- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A former official at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Washington to one count of mail fraud in the theft of more than $360,000 in campaign contributions.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein said Roger Chiang, 33, of Silver Spring, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who set sentencing for June 2. Chiang, the DSCC’s director of constituency outreach and a former Clinton administration official, faces up to 36 months in prison.

According to a criminal information filed in the case, Chiang used the Internet to open a checking account and a linked savings account at the First Internet Bank of Indiana, using his name and address and claiming to be “doing business as DS Camp.”

It was in that account, authorities said, that he deposited contribution checks to the DSCC, beginning in August and continuing through October.

Mr. Wainstein, whose office oversaw the investigation, said Chiang’s fraud was uncovered when a DSCC contributor called to inquire about his donation, which had not been acknowledged. He said the donor informed the DSCC that his contribution check had been deposited and provided the DSCC with a copy.

DSCC personnel later discovered that the check had been directed to the First Internet Bank of Indiana account, which the DSCC does not use. All but $11,600 of the contributions have been recovered.

Chiang’s attorney, William R. Martin, said his client was “fully cooperative in the investigation and the legal proceedings” and would continue to “do everything possible to cooperate and rectify this matter.”

“Roger is a young man who truly deserves a second chance.” Mr. Martin said.

Chiang was fired from his post after the DSCC checks were first reported missing.

The DSCC is a significant source of campaign funds for Senate Democrats, raising and contributing substantial sums of money to races in each state. It also helps Democratic candidates with polling information, research data and press advice.

DSCC officials reported raising more than $76 million for the two-year election cycle that just ended.

Chiang officially was listed as the director of the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) outreach office for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and was responsible for fund raising and increasing voter turnout among Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.

As the primary APIA spokesman for the Democratic Party, he also worked with Democratic congressional leadership and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to develop legislative agendas and strategies affecting the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.

Before joining the DNC in June 2001, Chiang worked as a research assistant at the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. In December 2000, he was appointed by President Clinton as an adviser at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the highest-ranking Asian-American at the department, where he served as an adviser to Secretary Andrew Cuomo.

Chiang also was HUD’s representative to the White House on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and worked for the Gore/Lieberman 2000 presidential campaign and the Clinton/Gore 1996 campaign.

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