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Labor secretary denies allegations

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Labor Secretary Alexis Herman denies allegations being investigated by the Justice Department that she unlawfully used her government position to benefit herself and a company operated by a former business associate.

Herman, who was defended by President Clinton on Thursday, said she would "not be distracted" by the Justice Department's inquiry into allegations by a business consultant that she took money for using her influence while running the White House Office of Public Liaison in Clinton's first term.The Justice Department also is examining the business activities of Herman's former associate, Vanessa J. Weaver, and Weaver's former partner, Laurent J. Yene.

The 90-day preliminary inquiry is being conducted to determine whether Attorney General Janet Reno should seek an independent counsel to open a full-scale criminal investigation.

Yene has told ABC News that he once delivered cash to Herman, who was to get 10 percent of the fees that he and Weaver collected from business clients.

Yene alleges that Herman agreed to help a company promoting a global telecommunications satellite network win a government license to start the project.

After a seven-year effort, Mobile Communications Holdings Inc. obtained its license last summer despite a finding it lacked the financial wherewithal to complete the $1.1 billion project.