Asian Americans Complain About Fund-Raising Probe
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 5) -- Asian Americans testified today at a U.S. Civil Rights Commission briefing that the 1996 campaign fund-raising controversy injured them, causing their community to be scapegoated by politicians and the media.
The commission held a public hearing regarding a petition filed by Asian-American groups citing statements and actions by politicians, political organizations and the media. Three panels made up of represenatives of the groups, contributors, the media, the Democratic National Commitee (DNC) and academics made presentations.
"I think it is fair to say that the DNC has heard loud and clear the anger and frustration that's reflected in the petition and that has been articulated here this morning," said Joseph Sandler, the DNC's general counsel. "In that regard, we take very, very seriously the allegations that are set forth in the petition."
Daphne Kwok, executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans, said "the campaign fund-raising controversy has been a very racialized and injurious event to the Asian American community."
L. Ling-chi Wang, chair of the Asian-American studies program at the University of California, Berkeley said he couldn't "think of a more divisive civil rights setback than what has happened" resulting from the campaign finance controversy.
Susan Au Allen, president of the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, had a another view of the controversy that riled some of her fellow panelists and the audience.
"Whether it is a John Huang, a John Smith, a Charlie Trie or Charlie Jones, if they have done something wrong the law should treat them the same way," Allen said.
Democratic contributor Dr. Suzanne Ahn said she thought the various investigations have resulted in their own injustices.
"Let me tell you, getting a call from the FBI is extremely intimidating," Ahn said. "All because I have given some money to politicians who have turned out to be fair weather friends and hypocrites."
Ahn concluded her remarks by saying she wants her contributions refunded by the DNC.
The commission is not expected to make any initial findings or formal recommendations regarding the petition. They have yet to decide to convene a formal hearing, with today's meeting called a briefing.
But it is in their power to refer specific issues to law enforcement authorities if they deem it necessary.
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Friday Dec. 5, 1997
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