The Senate Ethics Committee has turned over to the Justice Department possible perjury cases stemming from cash payments that accused South Korean agent Tongsun Park said he made to three senators.
The committee's first officail report of its investigation of alleged South Korean influence-buying points out conflicts between the sworn testimony of Park and aides to Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.), the late senator Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.) and former senator Jack Miller (R-Iowa).
Committee chairman Adlai E. Stevenson (D-III.) said at a press conference that since "all the statements were made under oath, that possibility (perjury) exists." But he also said the committee had made no recommendation to Justice prosecutors on how they should judge the different stories.
None of the senatore is involved in the conflicting testimony because Park made the alleged payments through the aides. Without corroboration from an independent source or document it is diffucult to turn such one-on-one conflicts into a perjury case, a knowledgeable Justice official said yesterday.
The committee's report yesterday reaches no conclusions about the conduct of the senators who accepted cash from Park. And the "interim status report" and an accompanying857-page volume of executive session testimony add little about Park's activities in the Senate.
Victor Kramer, the committee's special counsel, did say that the late senator John L. McClellan (D-Ark) acknowledged last fall, shortly before his death that he had accepted $1,000 in cash from Park in 1972. It was not reported as a campaign contribution as required by law, which Kramer termed an "admitted impropriety."
The conflicts in testmony arose in these instances:
Park testified that he gave $5,000 in cash to John Morrison, a Humphrey campaign aide, in the spring of 1972 for the senator's presidential race. Morrison said he didn't believe he'd ever met Park and remembered no such donation.
Park said be made a $3,000 cash constribution to Miller's campaign in the fall of 1972 through aide Stan Browne. Browne testified that he received the funds but later sent them back because he thought it was illegal.
A committee investigator said later that Browne had supplied no receipt to prove he returned the money.
The Senate report also showed that Park paid $3,800 for a June 1973 dinner at his George Town Club for Bayh. And it detailed Park's previouly reported payments to the late senator Joseph M. Montoya (D-N.M.), Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr. (Ind-Va.) and Spark M. Matsunaga (D-Hawaii) and former senator Stuart Symington (D-Mo.).
They did so, they said, because Tower was a memeber of the committee who had disqualified himself from taking part in the investigation.
Tower had acknowledged receiving gifts of jewelry from Park, but committee investigators had not appraised it, Kramer said. They took Toer's word that it was worth less than $25, he said.
Stevenson and Sen. Harrison Schmitt (R-N.M.), the ranking minority member of the committee, said they were still interested in hearing from former Korean ambassador Kim Dong Jo, who also is suspected of making cash payments to members of Congress. They would not require sworn testimony, they said.