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Nickles taped political promotion from office

Sen. Don Nickles, who criticized President Clinton's White House events for Democratic donors, filmed a promotional video in his Senate office for a company that matches Republican donors with congressional races.

"It was a mistake," said Brook Simmons, spokesman for the Oklahoma Republican. "He's not going to do it again."

Senate and House rules prohibit lawmakers from using congressional facilities for non-official purposes such as campaign, fund-raising or profit-making activities.

Nickles, in a statement issued through Simmons, said "I don't know" whether the rules were violated. "I don't think so. But if it's a gray area, or even close, I don't want to be doing it."

Nickles, the assistant majority leader, four House members and a former House member appeared on the videotape for Triad Management, a political consulting company.

On the tape, made before last year's election, Nickles called Triad "a fantastic organization where it's pulling people together that want to make a difference. And this is a very effective organization that's going in and helping us, in those races that are close, those races that are targeted."

Simmons said the filming "was not a solicitation for anything, so he didn't do anything illegal."

Federal law generally prohibits soliciting campaign contributions from federal buildings, and congressional ethics rules ban such activity even when the potential donor is not on government property.

Current lawmakers on the video are Republican Reps. John T. Doolittle and George Radanovich of California, J.C. Watts of Oklahoma and David McIntosh of Indiana. Spokesmen for all four said their segments were not filmed in government space.

At hearings of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee last month, Nickles was among the most vocal Republican critics of Clinton's donor events and his invitations to contributors to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House.

"As a matter of fact, this administration has broken all kinds of records of sleazy campaign practices," Nickles said at a hearing that featured White House videotapes of donor events.