Related Stories

Freeh Memo To Get An Airing On Capitol Hill (12/17/97)

Freeh: 'No Closed Aspects' To Campaign Task Force Probe (12/16/97)

Reno Not Ready To Hand Over Redacted Memo (12/11/97)

Bulletin Board
Join a thread, start a thread -- it's your chance to sound off!

Infoseek search


Burton Committee Pushes For Immunity


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 23) -- Rep. Dan Burton's committee investigating campaign finance is prepared to push for immunity from prosecution for some witnesses in an effort to secure testimony about illegal fund-raising practices.

"We're going to make a big din before it's over," said Burton, an Indiana Republican.

The House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, chaired by Burton, has released a new count of people it says are refusing to cooperate with its probe. Forty-six potential witnesses have claimed protection under the Fifth Amendment, 12 have left the country and 12 others are not U.S. citizens and have refused interviews, according to the committee.

Burton remains determined. "We will push for immunity for those who we think can help move us up the food chain," he told The Associated Press. "If we can get immunity for some people, we can trace sources to some of the foreign areas."

Congressional investigators will travel to California and abroad next month to look for evidence of illegal foreign contributions used to influence U.S. elections.

Granting immunity will not be easy for Burton. The Justice Department is concerned that immunity will damage its criminal investigation into campaign finance abuses, and House Democrats on his committee are unlikely to be cooperative when it comes to a vote on immunity.

Democrats have long claimed that the House investigation is too partisan. Burton will need a two-thirds committee majority to grant immunity. The committee, which is comprised of 24 Republicans, 19 Democrats and an independent who tends to vote with Democrats, will be unable to grant immunity without Democratic help.

Of particular interest to investigators is immunity for Nora and Gene Lum. The Lums, operators of a natural gas pipeline in Oklahoma, were found guilty of using fictional donors to conceal $50,000 in illegal campaign contributions. They were sentenced to 10 months in prison and $30,000 in fines in September.

Burton said that the Lums are prepared to testify, with immunity, that the Clinton campaign wrote a letter in 1992 endorsing a candidate in an unnamed Asian country in exchange for a $50,000 contribution to a Democrat-affiliated group the Lums had formed. The donation is believed to have possible been overseas money.

The Lums will also reveal financial assistance offered by the Riady family of Indonesia, Burton said.

Committee investigators, who asked not to be quoted by name, say they have been unable to take advantage of the Lums' offer without granting immunity.

Investigators say the committee is interested in the organization formed by the Lums in 1992, the Asian Pacific Advisory Council. Much of the money raised by the organization, predominantly through small donations, went to a company owned by the Lums, according to investigators.

Committee investigators claim the council's documents show an affiliation between the group and the Democratic National Committee. But no records of donations to the group were publicly reported, as is required by law of all political organizations and their affiliates.

According to the committee others refusing to cooperate are Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie, a former Democratic Party fund-raiser; Mark Middleton, a former White House aide; Maria Hsia, a Democratic fund-raiser who worked with John Huang; and Johnny Chung, also a Democratic fund-raiser.

In Other News:

Tuesday Dec. 23, 1997

Burton Committee Pushes For Immunity
A New Manager For Troubled D.C.
Washington's Well-Wishes
Clinton Offers Holiday Messages

Barnes & Noble book search

home | news | in-depth | analysis | what's new | community | contents | search

Click here for technical help or to send us feedback.

Copyright © 1997 AllPolitics All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this information is provided to you.