Paper chase

William Morgan says he's just an innocent document dealer snared in a campaign finance scandal. And if you believe that, he has some old railroad bonds he wants to sell you.

Instead, Ickes faxed Meddoff and Morgan a list of charitable organizations that support Democratic causes to which the money was to be wired (in addition to $500,000 to the DNC). Ickes then turned Meddoff over to Democratic National Committee Chairman Donald Fowler to complete the deal.

Unlike Ickes, though, Fowler smelled a rat. For one thing, there was Meddoff's day job as legislative liaison for a Danish company. Then there was the fact that no one knew who these guys were. Yet even then, Fowler and the DNC were willing to pursue the donation until Meddoff started babbling about the Central Intelligence Agency.

"I asked him for references," Fowler later recalled before the Senate. "He told me, 'Here are a few numbers you can call, but if they answer something about the CIA, don't be surprised.'...After I hung up from that telephone conversation, I forgot about that contribution."

Instead, Meddoff alleges, within the hour Harold Ickes called him back, concerned over the fax about the donations. "He just said, 'I shouldn't have sent that,'" Meddoff testified this fall. "'Could you please just shred it?'" (In his own testimony before the Senate committee, Ickes later denied Meddoff's allegation--sort of--saying he didn't recall giving Meddoff any such instructions.)

In the end, neither the DNC nor Morgan ever saw any of the buckets of cash promised from the Saginaws. But Morgan, ever hopeful, hasn't given up yet. Whether he is self-deluded, a scam artist, or a little of both is an open question.

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