One of the Democratic Party's biggest campaign donors during the last election cycle, Johnny Chien Chuen Chung, has told the Los Angeles Times that he personally handed a $50,000 check to the First Lady's then-chief of staff, Margaret Williams -- this in response to requests for "help" from aides to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Saying he was seeking special treatment for himself and a delegation of visiting Chinese businessmen, Chung says he was asked to help defray the cost of a White House Christmas reception that had been billed to the Democratic National Committee. Chung's version of events directly contradicts Clinton Administration accounts that claim "at no time" did anyone solicit contributions from Chung.
In the latest example that these White House occupants hung out a "for sale" sign, Chung said, "I see the White House is like a subway: You have to put in coins to open the gates." An administration that regards the White House as the people's house and the presidency as something other than the divine right of political kings would not invite such cynicism. But a prostitute cares little about the background or motives of a customer, so long as the john comes up with the cash.
President Clinton, himself, has vouched for Williams, who he claimed played a "completely passive role" in relaying what he alleges was an unsolicited donation check to the DNC. But Chung says most of his contributions were solicited by DNC Finance Director Richard Sullivan and other DNC officials. Chung gave $366,000 between mid-1994 and November 1996, all of which was returned because the DNC wasn't certain that the source of the money was Chung rather than the Chinese businessmen Chung represented.
While Chung was described in a now-famous National Security Council memorandum as a "hustler," that didn't stop him from being admitted to the White House, any more than pimps are kept out of bordellos.
Chung told the Times, "Johnny Chung's not promoting the policy interests of some foreign government; he's promoting Johnny Chung. That's not a crime. It's the American way."
Not exactly. If Maggie Williams and/or the First Lady solicited a contribution for a political cause while on federal property, that's a violation of the Hatch Act, which criminalizes such activity. Chung claims it was Williams who came up with the idea about paying for the White House Christmas reception, which he claims another aide, Evan Ryan, told him cost $80,000.
White House officials confirm that Chung came to Mrs. Clinton's office on March 8 and 9, 1995, that Williams did receive a $50,000 check from Chung in the White House and that Chung was seeking admittance for himself and the Chinese businessmen to sit in on the president's radio address.
When one is left with a choice of believing the Clinton White House, which regularly backtracks and dissembles about almost everything associated with ethical behavior, and Johnny Chung, who views the White House as a subway turnstile, it is clear that Bill Clinton's promise to make his the most ethical administration in history is not going to be realized.
Since Chung has refused to testify before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee unless he is granted immunity, the public may never get the chance to hear, under oath, a full accounting of Chung's "subway" journeys. But if this isn't enough to persuade a fair-minded person that this White House has been turned into a house of ill repute, consider this.
Chung's attorney, Brian Sun, says that just one month ago, while the DNC was returning his client's donations, Chung received an invitation to join the president and vice president for a Broadway fund-raiser in New York. Chung declined, but the invitation shows that after its derailment, the White House "subway" and the turnstiles necessary to reach it, appear to be back in operation.
Los Angeles Times Syndicate