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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

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gary fouse

The Clinton Donors

As of this writing, Norman Hsu, the latest in a long line of suspicious Clinton benefactors, awaits extradition to California, where he is wanted on bail jumping charges based on a 15 year old arrest warrant for charges of criminal financial dealings. Seems Mr Hsu has been a fugitive from justice for that long, apparently hiding in plain sight as a Democratic cash donor, most notably to Hillary Clinton. The Senator meanwhile, has announced that she is returning $850,000 to Hsu "in light of his legal problems". Since Hsu allegedly donated funds to Hillary and other Democrats using "straw donors", the money will officially have to be returned to numerous persons.


How could a major presidential candidate be receiving such large sums of money from a man who was a long-standing fugitive from justice? Well, being a fugitive never got in the way of people wishing to lay money on the Clintons. Just ask Marc Rich, the fugitive financier, whose ex-wife, the glamorous Denise Rich, dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Clinton Library into Bill's lap (along with who knows what else). As a reward, Clinton pardoned Rich in his last days in office even though he was a fugitive from the FBI and prosecutors never gave their assent to the pardon. In the old days, we used to call that bribery.


But I digress. The Hsu story brings back memories of other shady characters, mostly with connections in Asia, that generously handed big bucks off to Bill when he was president and running for re-election in 1996.


Remember Charlie Trie? He went from running a Chinese restaurant in Little Rock to being a big cash donor to Clinton, first for his re-election, then for his legal defense fund. According to a Washington Post editorial dated August 3, 1997, Trie once delivered $460,000 to fund officials broken into $1,000 separate contributions, some of which appeared on consecutively numbered money orders-under different names but in the same handwriting. That same article reported that, according to FBI testimony, from 1994-96, Trie received wire transfers in the sum of more than $900,000 from a certain Macau businessman by the name of Ng Lap Seng. Further, that these transfers appeared to correlate with similar transfers by Mr Trie to the DNC. Later, according to the article, the Clinton Adminstration acknowledged that Mr Ng had visited the White House 12 times during the relevant period.


Mr Trie also allegedly acted as a go-between for the Clintons and an agricultural outfit in Thailand. According to the Post article, two representatives of that company were scheduled to attend a White House coffee with the president two weeks subsequent, an event arranged by major Clinton contributor, Pauline Kanchanalak and DNC fund raiser, John Huang. The article further reported that some, if not all of Kanchanalak's contributions to the DNC had to be returned due to questions about their source.


John Huang, originally from China and Taiwan, was at one time chairman of the Lippo Bank of Indonesia. After coming to the US, and working for the Worthen Bank in Little Rock, he made the acquaintance of Bill Clinton. With Clinton in the White House, Huang acted as a conduit between the president and the Lippo Group along with Indonesian financier, Moctar Riady and his son, James Riady. According to an article by Charles Smith in Worldnet Daily dated April 26, 2000, subsequent testimony before Senator Fred Thompson's committee in 1998 revealed that Riady and the Lippo Group were joint ventures with China Resources, a trading and holding company owned by the Chinese government and used as an espionage front.


According to Smith's article, Huang met Clinton on ten occasions at the White House between the dates of June 21 and June 27, 1994. Shortly after this, the Lippo group allegedly sent $100,000 to Clinton crony (and top Justice Department offical), Webster Hubbell, who himself was about to be indicted for financial crimes. Riady continued to funnel money to Clinton, once sending his gardener, Arief Wiriadinata, direct to Clinton in the White House with a gift of $400,000, according to Smith's article).


Most troubling of all, Huang then received an appointment as Asst Secretary of Commerce along with a security clearance. In that position, Huang was able to obtain secret information on trade transactions with Indonesia, Japan, China, and South Korea. As a result of the Clinton-Huang-Riady traingle, the Chinese government had a hook into the White House. Remember the scandals during the Clinton Adminstration involving missile technology going to China while laundered Chinese money was coming into the Clinton campaign coffers?


Want another example of what Riady et al got in return for their financial support to Clinton? How about the US-backed Paitan coal-fired electrical power plant in East Java, Indonesia? The Paitan Plant, which is owned by the corrupt Suharto family (as in corrupt President Suharto), also connected to Riady, obtained a financial windfall in 1996 when Clinton issued an order that declared a 1.7 million acre region of Utah off-limits to coal mining, thus removing one of the only major low sulphur deposits in the world from competing with Paitan.


Then there was Johnny Chung, Clinton buddy and Democratic fund-raiser, who made almost 50 visits to the Clinton White House, and on one occasion, gave Hillary's Chief of Staff, Maggie Williams a check for the DNC in the amount of $50,000. The check was actually given in the White House (in violation of the law). Two days later, Chung dragged in a group of Chinese businessmen, who were present when President Clinton gave a radio address from the Oval Office. (See article by Pierre Thomas, CNN in All Politics dated March 5, 1998. According to Thomas, the DNC eventually returned $300,000 raised by Chung due to questions about their source.)


In March of 1998, Chung pled guilty to election law violations in connection with illegal fund-raising in the 1996 elections. In December 1998, he was sentenced to probation and community service in return for his plea. He also testified before Congress in May 1999 that the head of Chinese military intelligence, Gen. Ji Shengde had told him that he wanted to send a gift of $300,000 to Clinton through Chung, a charge denied by the Chinese Government.

Personal note: At the time of Chung's plea deal, it struck me (as a DEA Agent who had been involved in countless plea deals in coordination with prosecutors) as odd why the Justice Department (under Janet Reno) did not include in the deal information and testimony from Chung that would have been damning against the very person (s) getting the money, namely the president and the DNC. Normal plea procedure for such a light sentence would normally include full cooperation by the defendant against his/her higher-ups in the conspiracy. Whatever statements Chung made failed to implicate those who got the money-possibly bribes.


So the recent news about Mr Hsu is not surprising. It is just the latest in a string of scandals that go back to the Clinton Adminstration. In spite of all the above dirt, the Reno Justice Department investigation never took it to the top nor tried to. It seems that the investigations focused on the middlemen who were funneling money to the president and not on the person (s) who were receiving the money in violation of the law. Nor did the investigations focus on what the donors were getting back in return. Was there a loud protest from the mainstream news media, coupled with demands to get to the bottom of it all? Hardly. Now that Mr Hsu has surfaced, let's see how much the mainstream news media digs into this story. Will this story have the legs that the Abramoff scandal had? (Most of Abramoffs payees were Republicans). Or will the Hsu affair just quietly disappear? Since the media has a vested interest in Hillary's election, no matter how corrupt she may be, I'm betting on the latter.

gary fouse
fousesquawk

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