Gavel To Gavel

All the Hearings news & analysis

Gavel To Gavel: Fund-Raising Hearings Here are some highlights from Thursday's session of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee's campaign finance hearings:

Questioning Of Paula Greene

Paula Green, former secretary, Stephens Inc.: "As best as I remember, I was told that if any faxes or anything came in for Mr. Huang I was to contact him and to speak directly to him in regards to letting him know he had something to pick up at the office. If he was not there, I was to leave a message for him to call me.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine): "Did Mr. [Vernon] Weaver specifically instruct you not to leave a detailed message with Mr. Huang's secretary?

Greene: "To my knowledge, yes."

Collins: "Mr. [Vernon] Weaver didn't call directly very often; he would ask you to call for him. Is that correct?"

Greene: Yes.

Collins: "Did he say why he wanted you to call for him?"

Greene: "Yes, he did."

Collins: "Could you tell us why that was?"

Greene: "He did not want his name to appear on the logs very frequently."

Jeffrey Robbins, deputy minority counsel: "I take it Mr. Weaver was a registered lobbyist at this time. Was that correct?"

Greene: "Yes, he was."

Robbins: "I take it you told the staff that from what you could observe all that Mr. Weaver wanted to avoid was any improper and incorrect appearance that he was lobbying Mr. Huang. Is that true?"

Greene: "Yes."

Robbins: "And in fact you told us you didn't have the impression at all that Mr. Weaver wanted to keep Huang's receipt of these sporadic faxes a secret in any way. Is that true?"

Greene: "That's correct."

Robbins: "And indeed that you never had the impression there was never anything unusual or secretive about this? Correct."

Greene: "Correct."

Thompson On Huang

"He made 71 visits to the White House while at Commerce. He used the office of a private company for phone calls and faxes while he worked at Commerce, frequently corresponding to times when he had just received briefings on classified material. He had more than 400 contacts with Lippo and Lippo-related individuals while at Commerce. During the same period, Huang made at least 170 calls to China, Indonesia, Taiwan and Hong Kong."

--Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.)

'The fact that he would go across the street'

"The fact that he [John Huang] would go across the street to the Stephens office to use the phone may make -- and the fax -- may make Mr. Huang one of the few people working in an office in America who does not use the office phone or fax for personal purposes. So he may emerge from these hearings as one of the more ethical people in this country ... "

--Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.)

'I Just Want To Clarify That Point'

"I believe we'll see from the next witness and the documents that the committee staff has put together that, in fact, Mr. Huang did use his Commerce Department telephone for personal calls, so I just want to clarify that point."

-- Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)

'Really Astonishing'

"I find it really astonishing that a deputy assistant secretary [John Huang] can have virtually free access in and out of the White House any time he wants."

-- Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah)

Is It Honest ... ?

To allow things to continue to be presented in evidence in this hearing which undermine the credibility of what is a serious charge does us no good. Is it honest to put on this chart, Joe Giroir [a former Rose Law Firm managing partner], 72 calls, 10 meetings, Lippo business agent and partner, when in fact in the deposition this man indicated that his contacts with Mr. Huang were all social and arranging lunch?"

-- Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.)

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