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Barrack leads the list of local Clinton donors

The Barrack Foundation, led by a prominent lawyer who is also a leader of the Philadelphia Jewish community, donated between $100,000 and $250,000.

Leonard Barrack and his wife, Lynne , carry an Ashkenazi torah to the Bryn Mawr school named for his brother, Jack M. Barrack.
Leonard Barrack and his wife, Lynne , carry an Ashkenazi torah to the Bryn Mawr school named for his brother, Jack M. Barrack.Read moreMICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

The Barrack Foundation, led by a prominent lawyer who is also a leader of the Philadelphia Jewish community, donated between $100,000 and $250,000.

Another Philadelphia lawyer, active in Democratic politics and a longtime backer of former President Bill Clinton, gave $50,000.

They are among numerous individuals, companies and organizations with ties to the Philadelphia region who have contributed $25,000 or more to the William J. Clinton Foundation, according to a list of donors released yesterday by the foundation.

No Philadelphia-area donors were among the heaviest of the heavy hitters on the list, two of whom gave more than $25 million.

In March 2003, the Annenberg Foundation donated $1 million for the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., according to the Radnor-based foundation's Web site.

The Annenberg Foundation, which also has offices in California, donates heavily to projects involving education, communication and the arts. Walter Annenberg once owned the The Inquirer.

Among the biggest area donors was the Barrack Foundation, of Bryn Mawr, which is led by attorney Leonard Barrack and his wife, Lynne.

Leonard Barrack, the founding partner of Barrack, Rodos & Bacine, a law firm specliazing in securities litigation, is president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

The Barrack Foundation recently gave $5 million to Akiba Hebrew Academy, which moved from Merion to Bryn Mawr and renamed itself Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in honor of Barrack's late brother.

Barrack did not respond to a request for comment left yesterday on his voice mail at his office.

Thomas Leonard, a former Philadelphia city controller who headed Bill Clinton's Pennsylvania fund-raising efforts in 1992 and 1996, has long been a supporter of both Clinton and Gov. Rendell. He said he gave $50,000 to the Clinton foundation in 2001.

"I wanted nothing from the former president and have received nothing from the former president," Leonard said. "I just thought he had been a great president and wanted to support the [Clinton presidential] library."

Leonard, a partner with the firm of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, said Clinton's fund-raising effort began soon after the former president left office in early 2001.

Several weeks ago, Leonard said, donors got a letter from Clinton saying he planned to disclose their names and asking if they had any serious objections. Leonard said he had none and "just threw that out."

Also on the donor list is Knoll Inc., the East Greenville manufacturer of office furniture. The company gave between $50,000 and $100,000.

Company spokesman David Bright said Knoll has been affiliated with the Clinton Global Initiative, a nonprofit group concerned with environmental and social issues.

Bright said Knoll helped to sponsor the group's annual conference in New York in September, in part by donating office chairs.

The Global Initiative asks companies to take specific, measurable actions to improve the world. Bright said Knoll agreed to reduce its carbon emissions by 4 percent, and actually reduced them by 8.8 percent.

Keystone Systems Services Inc., a Harrisburg company that provides community residential services for people with mental illness and disabilities, gave between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the list Clinton released.

But Dennis Felty, the president, said the only money that Keystone gave to the Clinton Foundation was the $15,000 it donated in each of the last two years for the Global Initiative.

A life-long Republican, Felty said he is a great admirer of Clinton's organization.

"It's the most extraordinary thing I've ever had the privilege to be part of," he said. "It's had a tremendous impact on major global issues."

Merck & Co., Inc., which is headquartered in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and employs thousands of employees in the region, was listed as giving $25,000 to $50,000.

Company spokesman Amy Rose said she was unfamilar with the report. But she said Merck has participated in the Global Initiative.

Among elected officials who gave to Clinton were Gov. Corzine ($100,000 to $250,000) and Democratic U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg ($25,000 to $100,000), both of New Jersey.

Other notable names on the Clinton list included Dikembe Mutombo, the 7-foot-2 former member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

A surprise name was Richard M. Scaife. Though no address or business affiliation was listed, the $100,000 to $250,000 in contribuitions attributed to that name presumably came from the publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, a conservative Republican and former arch foe of Clinton's when the former president was in office.

Scaife and Clinton have reconciled, according to media reports.