The director of a California company named in a disputed document as a conduit for illegal contributions to U.S. politicians from the Marcos regime gave $32,137 in 1980 to an unsuccessful candidate for California state assembly, Larry Asera, according to California campaign records.
Asera, a Fairfield, Calif., businessman and onetime Solano County commissioner who sought to become the first Filipino-Amercian in the assembly, denied receiving "any money that I know of" from former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.
He issued the denial from Manila in an interview aired yesterday on Sacramento television station KOVR. Asera said he was in Manila with a delegation of the California state assembly which is trying to help the Aquino government recover Marcos-owned property in California.
Asera's name, along with those of President Carter, then-candidate Ronald Reagan and other elected officials appears on a document released by a House subcommittee yesterday.
The document -- a plain sheet of paper -- is one of 2,300 taken from the deposed president. It names the Mahubay Corp. of California as the front for $175,200 is campaign contributions from the Marcos government. It also lists nearly $50,000 for legal and other fees associated with the Mahubay Corp., and lists a payment of $762,247.52 for unspecified "intelligence purposes."
Those listed in the document as intended recipients of the illegal campaign contributions are Carter, $51,500, Reagan, $50,000, Asera, $50,000, Sen. Alan Cranston (D -- Calif.), $10,000, former speaker of the California Assembly Leo McCarthy $10,00, San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein, $2,500. In addition three canddiates for local office in California as named as recipients of smaller sums.
All the alleged recipients have denied knowingly receiving any money from a front group for the Marcos regime, and checks of Federal Election Commission in Washington and California election records do not confirm any of the contributions listed.
The California records do indicate, however, that Dr. Leonilo Malabed, a San Francisco physican who was a boyhood friend of Marcos and was the director of Mahubay Corp., gave $32,937 to Asera and $10,000 to McCarthy. FEC records indicate he and members of his family gave $2,150 to the Carter-Mondale campaign, $4,125 to the Democratic National Committee and $500 to Cranston.
Malabed said the contributions were personal ones from himself, and denied fronting for the Marcos regime.
Asera, the biggest listed recipient of Malabed's campaign contributions, was a county supervisor in a middle-class white area of Solano County in the late 1970s. He steered clear of "homeland politics" and was neither pro-Marcos nor anti-Marcos, according to Filipino-American sources.
His nonalignment raised the question why the Marcos regime would want to place money in such hands, and in the eyes of some Filippinos in California, cast doubt that the Malabed contribtion was anything more than the act of a friend. The bulk of the contribution -- $30,000 -- was made by Malabed to Asera after Asera had lost the campaign and needed to pay a loan. Malabed said he had cosigned the loan.
In addition to the list of alleged political funding, the document describes payments made in connection with an unsuccessful attempt by the Mabuhay Corp. to buy a radio station near San Francisco, KJAZ, for $1.7 million.
The largest amount, $16,650, went to Daniel F. Reidy, a San Francicso lawyer who yesterday confirmed that he was hired by Malabed in 1978 to form the corporation, and that he ceased representing the corporation in late 1979, when the KJAZ deal fell through.
"Its only purpose," Reidy said, referring to Mabuhay, "was to buy the radio station . . . . There was no interest in any campaign contributions. There was no indication to me that there was anything untoward about the group."
Another lawyer, Roger Metzler, whose firm represented KJAZ, said a now-retired partner who handled the negotiations, Lester Spillane, told him that on the day Mabuhay made the commitment to buy the station, officials of the corporation "brought the good faith deposit in a suitcase full of cash." Spillane, according to Metzler, said "I never saw anything like it," and told the Mabuhay officials to take back the cash and bring in a check. The deposit, according to the Marcos document, amounted to $25,000.
No evidence has been found to support the document's assertion that $50,000 contributions were made to both the Carter and Reagan 1980 campaigns. Such contributions would have been illegal.
Not only are corporations prohibited from making federal donations, but federal law prohibits foreign citizens from giving to campaigns, unless they are residing in the United States and have been admitted into the country for the purpose of maintaining permanent residence.
Any person or corporation acting as a conduit for the transfer of money from foreign interests into political campaigns would also be violating prohibitions against "making a contribution in the name of another person."
Separate legislation, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, requires anyone promoting the political interests for a foreign government or corporation within the United States to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. Finally, federal law restricts individual contributions to a presidential campaign to $1,000.
Under California law, there are no restrictions on either corporate contributions or the amount of money corporations and individuals can give to candidates.