Senior Taiwan officials have said Washington's unofficial representative in Taipei pressured local businessmen for contributions to President Clinton's campaign, Newsweek magazine reported.
In its issue out today, Newsweek quoted unnamed sources as saying that senior Taiwan officials had complained privately that local businessmen were pressured to give to the Clinton campaign by James Wood, an Arkansas lawyer appointed by Clinton as chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan.
"Wood told Taiwan businessmen that Clinton deserved to be 'rewarded' for granting a U.S. visitor's visa to Taiwan President Lee Teng-Hui -- then steered them to (John) Huang," the weekly said.
Huang is the former fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee who now faces questioning by a federal commission about illegal campaign contributions.
Wood denied the charge to Newsweek last week, saying that he only sought "a level playing field" for American business. The American Institute in Taiwan is Washington's unofficial embassy in Taipei in the absence of diplomatic relations.
Newsweek also reported that the State Department's inspector general had received reports that at least one Taiwan businessman tried to deliver cash to someone he thought represented the Clinton campaign.
Wood, asked by Newsweek if he ever suggested that Taiwan businessman contact Huang to make political contributions, said that "that could have happened," but added he "couldn't recall" if it actually did.
The Democratic National Committee is under fire for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable contributions from individuals with ties to the Lippo Group, an Indonesian real estate and banking conglomerate.
At the center of the controversy are Clinton's personal ties with James Riady, the group's deputy chairman. Riady, 39, was working as an intern at Worthen Bank in Little Rock, Ark., when he became friendly with Clinton, then governor of the state.