Rep. John J. McFall (D-Calif.) announced yesterday that the Justice Department told him last week that he is not under investigation as part of its probe of South Korean influence buying on Capitol Hill.
McFall acknowledge last November - after earlier denying it - that he had accepted large cash payments from Washington-based Korean businessman Tongsun Park in 1972 and 1974.
The congressman said he put the money $4,000 in $100 bills, in his secret office account because at the time he thought it was illegal to accept campaign contributions from foreign nationals.
Park is a key figure in a sweeping Justice Department investigation into allegations that the South Korean government spent hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on cash and gifts for U.S. congressmen to ensure continued U.S. said.
In a statement issued by his office, McFall said he was advised last Friday by Assistant Attorney General Benjamin J. Civiletti that he was "not a 'target or subject' of the department's South Korean investigation."
The former House Democratic whip said that he had been interviewed by the FBI "for informational purposes" and voluntarily had turned over to the Justice Department all his records relating to Park.
Civiletti confirmed last night that he told McFall - in response to a telephone inquiry from the congressman last week - that he was not now a target or subject of the inquiry.
But he said he could not confirm part of McFall's announcement that said "Mr. Civiletti's statement means that after reviewing the information I voluntarily provided, the Justice Department has concluded that there is no cause to investigate me as part of its South Korea probe, including that phase related to the activities of Mr. Park."
"That's his interpretation, not mine," Civiletti said.