Helms To Hold Hearings On Links Between China, Democrat Cash
'I think we're going to find something,' senator says
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 6) -- The Senate Foreign
Relations Committee will convene public hearings to probe
whether transfers of missile technology to China -- approved
by the Clinton administration -- might be linked to
Democratic campaign contributions, said Sen. Jesse Helms,
"[I] don't know whether it's my head or my heart talking, but
I think we're going to find something," the committee
chairman said in an interview broadcast Saturday on CNN's
"Evans and Novak." "Some atrocious things are going on in the
name of politics, and for whatever other reason."
He said the focus of the inquiry would be "who said what to
whom, when and for what." And Helms said that while some
information might have to be discussed behind closed doors,
he wants to conduct the hearings publicly as much as
"I want to keep everything public so the American people can
know what's going on," he said. Up to six hearings will be
Inquiries focus on Schwartz, Chung
Several congressional committees and the Justice Department
are investigating whether Clinton waived restrictions on
satellite technology exports to China as a favor to Bernard
Schwartz, a major Democratic donor who is chief executive
officer of the company that benefited from the transfer,
Loral Space and Communications Co.
Both Clinton and Schwartz have denied any link between the
waiver and the campaign contributions.
In addition, a friend of the president's from Little Rock,
Johnny Chung, told Justice Department investigators that some
of the money he raised for the Democratic National Committee
(DNC) during the 1996 presidential campaign came from a
lieutenant colonel in the Chinese army, Liu Chao-ying, who
was also an executive with China Aerospace
That state-run company reportedly benefited from a change in
administration policy that shifted the process of approving
launches of American satellites atop Chinese rockets from the
State Department -- which wanted to limit them -- to the
Commerce Department -- which favored permitting them. At the
time, the Commerce Department was headed by Ron Brown, former
chairman of the DNC.
Liu has denied giving money to the DNC through Chung.
Helms opposes softening sanctions on India, Pakistan
On "Evans and Novak," Helms also said he thinks the
administration's coziness with China "absolutely" played a
part in the decision by neighboring India and Pakistan to
push ahead with their nuclear programs.
And he said he would not support any effort by the Clinton
administration to soften congressional sanctions on India and
Pakistan in order to foster negotiations.
"That leaves China over there free as a bird, and I think
that you've got to deal with the whole problem. And China's
at least one-third of it," Helms said.
Helms also said he thinks the ongoing investigation by
independent counsel Ken Starr is having a detrimental effect
on Clinton's management of international policy.
"I don't know whether he's ever managed it or not, but
there's been a decline, because when we are eternally
reacting to events instead of being on top of them, something
is badly wrong," Helms said.
He also said he and other Senate committee chairmen are
having trouble getting information they need from the White
"I have an idea they've got a ghost writer down there who
answers mail from the chairmen of committees," he said.