07/10/97 - 12:59 AM ET - Click reload often for latest version

Testimony by former Democratic Party finance director

Excerpts from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee's hearing Wednesday on campaign finance abuse. Richard Sullivan, the Democratic Party's former finance director testified:

I was never - and I emphasize never - confronted at the time with any evidence or suggestion of willful misconduct, foreign government influence, sale of office, contributions in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act, or other legal problems of that kind. Nothing I witnessed reflected adversely in any fashion on the diligence, good faith, and hard work of anyone in a position of major responsibility assisting the president and the party with the 1996 presidential elections. - Richard Sullivan's opening statement.

Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.: Was there a time when Mr. (Harold) Ickes contacted someone at the Democratic National Committee on Mr. Huang's behalf?

Sullivan: I vaguely remember Marvin Rosen mentioning that Harold had contacted him, in regards to asking him if he would agree to sit down and interview Mr. Huang about possibly coming to the Democratic National Committee.

Thompson: Did it later come to your attention that the president had inquired with regard to Mr. Huang or suggested that perhaps he be employed by the Democratic National Committee?

Sullivan: I vaguely remember Marvin mentioning that - I don't remember it at that time. I believe I remember it sometime - and Marvin mentioning that sometime to me around the inaugural.

Thompson: What was your understanding, from what he was telling you had happened, the conversation?

Sullivan: He mentioned that at some point the - at some point in passing that the president had asked him about - had asked him if he had heard that John was interested in coming to the DNC.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. - If I understand you correctly, you were not concerned that Mr. Huang was going to be seeking out any illegal contributions. Is that correct?

Sullivan: That's correct.

Levin: And so that the training which you recommended, you said, was for other purposes. Can you just explain what those other purposes were?

Sullivan: The reason for recommending the special training was for other reasons.

Levin: And those reasons?

Sullivan: Those reasons were that Mr. Huang was in a - was going to be coming to the DNC in a unique position. He - Chairman Fowler and Marvin Rosen had given him the title of vice finance chairman, the number-two or number-three position at the DNC. He was 49 - he was 48 or 49 years old at the time.

I, at 32, I believe was the next-oldest staffer. He had - the typical staffers in fund raising that we hired had some kind of - had experience working on congressional or senatorial or gubernatorial - raising money for campaigns previously. John did not have experience fund raising in a fulltime capacity.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.: Could you tell us what made you nervous about Johnny Chung, or what you may remember now as to a reason that Johnny Chung made you nervous?

Sullivan: The particular incident that made me nervous about Johnny was when he came to me and requested that I get him into - try to help in getting him into a radio address that the president usually had on Saturdays, and which it was common practice for people to be invited to.

Cochran: And what particularly made you nervous about that? Was it that he wanted to make a contribution to the president or make a contribution to the DNC in connection with getting in to see that radio address?

Sullivan: He insinuated ... that he would make a contribution if he could get into the radio address; that's correct.

Cochran: And what worried you about that?

Sullivan: He was with - he mentioned that he was escorting five - five people with him from China.

Cochran: Well, what would be wrong with that?

Sullivan: Nothing on face value. Johnny had contributed some money up to that. And Johnny had a very nervous kind of an outward, aggressive personality. And just the appearance made me - the appearances of it and the fact that he seemed - very much desired to get into the radio address made me nervous.

Cochran: And also, that that might not be his money, Johnny Chung's money, right? That the money might be coming from those he was escorting into the White House. Isn't that a concern that you had?

Sullivan: That was - that's correct.

By The Associated Press



Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.