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Justice Takes Interest In Tainted Gop Funds Department Official Responds To Letter From House Demos

The Washington Post

The Justice Department has begun a review of questionable donations made to Republican political coffers by a Hong Kong parent company of Florida-based subsidiary, law enforcement officials said Friday.

Justice officials privately acknowledged their interest a day after disclosures that the Republican National Committee and two other GOP organizations planned to return $102,400 in campaign donations upon learning that the source of the funds was a Florida-based firm, Young Brothers Development-USA, which had little or no assets in the United States. The company also guaranteed a $2.2 million loan to a Republican Party think tank, the National Policy Forum, established by former RNC chairman Haley Barbour.

Congressional Democrats seized upon the revelation, suggesting the Republicans had been hypocritical for attacking their party for questionable fund-raising tactics among Asians and Asian Americans. They demanded that Republican-controlled House and Senate investigative subcommittees looking at campaign finance abuse target the GOP as well, including alleged discrepancies recently uncovered.

In addition, in a May 8 letter, House Democrats, including Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., called on Attorney General Janet Reno “to investigate the serious allegations of campaign finance wrongdoing involving foreign donors, the Republican National Committee, and an RNC affiliate, the National Policy Forum.” The letter detailed at least four possible violations of federal law.

“We will review the letters from Congress,” outlining alleged violations, a Justice official said Friday.

Separately, a House panel investigating campaign finance improprieties has invited White House counsel Charles F.C. Ruff to appear before it next week to explain the White House refusal to turn over documents the panel has subpoenaed.

Republicans on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee are frustrated that the White House has refused to turn over records on former Democratic Party fund-raisers John Huang, Pauline Kanchanalak, Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie, the Riady family of Indonesia, and former associate attorney general Webster L. Hubbell.

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