WASHINGTON — One of the American Plastics Council's chief lobbyists, Daniel Dutko, spent at least one night as a guest in the White House, according to documents released Feb. 25 by the Clinton administration.
The administration released its list of 831 overnight guests amid questions about whether access to the White House has been used to get political contributions.
APC paid Dutko's firm, Dutko Group Inc., $100,000 in the first six months of 1996, the last period for which figures are available, and has used the firm more extensively in the past. APC said it relies heavily on outside lobbyists.
But an APC spokeswoman said Dutko was not at the White House on its behalf and said Dutko's firm is hired by APC to lobby only Congress, and not the Clinton administration. APC is only one of many clients of Dutko, said APC spokeswoman Susan Kissler.
``He gets paid by people like us to do a job for us, such as lobbying,'' she said.
``That's all our relationship is with Dan Dutko.''
Dutko, chairman and chief executive officer of the firm, has given $2,000 to Clinton since May 1995, and he and members of the firm contributed tens of thousands of dollars to national Democratic campaign committees and individual Democratic candidates in 1995 and 1996, according to federal records analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.
APC is one of 59 clients Dutko's firm reported income from in those six months, including $120,000 from Empire Sanitary Landfill Inc., $100,000 from AT&T Wireless, $60,000 each from Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Federal Express and $10,000 from the Jewish National Fund.
The White House list did not give the date or details of Dutko's visit, and a spokeswoman referred calls to White House Special Counsel Lanny Davis, who could not be reached. Clinton has said he invited guests to the White House to mollify supporters who felt he was out of touch with them.
Calls to Dutko were not returned by deadline.
According to lobbying registration and income statements Dutko filed with Congress, the company lobbied for APC on two bills in the first half of 1996: the Interstate Transportation of Municipal Solid Waste Act of 1995, and the State and Local Government Interstate Waste Bill.
APC has the firm lobby only Congress because it specializes in legislative work, according to Kissler.
APC said in its congressional filing that it spent $80,000 lobbying Capitol Hill in those six months, including money paid to Dutko and time spent by APC's two on-staff federal lobbyists. A majority of that $80,000 was spent on Dutko, according to APC.
Two other Washington firms are registered lobbyists for APC: Holland & Hart LLP and LaRock Associates Inc. Holland apparently did not file an income statement from APC in the period and LaRock reported no payments from APC.