Huang's Lippo Contacts
Today's hearing will focus on Huang's Lippo contacts while he was at Commerce
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 17) -- When the Senate campaign finance hearings resume this morning, investigators will lay out what they know about more than 400 contacts John Huang had with Lippo sources during the time he worked at the Commerce Department.
Huang, a former Democratic fund-raiser, is one of the key figures in the Senate's probe of campaign finance abuses and the illegal movement of overseas money into the U.S. political arena.
Some senators have suggested that Huang, who got CIA briefings while at Commerce, may have passed sensitive information to Lippo, which in turn has close ties with the Chinese government.
Paula Greene, the probable lead-off witness, is expected to testify that Huang often used the Washington offices of Stephens, Inc., a Little Rock-based investment banking house, to make telephone calls. She was the secretary of the Stephens office, which was within easy walking distance of the Department of Commerce building. She will say Huang often spoke in Chinese, so she didn't know what he was saying.
A committee investigator, Jack Cobb, is expected to describe telephone calls Huang made to Lippo sources from his office, from the Stephens office, and from Huang's homes in suburban Washington and California.
Republican staffers describe them as "contacts" rather than "calls." The "contacts" are said to be either with Lippo offices or Lippo employees personally, some at their own homes.
Two Commerce Department officials -- William Ginsberg, who was chief of staff to Ron Brown, and Timothy Hauser, the current deputy undersecretary for administration -- are expected to testify about Huang's desire to keep his top-secret security clearance when he left Commerce to join the Democratic National Committee. Huang had asked to be kept on as a Commerce Department consultant in order to keep the clearance, but his request was denied.
Following Wednesday's public hearing, the Senate panel met in closed session to further explore what Huang learned in CIA briefings at the Commerce Department.
Sources told The Associated Press that members pressed CIA officials on whether electronic intercepts have confirmed that Huang committed economic espionage, as alleged by Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-N.Y.) Intelligence officials said they had no information to confirm that, the sources said.
On Huang's use of the Stephens office, a Stephens spokesman, Frank Thomas, said the company has no information about Huang's activities.
"Stephens has had a business relationship with the Riady family since the late 1970s and early 1980s. John Huang worked for the Riady family, and prior to joining the Commerce Department, he periodically visited our D.C. offices when he was in town on business. After he joined the Commerce Department he on occasion continued to use our offices," Thomas said in the statement.
"We believe he used the telephone and may have received faxes, but we do not know anything about the content of those communications. We understand that the matter is under review and we are cooperating fully," he said.
CNN's Brooks Jackson contributed to this report.
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