Huang charged with single finance felony count
By Pierre Thomas/CNN
May 25, 1999
Web posted at: 5:05 p.m. EDT (2105 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 25) -- John Huang, a central figure in the investigation of alleged Democratic campaign finance irregularities, has reached an agreement under which he is expected to plead guilty to a single count of violating campaign finance laws, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Huang, a former executive with the Indonesia-based Lippo Group and a former aide at the Clinton Commerce Department, was charged with a lone felony count Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The Justice Department said that Huang will make an initial appearance in federal court next week and is expected to plead guilty soon after.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. But Huang has been cooperating with the Justice Department's campaign finance investigation, and in light of that "substantial cooperation," prosecutors don't plan to seek a prison term, the Justice Department said.
Huang was the Democratic party's chief fund-raiser for the Asian-American population during the 1996 election cycle. He has been a key figure in investigations of foreign contributions.
Huang was charged with conspiring with other Lippo Group executives to reimburse employees who made contributions to political candidates between 1992 and 1994, including the campaign of Michael Woo, a 1993 candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, and the California Victory Fund '94, which benefited the campaign efforts of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the California Democratic Party.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) returned $1.6 million Huang helped raise either because it came from overseas nationals or because party officials could not determine where it came from.
Sources say Huang continues to maintain he is not a spy for China. They also say that thus far Huang has not implicated senior administration or DNC officials in his alleged activities.
Justice Department attorneys conducted interviews with Huang over 20 days and he took several polygraph tests before the deal was made, the sources said.
"The United States is not currently aware of evidence which would support any charges of the relevant espionage or national security statutes. However, the government remains free to bring such charges should the evidence so warrant," said a statement from the Justice Department announcing the charges against Huang.
Huang is the 17th person prosecuted by the Campaign Financing Task Force, established by Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate allegations of campaign finance abuses during the 1996 election cycle.