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House Panel Gets Money To Probe Fund Raising Fbi Looking Into Lobbyist’s Claim Burton Threatened Him

After winning approval for his panel’s budget, the chief House investigator of President Clinton’s fund raising disclosed plans for more subpoenas Friday and predicted hearings in four to six weeks.

Rep. Dan Burton, chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, said fresh subpoenas will be issued in the next three weeks.

The panel is investigating whether the Chinese government tried to buy influence in the Clinton administration by funneling political donations to the Democratic Party through fund-raisers such John Huang and Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie, a friend of the president.

The Democratic National Committee has said it will return almost $3 million in contributions, about half raised by Huang.

The committee is also examining how Democratic donors were given special access to the White House, including opportunities to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom or attend social events with Clinton.

Meanwhile, the FBI has begun a preliminary inquiry into allegations that Burton threatened a lobbyist with loss of work last year if he did not raise funds for Burton’s own campaign. An FBI agent has scheduled an interview next week with Mark A. Siegel, a former lobbyist for the Pakistani government, who alleged in a memo that he was “shaken down” by Burton. Plato Cacheris, Siegel’s attorney, said the FBI requested the interview Thursday, a day after Siegel’s allegations were reported in the press.

Friday’s vote to give Burton’s committee $3.8 million - the full amount he requested - was a sign that his GOP support was holding despite demands by House Democrats that Burton recuse himself from the fund-raising investigation because of Siegel’s allegations.

Over in the Senate, lawmakers were preparing subpoenas about questionable donations to Clinton’s legal defense fund from members of a Buddhist sect in California, said a Senate source. The donations were among $600,000 delivered by Trie that were returned by the defense fund.