Should Attorney General Janet Reno appoint an independent counsel?
Should an independent counsel be appointed?
The Democratic Fund-Raising Flap
May 7, 1997 -- The Washington Post reports that FBI Director Louis Freeh had urged Attorney General Janet Reno to seek an independent counsel, after concluding that the Justice Department faced a possible conflict of interest in examining the actions of several top aides to President Bill Clinton. Reno later downplays it as "a continuing discussion ... I'm not sure you would characterize it as a difference of opinion."
May 8, 1997 -- The Republican National Committee announces it will return $102,400 contributed by a Florida company after discovering that the source of the money was a parent company in Hong Kong. In addition, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee say they will each give back $10,000 to the same company, refunding a $20,000 contribution made by Young Brothers in 1994 to the Republican Senate-House Dinner.
May 9, 1997 In a written statement, Chinese President Jiang Zemin denies Chinese officials ever made political contributions to U.S. candidates in hopes of gaining influence. "In handling its bilateral relations with other countries China has all along strictly observed the principle of mutual respect for sovereignty and non-interference in each other's internal affairs," he says. CNN multimedia interview with the Chinese president.
May 11, 1997 -- House Government Reform and Oversight Chairman Dan Burton threatens White House counsel Charles Ruff with a contempt of Congress citation if certain documents under subpoena are not delivered to Congress.
May 12, 1997 -- FBI sources tell the Los Angeles Times that Asian businessman Ted Sioeng is suspected of spying for China. A friend of former DNC fund-raiser John Huang, Sioeng has supported both Democrats and Republicans through his company, Panda Estates.
May 19, 1997 -- The DNC concedes it is working on a new schedule for repaying an estimated $14.4 million debt, and hopes to retire it by the end of 1998, a year later than planned. Separately, Rep. Burton indicates a brewing showdown with the White House over documents may be avoided.
May 20, 1997 -- The White House averts a contempt of Congress vote, agreeing to turn over some 2,000 documents to House Government Reform and Oversight Committee chairman Dan Burton. Administration officials say all documents related to John Huang, Charlie Trie and Mark Middleton have been provided. Separately, Pakistan's foreign minister says that former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is making arrangements with U.S. Embassy officials in Islamabad to be interviewed regarding an FBI investigation into whether Burton threatened a lobbyist.
May 21, 1997 -- The Justice Department today charged Democratic fund-raisers Gene and Nora Lum with a felony conspiracy for a scheme to make about $50,000 in illegal campaign contributions to the 1994 campaigns of Sen. Edward Kennedy and W. Stuart Price, a Democratic nominee for Congress from Oklahoma. It's the first criminal charges stemming from Justice's investigation into campaign fund-raising practices.
May 30, 1997 -- The FEC fines the Clinton-Gore 1992 campaign $15,000 for illegal loans, and the Republican National Committee $20,000 for disclosure violations occurring from 1994-1996.
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