07/16/97 - 12:37 AM ET - Click reload often for latest version

Memo shows Lippo contributed to DNC

WASHINGTON - The Senate panel probing campaign fund-raising Tuesday turned up what senators called the first clear evidence of an illegal foreign political donation.

In a 1992 memo to the Indonesia-based Lippo Group, for which he then worked, John Huang asked for reimbursement of a $50,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Hours after the memo was released Tuesday, the DNC said it will return the money. U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms can make political donations if the money comes from earnings in this country.

"It certainly looks like the movement of foreign money into an American campaign in 1992," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn.

Huang is the former DNC fund-raiser at the center of the campaign controversy.

The Aug. 12, 1992, check was from Hip Hing Holdings Ltd., an unprofitable Lippo firm that owns only a parking lot. Huang was a Hip Hing executive.

On Aug. 17, 1992, Huang asked Lippo's Jakarta headquarters to "please kindly wire" money for expenses including $50,000 for "DNC Victory - Contribution."

Other developments:

Eric Hotung and his wife, Vicki, raised eyebrows this year when they bought the home of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., for $1 million more than the asking price.

By Judy Keen and Judi Hasson, USA TODAY

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