EDITORIAL : THE FOREIGN-MONEY TRAIL A NO-NONSENSE JUDGE GETS TOUGH WITH A FUND-RAISER.
Lamberth is a man to be reckoned with. He refused to tolerate the disappearing act by John Huang, a 51-year-old Glendale man who has become the center of attention in an unfolding campaign financing scandal involving questionable contributions and possible foreign influence peddling.
Huang joined the Clinton administration in 1994 as a deputy assistant secretary of commerce, a position he held for more than a year before becoming a fund-raiser for the Democratic National Party, where he was highly successful. Before the DNC stripped him of his fund-raising duties Oct. 18 following news reports of questionable campaign contributions, Huang raised an estimated $4 million to $5 million for the Democrats from Asian-Americans this year.
But there is more to the story. Huang solicited $250,000 from a South Korean company that did not do business in the United States, in violation of U.S. law that bars foreign companies and citizens from giving money to U.S. parties or candidates. The DNC returned the money.
Huang also has failed to appear in federal court in Washington, D.C., in a civil case brought against the Commerce Department by Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group. The group claims that the former secretary of commerce, the late Ron Brown, used government-sponsored trade missions to raise money for the Democrats.
In addition to his fund-raising, Huang helped forge ties of mutual benefit between Clinton and Huang's former employer, the Riady family of Indonesia. The Riadys, owners of the Indonesia-based Lippo Group and one-time owners of a bank in Little Rock, Ark., provided money to Clinton and the Democratic Party. That in turn is raising serious questions about whether those contributions bought unwarranted access to the White House and swayed American economic policies and projects internationally.
Huang's lawyer told Lamberth on Friday that Huang would not be available to testify in a civil suit until Nov. 6, the day after the election, and then brazenly said there was nothing the judge could do about it.
But Lamberth showed he would not tolerate such political shenanigans. He ordered the DNC to require Huang to report for work today so that U.S. marshals can serve him with a subpoena.
We commend Judge Lamberth for refusing to play political hide-and-seek with an important witness who obviously didn't want to appear before the election.
Lamberth reminds one of Judge John J. Sirica, who doggedly pursued the truth, regardless of its political implications and forced a slippery case into the light of day. The case was Watergate.
The stage is once again being set for a possible showdown between the executive and judicial branches of government. If such a showdown occurs, this country will require the services of a nonpartisan administrator of justice in the fine tradition of Judge Sirica. Lamberth appears to have those qualities.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Oct 28, 1996|
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