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Campaign Finance Key Player:
John K.H. Lee

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.

South Korean businessman John K.H. Lee's White House connections were apparently a convincing factor in the decision by an electronics company in his country to pour $1.3 million into a joint venture in the United States.

From The Post:
S. Korean Made Big DNC Donation in Alleged Scheme to Bilk Partner, May 27, 1997
The Curious Cast of Asian Donors, Jan. 27, 1997
Most of those connections were fictitious – including a dazzling floral tribute from "the American Clinton" that he sent himself – but Lee's alleged scam was enhanced when he won a meeting with President Clinton after making a $250,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee.

Lee was granted a five- to ten-minute meeting with Clinton for himself and his business partner in April 1996 after buying five seats at a $50,000-a-plate DNC dinner from party fund-raiser John Huang.

Under U.S. election law, foreign companies and individuals are not allowed to make political contributions. A U.S. subsidiary can make contributions. But Lee's contributions came from the Cheong Am America company, which had not generated any revenue. The money actually came from the firm's parent company in Seoul.

The DNC returned the donation in September 1996.

Last updated July 24, 1997

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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