- The Washington Times - Monday, September 30, 2002

For all the incessant protestations of innocence, it turns out that then-Vice President Al Gore and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) really did conduct a shakedown operation involving impoverished Buddhist monks and nuns at the Hsi Lai Temple in California in April 1996. In return for Mr. Gore's attendance at a temple luncheon, documents recently released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reveal, a Democratic vice chairman of finance presumably the infamous John Huang instructed Buddhist organizers to cough up $100,000.
Altogether, the FEC levied $719,000 in fines for the seemingly countless fund-raising illegalities that pervaded the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign and the DNC. Indicative of how cavalierly the ostensibly reform-obsessed Democrats treated the FEC investigation, last year they overwhelmingly elected as their current chairman Terry McAuliffe, the fund-raiser-in-chief for the Clinton re-election campaign.
In addition to the $120,000 fine paid by the Buddhist Progress Society, the DNC was fined $115,000 and required to pay to the U.S. Treasury $128,000 to cover illegal donations it had never bothered to return to the donors. Because so many individuals had fled the country and so many sham corporations had become defunct, the FEC reported that it had to drop investigations relating to $3 million in illegal contributions.
The FEC also provided new details regarding the $250,000 contribution by the Cheong Am America firm in April 1996. The DNC was forced to return the contribution after being questioned about it by the Los Angeles Times, which then began pursuing other questionable donations before breaking the fund-raising scandal in October 1996. To obtain a meeting with the president himself, five executives of Cheong Am, a U.S. subsidiary of a Korean firm, gave Huang "an envelope with a corporate check for $250,000 made out to the DNC," the FEC reported. That comes out to $50,000 per executive for face time with the commander in chief.
Johnny Chung who once said, "The White House is like a subway; you have to put in coins to open the gates" made his obligatory appearance in the FEC documents. Given the current military crisis in South Asia, where a nuclear-armed Pakistan faces off against a nuclear-armed India, it's worth recalling that Chinese military intelligence funneled $300,000 in the summer of 1996 to Chung through a Chinese lieutenant colonel. That officer also served as an aerospace executive for a Chinese firm sanctioned by the United States in 1991 and 1993 for providing missile technology to Pakistan.
Beyond the Democrats' self-evident squalor, the FEC's report demonstrates that the outward enthusiasm displayed by Messrs. McAuliffe and Gore for a new round of campaign-finance "reforms" was belied by their willful violation and circumvention of finance statutes that existed in 1996.


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