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January 8, 1993
(TIME, May12) -- It may be a tad embarrassing to admit to writing letters of reference for people one barely knows, but nevertheless, that's the position taken by Senate minority leader Tom Daschle's staff when it comes to his hearty recommendation of one John Huang to the Clinton transition team in 1993. "I have known John Huang for four years, having worked with him on a number of economic development projects," Daschle wrote to transition-team head Richard Riley. "I can personally attest to John's strong background in trade and Pacific Rim issues." Huang, who has become the symbol of shady Democratic fund raising, was then an executive with the Indonesia-based Lippo Group conglomerate, and interested in positions at Commerce, Treasury and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. According to Daschle spokeswoman Ranit Schmelzer, the Senator says he doesn't remember how he met Huang, who became Deputy Assistant Secretary at Commerce, and has no recollection of any "economic development projects" the two of them collaborated on. But Huang did arrange an April 1991 fund-raising lunch in Los Angeles for the Senator. Daschle has returned the roughly $3,000 raised at that lunch from Huang and his wife Jane; James Riady, who was Huang's boss at Lippo; Maria Hsia, who would later co-chair the infamous 1996 Buddhist-temple fund raiser attended by Al Gore; and several others. Daschle was not alone in recommending Huang: the businessman was also tipped for a job in a recently released 1992 Democratic National Committee memo.
--By Viveca Novak
"Bush, Carter, Clinton...they were all painting over this graffiti-ed wall. Which is the first time in American history that members of both parties took part in the same cover-up."
The Longest Days
Newly confirmed Labor Secretary Alexis Herman discovered last week that it pays to tough it out through even the most protracted Senate confirmation battles. Below, a look at Cabinet-level nominees who cooled their heels the longest:
Sorry, Wrong Number
Customers who signed up for the service of a Christian Right long-distance company may soon see some of their monthly payments transferred to a prominent pro-choice group instead. In January, Planned Parenthood began garnishment proceedings against AmeriVision Communications Inc., the parent company of LifeLine, a phone service that bills itself as a moral alternative to what it describes as "pro-gay, pro-liberal values" carriers like AT&T and MCI. LifeLine diverts 10% of payments to a cause checked off by its 1.2 million customers. Last year it raised more than $10 million for charities that include several Christian Coalition groups, the American Family Association and Operation Rescue-National. In May 1994, Planned Parenthood was awarded $1.01 million in damages by a Texas jury that ordered Rescue America, Operation Rescue-National and their leaders to pay for protesting and harassing clinic doctors, staff and patients during the 1992 G.O.P. Convention in Houston. Now Planned Parenthood hopes to seize at least half that amount from Operation Rescue via LifeLine and other sources.
By Lisa Granatstein, Janice M. Horowitz, Nadya Labi, Lina Lofaro, Emily Mitchell, Megan Rutherford And Alain L. Sanders
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