January 17, 1998 in Nation/World

Johnny Chung Made Pitch For Business At White House

John Solomon Associated Press
 
Tags:ethics

The day before he delivered $50,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office, Democratic donor Johnny Chung pitched his fax business to the White House chief of staff’s office and invoked the first lady’s name, belatedly discovered memos show.

“First lady - if we don’t use Johnny Chung, we’re in trouble,” White House aide Brian Bailey wrote in notes of his March 8, 1995 meeting with Chung. The notes were obtained by The Associated Press.

Bailey was an aide in the chief of staff’s office.

In the end, the White House decided not to use the fax technology Chung’s company offered, but a top aide wrote the Democratic Party recommending Chung’s services there, according to the documents, which were belatedly turned over to investigators on Friday.

White House special counsel Lanny J. Davis said Friday that Hillary Clinton doesn’t recall that she ever learned Chung was seeking White House business, even though she met briefly with him the same week that Chung met with Bailey.

“The first lady doesn’t believe Mr. Chung ever told her that he was attempting to provide services to the White House, and she doesn’t recall whether any staff member might have told her that,” he said.

Chung’s attorney, Brian Sun, said Friday he was reviewing the documents and had no comment.

The documents were recently discovered in an unrelated White House search and turned over Friday to House, Senate and Justice Department investigators probing the Democrats’ fund-raising irregularities.

Chung’s access to the White House in March 1995 has long been under scrutiny after he alleged that a junior member of Hillary Clinton’s staff solicited him for money and he responded the next day by delivering a $50,000 Democratic donation to the first lady’s chief of staff. A few days later, Chung was allowed to bring Chinese businessmen into the White House to watch the president’s radio address.

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