Excerpts from today's hearing by the Sen
The Associated Press
Jul. 29, 1997
Excerpts from today's hearing by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on campaign financing:
Jerry Campane, an FBI agent investigating campaign finance: In early 1994, Trie told Webb that he intended to make a contribution of approximately $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee, because he wanted to be a DNC, quote, ``executive.'' A review of Federal Election Commission records reveal that in May and June of 1994 Trie and his wife wrote three checks to the DNC for a total amount of $100,000, as he had suggested to Webb. Also in June of 1994, Daihatsu records reveal that Trie purchased tickets for seating at two tables at a DNC presidential dinner and fund-raiser at the Mayflower Hotel. Mr. Wu and a number of China and Taiwanese businessmen and their spouses attended the event as Trie's guests.
For the year 1994, Trie contributed a total of $127,500 to DNC. In 1995, Trie contributed another $50,000; and in 1996 he contributed $29,500.
According to DNC records, these contributions, as well as money contributed in the names of San Kin Yip International Trading, and American Asian Trade Center, a total of $220,000 have all been returned. Trie's contributions made him a managing trustee of the DNC, and brought to Trie the political connections he sought when he opened Daihatsu's Washington office.
Our investigation found that Mr. Wu wired money from several different foreign sources into three bank accounts maintained by or accessible to Mr. Trie. Trie then shuffled the money among six domestic accounts, four of which ultimately served as the source of a contribution to the DNC.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine: We've listened to you present a very complex maze of financial transactions involving Charlie Trie. Just to summarize, am I correct that your investigation has found that the total amount of contributions to the DNC which you believe were laundered, either by or through Mr. Trie, approximated $220,000; is that correct?
Campane: That's correct, senator.
Collins: Thank you.
You mentioned that beyond tracing wire transfers as they come into the United States, that you have not at this point been able to determine the ultimate source of the funds. And that means that you've determined that nearly a million dollars was wired to Mr. Trie by Mr. Wu or his affiliated companies but you don't yet know whether this was Mr. Wu's own money or whether he himself was serving as a conduit for others. Is that correct?
Campane: That is correct, senator. We attempted to interview Mr. Wu when we _ our investigators traveled to Asia. He would refuse to submit to an interview for us.
Collins: Now, if you could give us a little bit more information about Mr. Wu that would be helpful to the committee because many of us are not very familiar with either his background or his business dealings. For example, does he have any connection with the PRC, with the Chinese government?
Campane: Well, I have some information about Mr. Wu beyond what I testified to, that has been reported in the worldwide press. It's my understanding that Mr. Wu is a member of an organization called the People's Consultative Congress, which is an organization from a province in southern China that provides economic and business advice to the Communist Party as well as to the Chinese government.
He also, it's my understanding, is at least a business friend of Mr. Wang Jun, who I indicated is the chairman of CITIC and Poly Corporation, two other large Chinese companies. CITIC is a large company that is owned by the Chinese government.
Alan Baron, the committee's Democratic Counsel: I'd like to make it clear that the questions I'm going to put to you in no way are intended to impugn your integrity, veracity, credibility, et cetera. I just want to try to determine through my questioning the limits of how far your testimony goes and perhaps how far it doesn't go.
And I'd also like to state for the record that the FBI detailees have been an enormously valuable resource to both the majority and minority throughout this investigation, and Mr. Campane is responsible for that since he supervises that whole group of agents.
Mr. Campane, you've heard both testimony and, I'm sure, read in the press reports about an alleged China plan to influence the 1996 elections. Is that correct?
Campane: That is correct.
Baron: And in the course of your investigation into Mr. Trie and his relationship with Mr. Wu, did you find any evidence that money from the Chinese government was involved in any of the transfers to Mr. Trie that you've described?
Campane: I'm unable to say whether any of the funds that appeared to originate with Mr. Wu may have came from an earlier originating source. Mr. Wu has not made himself available to answer that kind of a question, which I would certainly like to put to him. And so I really just cannot say whether there's any originating government source behind the money that Mr. Wu furnished to Mr. Trie.
Baron: And I take it your answer is you did not find any affirmative evidence that established a relationship between the money that came from Mr. Wu to Mr. Trie back to the Chinese government.
Campane: That is correct. But that kind of affirmative evidence would probably come, based upon my experience in criminal cases, from the ability to access foreign bank records. In this case, of course, it's my understanding the committee's authority stops at the Pacific Ocean line.