Clintons put assets into a blind trust


WASHINGTON -- After questions yesterday about mone Hillary Rodham Clinton holds in a mutual fund that has invested in health-related stocks, the White House announced that the president and his wife had decided weeks ago to put their assets into a blind trust and have nearly finished the process.

"The paperwork has been completed and is at the Office of Government Ethics" for review, said the White House deputy communications director, Ricki Seidman.

Ms. Seidman said she did not know precisely when the Clintons began preparations for the trust, only that the move has been in the works for weeks.

The Clintons have assets of roughly $1 million -- government financial disclosure forms do not show the precise amount but only a range of values -- much of which was tied up in Mrs. Clinton's law partnership until she left the firm after the election.

Between $50,001 and $100,000 of their money is in a mutual fund run by Smith Capital Management Inc., a Little Rock, Ark., investment company in which Mrs. Clinton has held shares since 1986. The fund, in turn, as of Dec. 31, had about 13 percent of its $8.9 million holdings in health-related companies ranging from a hospital to a medical equipment manufacturing company.

Mrs. Clinton's investment and a list of the stocks was disclosed on forms released by the White House this week. As head of the administration's health care task force, Mrs. Clinton's decisions clearly would have some potential impact on the stock of virtually any health care-related firm. Indeed, given the importance of health care to the economy, decisions on that issue would almost certainly affect the stock value of practically any company in any industry.

But no law requires Mrs. Clinton to sell her holdings or place them into a trust because she is not a government employee.

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