- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2000

The Democratic National Committee's (DNC) recent $26 million fund-raiser started on a sour note. To the dismay of the Gucci jean-clad, nouveau-riche attendees, a chant of "Stop the corruption" rose from somewhere in the audience. Never one to miss an opportunity to discuss the real issue, President Clinton shot right back. Barely missing a beat he retorted, "I don't believe it's corruption to pass the Brady bill instead of beat it, or pass the Family and Medical Leave bill so 21 million ordinary working people can take some time off when their babies are born or their parents are sick."

It was classic Clinton. It was facile, quotable and disingenuous.

It also obscured the point.

The real corruption has nothing to do with people who contribute because Mr. Clinton supports the Brady bill, or family leave, or any other domestic concern, for that matter. It doesn't even have anything to do with turning the Lincoln Bedroom into a Motel 6 for the wealthy and privileged. It has everything to do however, with the influence of foreign money on the highest levels of government.

Drug money.

Chinese communist money.

To illustrate:

Item: Jorge Cabrerra, a convicted drug-dealer gave the Clinton-Gore campaign a $20,000 contribution. A particularly noteworthy fact since prior to making the donation he had never maintained a checking account because, as he told investigators for a federal drug task-force, "Then you need accountants, and they can rat on you." He apparently did not have the same concern about his friends in the Clinton-Gore campaign.

Item: Harry A. Falk, inmate #37628-004, currently serving a 27-year sentence for laundering drug money, told government investigators how he participated in siphoning money to DNC candidates through "straw donors." His partner, and fellow conspirator in the scheme, Duvan Arboleda, fled the country to his native Colombia to avoid prosecution. He was murdered on the streets of Cali.

Item: When, in the course of a bank fraud investigation, New York prosecutors uncovered compelling evidence that Venezuelan banker Jorge Castro Barredo made illegal contributions to the Clinton-Gore campaign, at the behest of DNC fund-raiser Charles Intriago, they notified the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami. Federal prosecutors there were set to move aggressively on what they felt was a prima facie case. But, suddenly, the Miami prosecutors got a call from Lee Radek, head of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section in Washington saying they were taking over. The result? The case languished until the statute of limitations expired, and no charges were ever brought.

Item: Johnny Chung testified that he received $300,000 from General Ji Shengde, head of Military Intelligence for China's People's Liberation Army. Gen. Ji told Chung, "We like your president."

Item: Ted Sioeng, a businessman with close ties to the communist Chinese government, as well as suspected ties to organized crime in Macao, funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clinton-Gore campaign through various straw donors. When congressional investigators attempted to grant immunity to his associate Ken La, the Justice Department blocked the move.

And what did the foreign donors get in return? Certainly more than "photo-ops" with the president, or invitations to weekly radio broadcasts.

Consider for example trade policy. Clinton administration waivers on the transfer of sensitive military and so-called "dual use" technologies allowed China to make advances in ballistic missile capabilities experts say would have taken decades to achieve otherwise.

Human rights violations in China have been ignored. Unprecedented breaches of security have taken place at our most sensitive facilities despite warnings from security officials of the dangers. And what happened to those officials? They became the targets of retribution rather than being acknowledged for their prescience.

And what of the "War on Drugs?" From his first days in office, Mr. Clinton moved to slash interdiction programs. Time and time again, his appointees have frustrated attempts to aid Colombia's embattled anti-narcotics police. Representatives of the Clinton State Department even met with representatives of that nation's rebel guerrillas guerrillas who are now on the verge of taking control of Colombia and creating a de facto narco-state.

This is not to say that the actions are a direct consequence of illicit contributions. But they certainly show why foreign donors like Gen. Ji would say they "like your president."

In the end, this is not about paperwork foul-ups, or "controlling legal authority." It is not about domestic issues like gun control or family leave. It is about the security of our nation. It is about drug money, and foreign intelligence service money, and how they influence policy decisions. And we'd all do well to recognize that fact.

Milton R. Copulos is vice president of Hambrick mediaworks and a former congressional investigator.

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