WASHINGTON, July 6 -- A White House spokeswoman said Saturday the U.S. Embassy in Moscow made sure any official information from the United States to Russia during that country's recent election did not have a partisan affect on the election. Reports in The Washington Post and the Time magazine edition to appear on the stands Monday say a team composed of former Republican staff and campaign strategists for California Gov. Pete Wilson covertly helped engineer Russian President Boris Yeltsin's election victory and worked closely with Tatyana Dyachenko, Yeltsin's daughter and de facto campaign manager. The White House spokeswoman said any official information from the United States to Russia during the election was for the purpose of developing democratic institutions. Asked about the reports that 'private Americans' had worked with 'one or more of the candidates,' the spokeswoman said the U.S. Embassy in Moscow made sure 'this information did not affect the election in any partisan way.' The Time article said the team included Joe Shuate, a GOP expert in political data analysis who had served as deputy chief of staff to Wilson; George Gorton, Wilson's long-time top strategist; Steven Moore, a public relations specialist from Washington; and Richard Dresner, a New York-based consultant who had worked with Shumate and Gorton on many of Wilson's campaigns. The report also said that in the late 1970s and 1980s, Dresner had joined with Dick Morris to help elect Bill Clinton governor of Arkansas. As President Clinton's current political adviser, Morris became the middleman when the Americans sought the administration's help in Yeltsin's re-election drive.
Although Dresner denied dealing with Morris, Time reports that 'three other sources have told Time that on at least two occasions the team's contacts with Morris were 'substantial.'' The report said when Yeltsin once balked at doing a television spot with Yeltsin speaking, the team reached out to Morris, communicating in code, calling Clinton the governor of California and Yeltsin the governor of Texas. Time said the team wanted Clinton to urge Yeltsin to do the TV spot. The magazine said the request reached Clinton, 'but no one will say whether the call (to Yeltsin) was made.' Yeltsin did eventually appear in the TV ad. The report said the team was brought together by Felix Braynin, who had immigrated from Belarus to San Francisco in 1979 and is now a wealthy management consultant who advises Americans interested in investing in Russia. Clinton called Yeltsin Friday to congratulate him on his re-election. Earlier, a White House official said Clinton told Yeltsin he was impressed by his success in resisting the hard-liners, led by his opponent Gennadi Zyuganov, and he lauded Yeltsin for his 'tenacity, vision and courage.'