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The Democratic Fund-Raising Flap

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Another Accusation Leveled At Huang

Senate panel wants Clinton legal defense fund records

campaign finance

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 20) -- A leader of an Asian-American business group in suburban Washington, D.C., says fund-raiser John Huang asked him to funnel more than $250,000 to the Democratic National Committee by pretending the money was contributions from the group's members, according to a report in today's Washington Post.


The leader, Rawlein Soberano, claims Huang offered to pay the Asian American Business Roundtable $45,000 as a fee for the deal, but Soberano refused. The business association has 700 small business members.

"I said no. I knew when you do this kind of thing, it's no different from laundering money from the drug lords," Soberano told the Post.

An attorney for Huang said it never happened.

"Mr. Huang would never have said anything other than that we need your help," the attorney said. "The rest did not happen."

Soberano said Huang made the proposal over lunch last summer, in late July or early August, but never identified the true source of the money. Under campaign law, it's illegal to contribute money in someone else's name or obscure the true source of donations.

So far, the Democratic National Committee has returned $1.2 million raised by Huang because of questions about the true source of the money.


In another development in the Democratic fund-raising controversy, the Senate panel that is probing campaign finance violations has asked President Bill Clinton's legal defense fund to turn over all its records on how it was formed, who runs it, its tax status and its procedures for accepting money.

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee issued a subpoena Wednesday for complete records of the fund, known as the Presidential Legal Expense Trust. The fund was created to help defer the legal expenses of Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In particular, Senate investigators are interested in $460,000 that businessman Charles Yah Lin Trie delivered to the fund last March. The money was returned after an internal investigation raised questions about the money's source.


Meanwhile, it was learned that Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who chairs the committee, has accepted campaign contributions from one of the same people who attended those infamous White House coffee klatches.

The Los Angeles Times reported today that Kansas City businessman Farhad Azima, who has attended three White House coffees in the last two years, also hosted a fund-raiser for Thompson last year at Azima's home in Missouri.

Azima, his wife and sister-in-law gave a total of $3,000 to the senator, and the dinner netted $9,500. Azima also leased his jet to Thompson's campaign twice.

Thompson and Azima's friendship dates back to 1983, when Azima purchased a controlling interest in Capitol Airways of Smyrna, Tenn. Thompson served on the board at the time and later became Azima's attorney.

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