Excerpts from: NEW YORK TIMES February 5, 1992 "Wealthy Investment Family a Big Help to Clinton" by Jeff Gerth LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Two days before Bill Clinton's bitterly contested re-election in 1990, the Arkansas Governor grew concerned that his campaign was slipping. He placed calls to members of an influential Arkansas business group, asking them to raise $50,000for his campaign, according to people involved in the effort. "He was somewhat in a panic," recalled Warren A. Stephens, one of those contacted by the Governor. Mr. Stephens is president and chief executive officer of Stephens Inc., the investment banking flagship of the Stephens family empire, which has vast holdings in natural gas, finance and real estate. Published estimates of the family's wealth put it well over $1 billion. Mr. Stephens and his associates quickly agreed to raise the money, providing the pledges that helped Mr. Clinton get $50,000 from a bank the next day. The money was used for last-minute television advertisements. Thus began an important financial alliance that has helped drive Mr. Clinton's campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
The Stephens and their associates have raised more than $100,000 for Mr. Clinton's Presidential campaign so far, soliciting donations from scores of business associates and friends who each contributed up to $1,000, the maximum allowed under Federal laws. Among these Stephens associates is Curt Bradbury, a former employee of Stephens Inc., who is now the chief executive of Worthen National Bank of Arkansas and its parent, the Worthen Banking Corporation, in which the Stephens family own a 38 percent interest. Last month, the Worthen National Bank approved a credit line that allows the Clinton campaign to borrow up to $2 million. The Stephens group's investment firm is one of the nation's largest. Arkansas state auditors have criticized some of its financial dealings with the state, and some critics have complained that the Governor has allowed the Stephenses to exercise too much influence over state government. -- Ties to Republicans -- In the 1980's, there were few visible financial ties between Governor Clinton and the Stephens family. The Stephenses seemed more closely aligned with the Republicans. Stephens Inc. and its chairman, Jackson T. (Jack) Stephens, donated $100,000 to the national Republican Party both in 1988 and 1991. But beginning in 1990, the Stephenses started paying closer attention to the Democratic Governor. Mr. Clinton's Republican opponent that year was a critic of the Stephenses who wanted to reduce their financial dealings and their general influence in the state. "I would have brought all this to a halt, the free ride in Arkansas, doing what they wanted with the blessing of the Governor," the losing candidate, Sheffield Nelson, said in an interview. Mr. Nelson is a Little Rock lawyer. The state auditor, Julia Hughes Jones, opposed two state pension fund investments that Stephens Inc., arranged in 1987 and 1988, noting that Stephens had represented both the bond issuers and the bond purchasers. In an interview, Mrs. Jones, who is an elected official, said she believed the Stephenses should have given the pension fund more information about what it was doing. She added that outside advisors should have been brought in. And she complained that the Stephenses' fees were excessive, though Mrs. Jones did support subsequent deals after Stephens lowered its fees. Warren Stephens defended the state pension investment deals, saying their "record has been outstanding." The trustees of the pension funds, most of them appointed by Mr. Clinton, did agree to the investments, and Mr. Clinton also gave approval. ________________ Interesting to see this in the TIMES, especially back then. On the other hand, the TIMES reported the Whitewater land deal not long after. So what does this have to do with Gennifer Flowers? The $2 million loan to Clinton from Worthen National came one week after Ms. Flowers publicly discussed her intimate relationship with the Governor. The money paid for a television ad blitz that saved Clinton' campaign. And the rest is history. Also note, it is illegal for a securities firm, like Stephens Inc., to own a bank, like Worthen National. The Stephens convinced regulators to circumvent the law by changing Worthen's charter from federal to state. Jackson Stephens loves a good bank deal. He assisted the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in its initial attempts to buy an American bank, something the Fed did not approve of. BCCI, of course, succeeded in buying First American Bankshares. Jackson Stephens also helped arrange a loan for George Bush, Jr. from a BCCI affiliate in Switzerland so he could buy a chunk of Harken Energy. Larry