- The Washington Times - Monday, December 24, 2001

The chairman of a House committee yesterday applauded the Justice Department for obtaining a guilty plea from a Washington businessman in a five-year-long campaign finance probe.
Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican, said he was disappointed the businessman also was not held accountable for lying to Congress in sworn testimony in 1997 and 1998.
"I applaud the Justice Department for obtaining a guilty plea from Ernest G. Green on criminal tax charges," said Mr. Burton, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which investigated the campaign finance scandal.
"While I am pleased to see that Mr. Green was finally held to account for his actions, I am disappointed he was not prosecuted for his false statements to the Government Reform Committee or the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee," Mr. Burton said. "Perjury before Congress is a growing problem that will only be rectified if people like Ernest Green are prosecuted when they commit perjury."
Green, a former civil rights activist who helped integrate an Arkansas high school in 1957 as a member of the "Little Rock Nine," pleaded guilty on Friday to federal charges of misdemeanor tax evasion.
A managing director at Lehman Brothers in Washington, he was accused of failing to pay income taxes on $30,000 he received in 1995 from Charles Yah Lin Trie, a former Democratic fund-raiser and longtime friend of President Clinton.
Trie, a key figure in the Justice Department's campaign finance investigation, pleaded guilty in 1999 to making illegal donations to Mr. Clinton's 1996 presidential campaign and told the FBI Green was an illegal conduit for cash that went to a February 1996 fund-raiser attended by the president. He said he reimbursed Green for donations after asking him to "chip in" because the Democratic National Committee felt not enough cash had been raised at the fund-raiser.
Mr. Burton said the committee conducted an extensive investigation of Green that resulted in a March 1999 criminal referral to the Justice Department. He said evidence obtained by the committee showed that Green was illegally reimbursed by Trie for his political contributions and that Green lied to the committee about his receipt of funds from Trie.
"The Green case and the subsequent criminal referral are another vivid example of why congressional oversight of the executive branch is so important," he said.
Green also was the focus of a federal inquiry into whether he was an illegal conduit for a $50,000 donation to the DNC a day after helping a Chinese arms dealer, Wang Jun, get into the White House for a meeting with Mr. Clinton.
Green, 60, could face up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton set sentencing for April 2. He is the 27th person charged in the campaign finance task force probe, which began in 1996.
In return for his cooperation, the department agreed not to further prosecute him or his wife, Phyllis, for illegal campaign contributions in 1996 and not to pursue issues arising from his testimony or statements to Congress and a federal grand jury.
Trie pleaded guilty in May 1999 to election-law violations. He personally raised $350,000 for the DNC in 1996 and delivered $640,000 to the president's legal-defense funds. That money later was returned when fund executives could not establish its source.
According to the FBI, Trie said the DNC never instructed him on campaign finance rules, but "appreciated him and never caused him problems because he brought in money." He said he was never questioned about whom he brought to Clinton functions "or why some of them appeared to be foreigners."
According to Federal Election Commission records, Green donated $50,000 to the DNC in two checks of $20,000 and $30,000, both dated Feb. 7, 1996. A day earlier, the president met with Democratic contributors, including Mr. Wang, who was Trie's guest, in a DNC-arranged event at the White House.
Mr. Wang was chairman of a Chinese arms company known as Poly Technologies Inc.

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