- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 29, 2002

Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, borrowed $50,000 from America Online founder James V. Kimsey last year the second time in two years he has taken a loan from a friend for help with his personal financial troubles.
"There may be questions about my judgment in accepting this loan," Mr. Moran said yesterday in a prepared statement. "But there was no compromise of the public trust involved in this transaction."
The loan was made in January, 2001 at 15 percent interest and was paid in three months, according to financial disclosure forms Mr. Moran released yesterday.
House rules say a member may take a loan provided it is made on "commercially reasonable terms, including requirements for repayment and a reasonable rate of interest."
The going rate for personal loans is 6 percent to 9 percent.
Mr. Moran had planned to make monthly payments of $816.76, which was scheduled to mature by March 15, 2011. He made a final payment of $49,614.08 on April 27, 2001.
"The loan was paid back early because the congressman had made some money on [stock] options" and used "personal money to pay the $2,000 interest," said Daniel F. Drummond, Mr. Moran's spokesman.
The loan was made to Mr. Moran less than three months after it was disclosed that he had taken a $25,000 loan from drug-company lobbyist Terry Lierman. At the time of the disclosure, Mr. Lierman was running for Congress against Rep. Constance A. Morella, Maryland Republican. Mr. Lierman lost to Mrs. Morella by 4 percentage points, and many thought the disclosure of the loan hurt Mr. Lierman's chances.
There were several investigations into the matter; all were dropped.
Leslie Kerman, Mr. Moran's attorney, said the latest loan was legal but that she would advise her client to stay away from similar situations.
"I hope he wouldn't take it again," she said. "I don't think he would."
Larry Klayman, chairman of Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, said such loans should not be legal for members of Congress.
"He should go to a bank like everyone else," Mr. Klayman said.
Spokesmen for both Mr. Moran and Mr. Kimsey said the loan was nothing more than a friend helping a friend. The two men have known each other for more than 15 years, and Mr. Moran at one time was Mr. Kimsey's stockbroker.
"The way I understand it, Jim said he would like to give the congressman the money, and [Mr. Moran] said no. He kept insisting, and so finally we said the only way we could do it was with a loan," Mrs. Kerman said.
"They originally came to us with 7 percent, and we went back to them with 15 percent because we wanted it to be beyond reproach," she said.
Mr. Kimsey, who resigned from AOL in 1996, was out of the country yesterday. His chief of staff, Peter Kirsch, said Mr. Kimsey wanted to help a friend.
"This had nothing to do with AOL. If you know Jim Kimsey at all, you know he is famous for helping his friends," Mr. Kirsch said.
In March 2001, Mother Jones, a liberal policy magazine, rated Mr. Kimsey as one of the 400 persons most generous to political organizations during the 2000 campaign, giving to a wide range of people and causes on both sides of the aisle.
Mother Jones reported that during the election cycle, Mr. Kimsey gave to such varied interests as the Congressional Black Caucus, the New Republican Majority Fund and both of New York's senatorial candidates, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rick Lazio.
Mr. Moran has had other loan trouble. In 1984 he was forced to resign as vice mayor of Alexandria for illegally accepting a loan.
He later became mayor of Alexandria and was elected to Congress in 1990.


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