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Democratic Fundraiser Indicted

February 18, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Democratic fund-raiser Maria Hsia was indicted today by a federal grand jury on charges of arranging to disguise illegal campaign contributions by a California Buddhist temple to President Clinton’s re-election campaign; Sen. Edward M. Kennedy; his son Patrick and other candidates between 1993 and 1996.

It was the second indictment brought by the Justice Department’s campaign finance task force. Attorney General Janet Reno, who has been under Republican fire for refusing to turn the case over to an independent counsel, called it ``yet another step forward in the Justice Department’s investigation of campaign finance abuses associated with the 1996 election.″

The Hsi Lai Temple, located in the Los Angeles suburb of Hacienda Heights, Calif., and formally known as the International Buddhist Progress Society, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.

A trio of nuns from the temple told a Senate committee last fall that the temple illegally reimbursed donors after an April 1996 fund-raiser there attended by Vice President Al Gore. The nuns testified the temple later destroyed or altered records to avoid embarrassment.

Gore has said he did not know the event was a fund-raising event, but a draft report by the Senate panel concludes that it should have been obvious to him.

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