- WASHINGTON (CNN) - A controversial former Democratic Party fund-raiser has
told federal investigators that China's chief of military intelligence
funneled $300,000 through him to back President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election
campaign, CNN has confirmed.
- Johnny Chung has told investigators that
Gen. Ji Shengde ordered the money transferred to Chung's bank account with
the specific objective of helping Clinton's campaign, according to sources
familiar with his testimony.
- The sources say only a portion of the
money ever made it into Democratic Party coffers.
- Federal law prohibits financial contributions
to political campaigns from sources outside of the United States.
- Word of direct involvement of a high-ranking
Chinese official in Chung's fund-raising activities, first reported Sunday
by The Los Angeles Times, comes on the eve of a visit to Washington this
week by Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji.
- A spokesman for the Chinese embassy denied
the allegation, insisting his government was not involved in the American
- White House spokesman Jim Kennedy said
that the administration has no knowledge about the source of Chung's donations
to the Democratic Party. He declined to comment further, citing "allegations
regarding intelligence matters."
- "The White House is appropriately
briefed on national security matters," he added.
- Citing an "ongoing investigation,"
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also refused to comment on the allegations
during an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press."
- Chung, a Taiwan-born American citizen,
contributed some $400,000 to various Democratic campaigns and visited the
Clinton White House about 50 times. Sources tell CNN that he was introduced
to Ji by the daughter of another high-ranking Chinese military officer,
- Last year, Chung pleaded guilty to election
law violations and began cooperating with the Justice Department's investigation
into alleged 1996 campaign fund-raising irregularities. In December, he
was sentenced to probation and community service.