Lobbyist: $200K gift to Bush library helps

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Stephen Payne, a significant fundraiser for President Bush's election and reelection campaigns, certainly didn't know he was being videotaped when he suggested that he could arrange some meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration with a big donation to the Bush presidential library.

And Payne, a Houston-based lobbyist and longtime Bush-backer who has served as a volunteer travel-advance planner for White House trips abroad, later told the Sunday Times of London, which today reported on the videotaped meeting between Payne and a Kazakh exile in London purportedly seeking some high-level contact with the Bush administration for a friend back home, that he certainly intended no "quid pro quo.''

For its part, the vice president's office says today that the lobbyist certainly does not arrange meetings for the vice president - though Payne did take part in advance travel planning for the vice president's trip to Kazakhstan in May 2006. And a spokesman for the Bush presidential library says today that the library certainly does not condone any contributions in exchange for anything, and Payne was not making any solicitations or representations on the library's behalf.

"It would be like, maybe a couple of hundred thousand dollars, or something like that, not a huge amount but enough to show that they're serious,'' Payne suggested of the library donation in the meeting videotaped by the newspaper.

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