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Bad company

Edward Timperlake, a former congressional investigator who worked on the 1990s fundraising probe, said the Senate should examine Mr. Locke’s ties to fundraisers like John Huang, Ted Sioeng and others who were identified during the 1990s investigation. That probe looked into whether Chinese government cash was illegally routed into Democratic coffers during President Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign.

VIEW: Campaign contribution check from 1996.

REPORT: Details of the POTUS Asian dinner event and political contributions

“The players connected to any examination of Locke and his confirmation are Triad gangsters and Chinese military agents,” Mr. Timperlake said in an interview.

The Pentagon’s last annual report on China’s military warned that China “continues a systematic effort to obtain dual-use and military technologies from abroad through legal and illegal commercial transactions.”

It stated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement rated China’s aggressive and wide-ranging espionage as “the leading threat to U.S. technology.”

Mr. Huang was a Chinese-born employee of Indonesia’s Lippo Bank, who went to work for the Commerce Department and also became a major Democratic Party fundraiser, collecting $3.4 million nearly half of which had to be returned to donors because of suspicions that the money came from the Chinese government.

He sponsored several fundraisers for Mr. Locke in 1996, raising more than $30,000.

Mr. Huang pleaded guilty in 1999 in a deal with U.S. prosecutors to illegally giving $2,500 to Los Angeles mayoral candidate Michael Woo in 1993 and $5,000 to a California political group that raised money for Democratic candidates. Mr. Locke’s donations were not mentioned in the court case.

Mr. Sioeng, an Indonesian businessman who has ties to the Chinese government, also supplied funds to Mr. Locke through intermediaries, according to a congressional report on the campaign finance investigation. Mr. Sioeng fled the U.S. in the 1990s after the FBI began investigating.

He was never formally charged in the case, but congressional testimony from senior U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials, including Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, identified him as a Chinese agent. They told a Senate committee that there was credible intelligence that Mr. Sioeng acted on behalf of China to influence U.S. elections with campaign contributions.

A spokesman for Mr. Sioeng denied the allegations at the time.

Records show Mr. Sioeng’s bank account got wire transfers of more than $2 million from two Hong Kong holding companies at the same time that he was contributing to Mr. Clinton’s re-election campaign.

Under investigation

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