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Chung Says U.S. Democrats Sought Illegal Funds
Reuters
WASHINGTON — Democratic contributor Johnny Chung told Justice Department investigators that top Democratic National Committee officials knowingly solicited and accepted improper donations from him, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Quoting sources familiar with his account, the newspaper said that Chung, as part of a plea bargain deal, said that then-Democratic National Committee finance director Richard Sullivan personally asked him for a $125,000 donation in April, 1995.

Sullivan took the money despite having previously voiced suspicions that Chung was acting as a conduit for illegal contributions from Chinese business executives, the sources added.

Sullivan's lawyer told the Post his client denies Chung's account of their dealings.

Chung's accusations came as the Justice Department's 19-month investigation of 1996 campaign fund-raising entered what law enforcement officials characterized as a new phase, according to the newspaper.

Having brought charges this spring against four contributors who allegedly funneled illegal foreign funds to Democrats, the task force handling the campaign probe is determining whether there is sufficient evidence to charge any of the Democratic National Committee officials or Clinton-Gore campaign operatives who accepted the money, the Post said.

The report said Chung's accusations had not convinced investigators to designate Sullivan or any other DNC official as a target of the probe.

Chung, a Los Angeles businessman, became the task force's first major cooperating witness in March as part of an agreement in which he pleaded guilty to orchestrating an illegal "straw donor" scheme to give money to the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign.

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