Gavel To Gavel

Gavel To Gavel: Fund-Raising Hearings

'Unfortunate Remarks'

"Asian-Americans certainly are not the only ethnic group to donate money, yet other groups have not been subjected to the same suspicion and scrutiny. The Asian community in America has not received equal treatment or respect, which is contrary to the American spirit of equality and righteousness.

"As members of the Fo Kwang Sho Order, we urge this committee to understand that our outreach to prominent leaders of this country is part of our goal of expanding and propagating Buddhist ideals. This extension of our friendship has been misperceived and is not designed in any way to foster a political agenda or to subvert the American political process.

"We fervently support this committee in its efforts to improve existing laws, but we hope you will not fall prey to the unwarranted and unfounded speculation that Asian-Americans and the disciples of Buddhism have sinister objectives in their interaction with the American political process.

"There is an unfortunate history in this country of discrimination and mistreatment of Asian-Americans. We urge you to investigate these political fundraising issues vigorously, but not to foster the fear that Asian-Americans -- and particularly Chinese-Americans -- necessarily are the tools of foreign governments, such as the People's Republic of China.

"Such stereotypical assumptions can only do great disservice to the millions of Asian-Americans who contribute to the greatness of America. We hope you will stand with us in resisting such pressures and join with us in working together to combat such misplaced and misguided thoughts."

-- Brian Sun, attorney for Hsi Lai Temple

'The document might cause embarrassment'

Sandy Mattice, Majority Counsel: "OK. Now, in your deposition, Man-Ho, you told me you no longer have a copy of that list [of donors] that you gave to John Huang, right?

Man-Ho: "Right."

Mattice: "But there was a copy of the list that you kept at the time that you gave it to John Huang, right?"

Man-Ho: "Right."

Mattice: "Well, what happened to your copy thereafter?"

Man-Ho: "I threw the copy away."

Mattice: "You threw the copy of that list away?"

Man-Ho: "Yes."

Mattice: "Why did you do that?"

Man-Ho: "After controversies last October, I'm afraid that the document might cause embarrassment to the temple."

Mattice: "And so you destroyed it?"

Man-Ho: "Yes."

Mattice: "And in fact, you destroyed a number of other documents that had been created at the temple in connection with the event, did you not?"

Man-Ho: "Yes."

Mattice: "And that was because of your concern about embarrassment the documents might cause?"

Man-Ho: "Yes."

'I really got nervous'

Alan Baron, Chief Minority Counsel: "I'd like to direct the next series of questions to the Venerable Yi Chu if I may. You have testified that at some point when you began reading the press, hearing the press reports, reading the press reports about the event, you destroyed or altered some documents. Is that correct?"

Yi-Chu (through interpreter): "Yes."

Baron: "Am I correct that you decided to do that on your own? It was your own decision?"

Yi-Chu: "Yes."

Baron: "Just to make sure, Maria Hsia did not tell you to do that, am I correct?"

Yi-Chu: "That's right."

Baron: "John Huang did not ask you to destroy or alter any documents, is that correct?"

Yi-Chu: "That's right."

Baron: "No one from the White House or the DNC asked you to destroy or alter any documents. Is that correct?"

Yi-Chu: "That's right."

Baron: "What was your motive in making this judgment on your own to do that? "

Yi-Chu: "Well, developments were unfolding so fast that I was -- I really got nervous. See, I'm the bookkeeper of the temple, but I'm not a professional accountant. And for a lot of entries, I don't know how to deal with them. So I decided to destroy some of the documentation and make some new entries in the books."

In Other News:

Thursday Sept. 4, 1997

Buddhist Nuns Admit Destroying Documents
Supreme Court Keeps Prop 209 In Force
Focus On Gore: Can He Survive The Heat?
Arizonans Rocked By Symington Verdict
Miami Voters Decide City's Fate
Congress To Dedicate Saturday To Diana

E-mail From Washington:
Reagan Also Made Fund-Raising Calls From White House
Congressional Dems Vow Slowdown

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