05/20/98- Updated 06:28 PM ET|
House calls for immunity for Chung
WASHINGTON - The House went on record Tuesday in favor of giving immunity to four witnesses who may be able to offer new information about an alleged Chinese effort to help finance President Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign
The unanimous vote on the non-binding resolution masked a partisan split that continues to overshadow the investigation.
"The revelations over the past five days have raised eyebrows here in Congress whether our national security has been violated," said House Republican Conference Chairman John A. Boehner of Ohio. "These witnesses all have information that directly relates to some of those dealings."
Democrats supported the resolution but said they would not vote to actually grant immunity as long as Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, continued to run the investigation.
"Our problem isn't with immunity," said California Rep. Henry Waxman, the committee's ranking Democrat. "Our problem is with Dan Burton and his handling of the investigation. We are dealing with extremely serious allegations. We owe the American people a serious credible investigation."
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, said Tuesday he will seek the establishment a special panel to investigate the Clinton administration's missile technology dealings with China.
The debate followed revelations that businessman Johnny Chung told Justice Department investigators he received $300,000 from a Chinese Army officer and aerospace official. The Democrats returned Chung's $366,000 in contributions amid questions over where the money originated.
Clinton in 1996 granted a waiver to Loral Corp. to export satellite technology to China. The company's chairman, Bernard Schwartz, is one of the Democratic Party's largest contributors. The White House has denied any connections between donations and the decision on satellite technology.
By The Associated Press
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