by Larry Elder
During President Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign for re-election, several individuals allegedly worked on behalf of the Chinese government to influence the presidential election in favor of Clinton.
“Chinagate” began when the Los Angeles Times reported, a couple months before the ’96 election, the following:
“The Democratic National Committee has returned a $250,000 contribution from a recently established subsidiary of a South Korean electronics company because it violated a ban on donations from foreign nationals in U.S. elections, a party spokesman said Friday. …
“David Eichenbaum, DNC communications director … said that the DNC fundraiser who was responsible for the contribution was under the impression, erroneously as it turned out, that it fulfilled the legal qualifications. He said it was unclear whether the fundraiser was misled or there had been a misunderstanding.”
DNC did the standard “Oops, we made a boo-boo, here’s your money back, it’s all OK now” dog and pony show. That worked for a while. But a few months later, on Feb. 13, 1997, The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Brian Duffy reported:
“A Justice Department investigation into improper political fundraising activities has uncovered evidence that representatives of the People’s Republic of China sought to direct contributions from foreign sources to the Democratic National Committee before the 1996 presidential campaign, officials familiar with the inquiry said. …
“The Chinese effort to win influence with the Clinton administration can be traced to 1993, one source said. … Some investigators suspected a Chinese connection to the current fundraising scandal because several DNC contributors and major fundraisers had ties to Beijing. Last February, Charles Yah Lin Trie, a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, used his influence with party officials to bring Wang Jun, head of a weapons trading company owned by the Chinese military, to a White House coffee with Clinton.