President Clinton took a personal interest in the hiring of John Huang by the Democratic National Committee, going so far as to ask Marvin S. Rosen, the committee’s finance chairman, in November 1995 whether Huang would be hired, congressional investigators say.
In the two months leading up to that conversation, White House officials had strongly urged the Democratic committee to hire Huang so he could begin soliciting contributions from Asian Americans.
And on Nov. 8, 1995, at a fundraising event here, Clinton asked Rosen about the status of Huang’s hiring. The president told him that Huang had come “highly recommended,” Rosen told Senate investigators last month. Five days later, Huang accepted a job as vice chairman of finance.
The hiring of Huang by the Democratic committee - and the lengths to which Clinton and his top aides influenced that decision - are expected to be a main topic at the Senate hearings beginning Tuesday.
Huang is a leading figure in the campaign finance controversy of 1996. The Democratic committee has returned $1.6 million in donations that he raised because of significant questions about their source.
Huang’s lawyers say their client will refuse to testify.
Lanny J. Davis, the White House special counsel, said Sunday that Clinton “does not specifically recall the remark attributed to him by Marvin Rosen.”
“In general,” Davis said, “the president was openly committed to reaching out to the Asian-American community during the campaign.”
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