Campaign Finance Key Player:
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From 1993 to 1996, Haley Barbour was chairman of the Republican National Committee.
While it is mostly the Democratic National Committee that has come under attack for accepting foreign donations, the party's defenders argue that Barbour solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hong Kong businessman Ambrous Tung Young to subsidize the National Policy Forum, a GOP think tank founded by Barbour and subsidized by the RNC.
That money was used as collateral for a $2.1 million commercial bank loan to the NPF. The same day it received the loan, the NPF gave $1.6 million of it to the RNC, which then provided a comparable amount to state Republican parties and other GOP organizations in 15 states during the crucial closing weeks of the 1994 election.
At the time, the NPF, which is now defunct, was seeking tax-exempt status as a nonpartisan policy organization. As a tax-exempt nonprofit, the NPF could have legally accepted foreign contributions. But the Internal Revenue Service eventually rejected the tax exemption application, ruling that the NPF was "a partisan, issues-oriented organization."
Barbour dismissed the notion that the NPF was a funnel for the RNC as "goofy."
Barbour served as executive director of the Mississippi Republican Party from 1973 to 1976, and as a top political adviser in the Reagan White House in the mid-1980s before becoming RNC chairman.
Last updated March 4, 1998
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