- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2000

Hillary Rodham Clinton, blessed with an $8 million advance on a new book contract, is looking to rent or buy a house in Washington. She is believed to prefer something fashionably pricey, in Georgetown or Kalorama.
Published reports in New York City say the senator-elect from New York is putting the Clintons' $7.5 million house in Chappaqua, N.Y., up for sale.
Susan Berger, a real estate agent with Evers & Co. in the District, and wife of National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger, confirmed yesterday that she has "been showing [Mrs. Clinton] rentals."
But Mrs. Berger said she knows nothing about reports that the first lady is buying the so-called Auchincloss house, on 29th Street across from O Street NW near Christ Episcopal Church in Georgetown. The house is priced at $4.3 million.
"I heard the same rumor at a cocktail party a week ago," said Jean Smith, a real estate agent. "But it is not true."
Mrs. Berger declined to identify the areas of the city in which the rental homes are located.
Another real estate saleswoman, who asked not to be identified, said Mrs. Clinton has been checking out rentals in Georgetown, Kalorama and other neighborhoods in "close-in Washington." Rentals start at $5,000 per month in those neighborhoods.
Mrs. Clinton's personal finances got a lift last week as a result of the $8 million advance she is said to be receiving from Simon & Schuster for her memoirs as first lady.
The advance was a hot topic on network political talk shows this weekend.
Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican, was asked about it Saturday on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields."
"We want to treat Sen. Clinton with great respect, and, as long as she abides by the rules of the Senate, I don't think she'll have any problems," said Mr. Nickles. Pressed, he acknowledged he does not know if Senate rules permit the kind of windfall Mrs. Clinton is due to receive. "I haven't written any books," he said.
Up to now, he added, no one in the Senate has ever received "anything like an advance of $8 million."
"We do have restrictions on outside earned income. And I don't know that those rules were even contemplated with anything of this magnitude."
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was asked about the propriety of Mrs. Clinton's new book deal on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday.
"I don't want to get into that. I thought the abuse of [former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich a few years ago" about a $4.5 million advance he was offered for his book, "To Renew America," was uncalled for. Therefore, "I'm a little bit hesitant to be critical here," said the Mississippi Republican. Mr. Gingrich ultimately rejected the advance because of protests from Democrats.
Asked whether the Senate Ethics Committee must approve the book deal, Mr. Lott said, "Perhaps." He said he can't be certain, since Mrs. Clinton is getting a portion of the money from the publishing house as a senator-elect, not as a member of the Senate.
"Does that make it different? I don't know. Perhaps so, but I'm not going to start off being critical of her," said the Senate's top Republican.
In an interview Friday on NBC's "Today" show, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said the ethics committee might want to take a hard look at the book contract.
Two government watchdog groups, Common Cause and the Congressional Accountability Project, have asked Mrs. Clinton to take only royalties from sales of the book, not the advance.
Mrs. Clinton's deal with Simon & Schuster is the second-largest advance ever for a book. The only one bigger was the $8.5 million reportedly paid for Pope John Paul II's "Crossing the Threshold of Hope."
Officials of Simon & Schuster have refused to say how much money Mrs. Clinton is receiving up front for her untitled book, which is scheduled to be published in 2003. She is said to have asked for all of it in advance, perhaps to avoid violation, or perception of violation, of Senate conflict-of-interest rules.
The proposed book was the subject of a multimillion-dollar bidding war in the publishing industry. The price soared last week from $5 million Monday to $8 million Friday, after Mrs. Clinton suggested she will be candid in the book about her life and marriage, according to the New York Daily News.
Mrs. Clinton who has written three other books for Simon & Schuster has said she plans to donate some of the money to charity.

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