Republicans Escalate Fund-Raising Probe (5/11/97)
Report: FBI Wants Huang As Government Witness
Former Democratic fund-raiser is also suspected of espionage
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 12) -- Federal investigators have concluded that John Huang, who raised some $1.6 million illegally for the Democratic National Party, may be valuable as a government witness, according to The Washington Post.
The former DNC fund-raiser is at the epicenter of a growing federal investigation into Democratic fund-raising. The most serious allegations concern possible efforts by China to buy influence with U.S. politicians.
But the FBI is weighing whether it might be a better strategy to use Huang to help build a case against White House and DNC officials than it would be to go after Huang himself.
Huang was born in China, and his complex involvement with Asian business interests and Democratic politics have made him a focus of probes into possible espionage. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Huang's friend, the Los Angeles-based Asian businessman Ted Sioeng, is an FBI spy suspect.
Huang's family escaped to Taiwan from mainland China in 1945. He came to the United States in 1969 to study business, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1976.
He went on to work for a number of financial businesses in Washington, D.C., Little Rock, Ark., and Los Angeles. He was employed by the Lippo Group, an Indonesian conglomerate whose associates have donated heavily to the DNC.
By 1985, with a burgeoning circle of associates that included Bill Clinton, Huang began raising money for Democratic candidates. In 1992, Huang lobbied for and secured a position with the Clinton Administration at the Commerce Department.
In early 1996, Huang moved to the DNC as a fund-raiser. After reports surfaced in October 1995 that many of Huang's donations ran afoul of campaign finance laws, he was abruptly laid off by the DNC.
Since late 1996, Huang has asserted his Fifth Amendment right of silence and secluded himself.
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