PUEBLO, Colo. -- White House aides said yesterday it is now apparent that Dick Morris, President Clinton's former strategist and pollster, deceived Clinton about his plans to write a book on his role as a presidential adviser.

Morris, the aides say, repeatedly refused this year to sign a new consulting contract with the Clinton-Gore campaign that contained a confidentiality clause barring him from kiss-and-tell.

No sooner did Morris resign last month after a tabloid reported that he had had a yearlong relationship with a $200-an-hour prostitute, than word came that he had signed a contract with Random House to tell his story.

That was followed by a disclosure from officials at Random House, a division of Advance Publications Inc., that Morris had agreed to write the book while he was still working for the president.

This week came the disclosure that Morris signed the $2.5 million book contract in January, days after his 1995 consulting contract with the Clinton-Gore campaign expired -- and with it a clause prohibiting him from disclosing privileged information.

Morris balked at signing a new contract, arguing over money.

"The president encourages his consultants to deal in a spirit of openness with the campaign, including on subjects of disclosure," the White House spokesman, Mike McCurry, said yesterday when asked for Clinton's reaction to the latest disclosure.

But quietly, White House aides were livid. They noted that Morris' four-month contract with the campaign had expired Dec. 31, days before he signed the book deal, and they accused him of taking advantage of the gap.

By settling the book deal in early January, Morris also eluded financial disclosure requirements that would have forced him to report the advance if he had received it before the end of 1995.

Morris declined to comment on the book arrangement, referring questions to Random House.

Pub Date: 9/12/96

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