10/08/97 - 05:54 PM ET - Click reload often for latest version

Fund-raisers to reveal questionable practices

WASHINGTON - Two Democratic fund-raisers have agreed to testify in exchange for immunity that Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and the Democratic Party engaged in an array of questionable activities, a House committee disclosed Wednesday.

Gene and Nora Lum will testify about a $50,000 donation to the Clinton campaign in 1992, financial help offered by the Riady family of Indonesia and the Lums' work with the Democratic National Committee. A seven-page outline of their proposed testimony was released at the start of House hearings into fund-raising abuses.

The Lums' statement and the work of the committee staff ''indicates that the solicitation and utilization of foreign money and conduit payments did not begin after the Republicans won control of the Congress in 1994,'' said Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind.

''Rather, it appears that the seeds of today's scandals may have been planted as early as 1991,'' said Burton, chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

Sentenced Sept. 9 to 10 months in prison, the Lums pleaded guilty to funneling illegal donations into the campaigns of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and unsuccessful congressional candidate W. Stuart Price of Oklahoma.

In the newly released document, the Lums outlined what they would tell the committee if granted immunity from further prosecution.

They alleged that in the 1992 presidential campaign, an individual arranged with the Lums a $50,000 donation to the Clinton-Gore campaign in exchange for a letter bearing Clinton's name. The letter endorsed the candidacy of a man who is now a leader of an Asian nation, the outline said.

The Lums arranged a meeting between the individual and an official of the Clinton-Gore campaign, who provided the favorable letter. A Clinton-Gore official signed then-Gov. Clinton's name to the letter. The individual who arranged the donation told the Lums the $50,000 came from a foreigner living in the United States.

Separately, the Riady family of Indonesia - longtime supporters of Clinton from his days as Arkansas governor - offered the Lums ''substantial sums of money for proposed political and business ventures,'' the outline said.

The Riadys also offered the Lums office space which they would have shared with former associate attorney general and longtime Clinton confidant Webster Hubbell, whose benefactors included the Riady family following his 1994 resignation from the Justice Department. He pleaded guilty to two felonies in the Whitewater investigation and prosecutors are now probing hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to Hubbell by the president's friends.

In addition, the document stated that the Lums - ''with the knowledge of DNC personnel'' - brought in money from unidentified sources when a fund-raising event for a former California congressman ''fell well short of its goal.''

Finally, the document says that the Riadys ''strongly encouraged'' the Lums ''to be sure that'' Riady operative John Huang was involved in any of the Lums' political ventures. Huang, a former DNC fund-raiser and Commerce Department employee, is one of the figures at the center of the campaign fund-raising investigation.

The Lums said they met Huang in 1991 or 1992 at an event in Chinatown in Los Angeles attended by then-Gov. Clinton and then-DNC chairman Ron Brown.

The House hearings were beginning after months of document gathering and numerous problems. The committee was forced to postpone hearings last month when the first three witnesses scheduled to testify demanded immunity from prosecution. They eventually got it.

The three witnesses include Manlin Foung, who is the sister of Democratic fund-raiser Charlie Trie.

The Lums' statement said they were told that ''Trie is very influential with the Chinese government and that his company, Daihatsu, will facilitate meetings with Chinese officials to assist Americans in gaining business contracts in that country.''

By The Associated Press



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