Gavel To Gavel

Gavel To Gavel: Fund-Raising Hearings

Timeline July '97

1996: Oct | Nov | Dec
1997: Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | June | July | Aug | Sept | Oct


July 1, 1997 -- In a letter to President Clinton, Rep. Gerald Solomon suggests John Huang's attendance at top security briefings may have put CIA informants' lives at risk. Solomon (R-N.Y.) asks Clinton to provide names of administration officials with knowledge of Huang's briefings.

July 1, 1997 -- Former RNC chairman Haley Barbour's non-profit group, the National Policy Forum, refuses to provide information to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

July 2, 1997 -- In a setback to Chairman Burton, the chief counsel for the House investigation, John Rowley, quits, saying he does not have the authority to conduct a "professional, credible investigation." Rowley blames "the unrelenting 'self-promoting' actions of the committee's investigative coordinator," Dave Bossie. Leaving with Rowley are two top investigators.

July 4, 1997 -- The White House confirms that President Clinton phoned a Maryland businessman, possibly from the Oval Office, in late 1995 after being given a memo telling him the call was necessary to "clinch" a $100,000 contribution to the Democratic National Committee.

July 8, 1997 -- Senate fund-raising hearings begin. Chairman Fred Thompson says his committee has evidence of a Chinese government-sanctioned plan to influence American elections in ways that violate U.S. laws. Sen. John Glenn discloses that John Huang has offered to testify if given limited immunity.


July 9, 1997 -- Former DNC finance chief Richard Sullivan testifies he that he encountered no "willful misconduct" during his tenure, and told senators that John Huang had been hired after former White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes phoned Marvin Rosen, the DNC's finance chairman. Separately, Attorney General Janet Reno comes out against granting Huang immunity.

July 13, 1997 -- The Justice Department distances itself from Sen. Thompson's assertions that China had a plan to influence U.S. elections. Democrats on Thompson's committee suggest the chairman's comments went too far. Thompson again voices doubt about granting immunity to John Huang.

July 15, 1997 -- GOP senators present evidence John Huang steered an illegal $50,000 contribution to the Democrats in 1992. Separately, Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman backs Sen. Thompson's statement that China tried to influence U.S. elections.


July 16, 1997 -- Former Undersecretary for International Trade Jeff Garten describes Huang as "totally unqualified in my judgment for the kind of Commerce Department we were establishing." An administration personnel official said Huang was hired in part because he was a "high-priority candidate" whose appointment would be considered an "important symbol to the Asian community."

July 18, 1997 -- Rep. Dan Burton, the chairman of the House fund-raising probe, is subpoenaed by the Justice Department to testify on allegations he pressured a lobbyist for campaign contributions.

July 22, 1997 -- Reports surface that Jane Huang, wife of former Democratic fund-raiser John Huang, has taken the Fifth Amendment.

July 23, 1997 -- In a rare display of bipartisanship, members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee vote to grant immunity to four nuns at the Hsi Lai Buddhist temple, in connection with an April 1996 fund-raiser. During public hearings, attorney Benton Becker testifies that a $2.1 million from Hong Kong businessman Ambrous Young was intended to guarantee a loan to the National Policy Forum, so that the group could repay a loan to the Republican National Committee.


July 24, 1997 -- In spirited testimony, former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour defends the National Policy Forum's October 1994 repayment of loan to the RNC, which had been guaranteed by $2.1 million in Hong Kong funds, as "legal and proper." Barbour says "not a red cent" of the money was used in 1994 congressional campaigns, and that he didn't know until early 1996 that the loan was guaranteed with overseas funds.

July 25, 1997 -- Seemingly at odds with former RNC chairman Haley Barbour, lobbyist Richard Richards tells senators that Barbour told him a loan was needed to help "assist in the election of 60 potential new congressmen." Richards said he informed Barbour in August 1994 that funds for the loan guarantee originated in Hong Kong.

July 27, 1997 -- California businessman Johnny Chung tells the Los Angeles Times that he was solicited by White House officials for a contribution. Separately, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott renews his call for an independent counsel.

July 29, 1997 -- An FBI agent testifies that he believes Charlie Trie, a Little Rock businessman and friend of Bill Clinton, laundered about $220,000 in donations to the Democratic National Committee, using money from overseas sources.

July 30, 1997 -- Fred Thompson lashes out at the White House after documents show Chinese businessman Ng Lap Seng, also known as "Mr. Wu," visited the White House 10 times between June 1994 and October 1996. Meanwhile, the director of the Clinton's legal defense fund testifies before Thompson's committee.

July 31, 1997 -- The Senate fund-raising committee votes unanimously to subpoena the White House for documents.

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