Pay To Stay
In all, Bush and first lady Laura Bush have invited at least 270 people to stay at the White House and at least the same number to overnight at the Camp David retreat since moving to Washington in January 2001, according to lists the White House provided The Associated Press.
Some guests spent a night in the Lincoln Bedroom, historic quarters that gained new fame in the Clinton administration amid allegations that Democrats rewarded major donors like Hollywood heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand with accommodations there.
That scandal and Bush's criticism of it is one of the reasons the White House identifies guests. In a debate with Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites) in October 2000, Bush said: "I believe they've moved that sign, `The buck stops here,' from the Oval Office desk to `The buck stops here' on the Lincoln Bedroom. And that's not good for the country."
At least nine of Bush's biggest fund-raisers appear on the latest list of White House overnight guests, covering June 2002 through December 2003, and-or on the Camp David list, which covers last year. They include:
_Mercer Reynolds, an Ohio financier, former Bush partner in the Texas Rangers baseball team and former ambassador to Switzerland. Reynolds is leading Bush's campaign fund-raising effort. He was a guest at the White House and the Camp David retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains.
_Brad Freeman, a venture capitalist who is leading Bush's California fund-raising effort, has raised at least $200,000 for his re-election campaign and is also a major Republican Party fund-raiser. Freeman stayed at the White House.
_Roland Betts, who raised at least $100,000 for Bush in 2000, was a Bush fraternity brother at Yale and a Texas Rangers partner. Betts stayed at the White House and Camp David.
_William DeWitt, a Bush partner in the oil business and Texas Rangers who has raised at least $200,000 for Bush's re-election effort, stayed at the White House.
_James Francis, who headed the Bush campaign's 2000 team of $100,000-and-up volunteer fund-raisers and was a Bush appointee in Texas when Bush was governor. Francis was a White House guest.
_Joseph O'Neill, an oilman and childhood friend who introduced Bush to Laura Bush and raised at least $100,000 for each of Bush's presidential campaigns, stayed at the White House.
_Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and New York Gov. George Pataki, who each raised at least $200,000 for Bush's re-election campaign, were White House guests.
_James Langdon, who raised at least $100,000 for Bush, is a Washington attorney specializing in international oil and gas transactions. Langdon, whose clients include the Russian oil company Lukoil, is a member of Bush's foreign intelligence advisory board and served on Bush's 2000 presidential transition team on energy policy.