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Campaign Finance Key Player:
Johnny Chung

This profile was compiled from Washington Post and washingtonpost.com staff reports. Click on linked names to read other profiles, or see the full list of key players.

Johnny Chung, 43, who delivered a $50,000 campaign contribution to the White House and escorted Chinese businessmen to a presidential radio address, is cooperating with the Justice Department's investigation of finance abuses in the 1996 campaign.

From The Post:
Liu's Deals With Chung: An Intercontinental Puzzle, May 24, 1998
Chung Ties Funds to DNC, May 16, 1998
Chung Makes Deal With Prosecutors, March 6, 1998
Staffer Took Donation Inside the White House, March 6, 1997
As part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in March, Chung was charged with funneling illegal contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign by asking friends and employees of his office technology firm to make donations for which they were later reimbursed. Chung was also charged with engaging in a similar "straw donor" scheme to assist the 1996 reelection bid of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

As part of the plea, Chung agreed to cooperate with investigators, and soon told them that Chinese army Lt. Col. Liu Chaoying, an executive with a state-owned aerospace company, gave him $300,000 to donate to the Democrats' 1996 campaign. Chung's allegation – hotly denied by Liu and the Chinese government – is the strongest evidence yet of a direct money trail from the Chinese government to Democratic campaign coffers.

In 1996, Liu and Chung attended a Los Angeles fund-raiser where Liu was photographed with Clinton.

Chung made at least 49 visits to the White House, despite the fact that a National Security Council official concluded that he was a "hustler" seeking to exploit his friendship with the Clintons to impress Chinese business associates.

During one visit to the White House, he handed a $50,000 check to Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief of staff, Margaret A. Williams.

Williams accepted the check and passed it along to the DNC, even though federal law bars government employees from accepting campaign contributions on government property.

From 1994 to 1996, Chung made 12 personal or corporate donations to the DNC totaling $366,000. The DNC returned all of the money last year, stating that it had "insufficient information" about its origins.

Last updated May 21, 1998

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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