- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 25, 2002

Former Republican Gov. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Rep. Bob Clement traded barbs this week over the issue of corporate accountability as the two men battle to become the next U.S. senator from Tennessee.
Mr. Alexander's camp told Mr. Clement this week to "check his facts" before making comments about Mr. Alexander's position on holding crooked CEOs accountable.
While on the campaign trail, Mr. Clement has said Mr. Alexander would not have voted for the Senate corporate accountability bill, which passed the chamber 97-0 July 15. Mr. Clement based this accusation on the fact that Mr. Alexander was quoted several times as saying corporations do not need more regulations, Clement spokeswoman Carol Andrews said.
"Bob Clement has it backwards about Gov. Alexander's position on corporate accountability," Alexander campaign Communications Director Kevin Phillips said Thursday. "If the congressman would spend less time living in Washington and more time visiting Tennessee, he'd know that in early July Gov. Alexander stated his support for increased penalties for fraudulent actions by corporate executives to increase accountability and to require more disclosure."
Mr. Alexander made a statement July 9 supporting President Bush's goals of increasing penalties for corporate fraud, more stringent accountability of CEOs and to require more disclosures, as well as the House bill to protect retirement plans.
Mr. Phillips said the president's goals were implemented into the Senate bill, which was signed into law. He said Mr. Alexander was asked several times about this and that each time he voiced his support for that bill and the president's signing of it.
But Miss Andrews said Mr. Alexander's statement July 9 clearly favored the weaker House bill and did not support the tougher Senate bill on corporate accountability. She said Mr. Alexander is trying "to cover up his lack of support for tough new regulations on corporate cheats."
The Clement camp promised early on to highlight the issue of corporate accountability, saying Mr. Alexander has waffled on it and has deep roots in the corporate world. They have charged that Mr. Alexander made much of his money in corporate America as a direct result of his service in public office.
The Clement camp issued a detailed release Friday, citing, among other things, the money Mr. Alexander has made in the past 15 months by sitting on corporate boards. After examining Mr. Alexander's personal financial disclosures, the Clement camp listed, among other things, $268,000 from the Processed Foods Corporation; $75,000 from the Education Networks of America; $60,500 from Co-Nect; and $44,000 from Beacon Education Management.
Mr. Phillips shot back that, "according to federal disclosure forms, both candidates are millionaires." He said Mr. Alexander made most of his money by working 19 of the past 32 years in the private sector and helping start a company that is now on the Nasdaq.
"Clement has worked in the government or at a university for 29 of the past 32 years. Yet he's worth $2.5 million, and his net worth increased by a million dollars between 1995 and 2001 while in Congress," Mr. Phillips said.
Miss Andrews, in turn, responded that Mr. Clement "made his money the old-fashioned way he earned it." She said that early in his career, Mr. Clement made multiple investments in real estate then held on to those properties while their value increased and that he received small inheritances from family members who have passed away.
"Bob Clement's record is in sharp contrast to that of Lamar Alexander, who has profited from sweetheart deals offered to him as a direct result of his public service," she said.
The two candidates may soon have a chance to hash out this issue and others. Both campaigns have accepted debate invitations from media outlets in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis and Jackson but are squabbling over the dates and details.


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