Quick — can you name an Asian fundraiser for the Clinton family who admitted to stupefying corruption on a grand scale yet spectacularly failed to tar or feather either of the Clintons in any serious way despite tales of their mutual misdeeds being splashed all over the front pages of American newspapers?
If you guessed Norman Hsu, you’d only be half correct.
The truth of the matter is, there are at least three other people who fit this obscure bill whose tales may be wilder and more colorful than Hsu’s. (In case you don’t remember Hsu, he was a Ponzi schemer and criminal who was busted in 2007 after serving as a major campaign bundler for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.)
In this case, the name of Johnny Chung could be another correct answer (although there are still others) to the question involving Clinton corruption.
For those who don’t remember, Chung was a Clinton fundraiser who substantially assisted Bill Clinton with his 1996 presidential reelection campaign. Chung was later accused of money laundering for high-powered Chinese businessmen and government officials. He also stood accused of breaking campaign finance laws in a scandal the press at the time termed “Chinagate.”
Chung recalls that neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton nor any campaign official batted an eyelash at the large donation checks Chung presented them, despite Chung being a relatively unknown small-time businessman. In the span of two years, Chung said, he visited the White House no less than 57 times to directly present funds to the Clintons.
He stated that at least eight of those visits were “off the books” and that most of his dealings were with Hillary Clinton personally or her aides. Chung recalled that at one of the meetings, he handed a check for $50,000 to Hillary Clinton’s then-Chief of Staff Maggie Williams.
At some point during this period, Bill Clinton wanted to meet one of the sources of Chung’s funds — a top Chinese military official — and Chung obliged, inviting the man to a Los Angeles fundraiser.
Another man who was the head of China’s military intelligence gave Chung $300,000, which Chung dutifully passed on to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The FBI later wanted Chung to set up a sting of this man, General Ji Shengde, at the Los Angeles International Airport, but Chung refused.
At least one Macau-based billionaire, Ng Lap Seng, was also tied to the scandal, allegedly having given $1 million to Chung that was meant for the Clintons. Seng was later arrested in 2015 as he entered the United States with a suitcase full of cash and was alleged to have bribed United Nations official John Ashe in a separate case.
Ashe was found dead while lifting weights in the summer of 2016. A planned probe of Seng’s connections to the Clintons was dropped by former President Obama’s Justice Department last year.
Eventually, in 1996, Chung got the attention of federal authorities for his activities, and Democrats claimed that Chung was the culprit for misleading them. However, the judge in the case chastised the DNC for accepting the funds without question and thought it was “strange” that no one from the Democratic Party was prosecuted for their actions.
“It’s very strange that the giver pleads guilty and the givee gets off free,” declared District Court Judge Manuel Real at the time. He also stated that the leaders of the DNC were “the dumbest politicians I’ve ever seen” if they weren’t aware of Chung’s crimes at the time they took place. Real also blasted Attorney General Janet Reno for not appointing a special prosecutor in the case.
Chung ultimately cooperated with Bill Clinton’s Department of Justice and was sentenced in 1998 to five years’ probation for bank fraud, tax evasion and campaign finance violations. However, the government’s sentence wasn’t what worried Chung the most.
Apparently, Chung was so concerned about his having to testify in the case that on the advice of a government official, he made a “tell-all” videotape sometime in 2000 that delved into many previously unknown details about the affair and his involvement with Bill and Hillary Clinton.
According to a new book, it seems that Chung was so afraid that persons employed or controlled by the Clintons might want to “do him harm” that he made this tape as an “insurance policy” on the chance that something “bad” were to happen to him (in which case his family was supposed to release the tape to the press).
Specifically, Chung cited the death of Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, who was accused of arranging and selling seats for administration trade trips to China. Brown died along with other Commerce Department officials amidst suspicious circumstances in a plane crash in Croatia in 1996.
Author Doug Wead’s upcoming tome Game of Thorns is the story of Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2016, but it’s also the story of how the Chinese government is alleged to have had a long-running operation to purchase political influence in Washington.
In the book, Chung says the aforementioned government official — who was “friendly with the FBI,” according to author Wead — told Chung that his “odds of survival actually increased by going public.” In light of the recent controversy surrounding President Donald Trump supposed ties to Russia, the timing of these revelations is interesting, to say the least.
According to what we know thus far, nothing bad ever happened to Chung; he’s rumored to be hiding somewhere in China presently, but author Wead says he doesn’t know Chung’s current whereabouts. However, what has come out recently is the tape Chung made, and its contents are fascinating for anyone interested in the case.
On the tape, Chung is interviewed by former NBC News correspondent Bob Abernethy. Chung states that his attorney was sent a letter by Democrats from the House Committee on Government Reform encouraging Chung to plead the Fifth Amendment rather than testify and possibly incriminate the president, the First Lady or any of their officials.
Chung relates that at the time he thought this was ‘ludicrous’ and essentially a veiled threat by Washington Democrats for Chung to ‘stay quiet.’
“My attorney is a fine and good attorney in the West Coast,” says Chung on the tape. “Besides, every good American attorney… they know how to take the Fifth… [the Democrats] sent a package to my attorney for one purpose.”
Moreover, one of the most interesting parts of the tape is where Chung states that a few days after he was given round-the-clock witness protection from the FBI prior to his scheduled grand jury witness testimony, his government security was dropped for no apparent reason. The FBI said he would have to give the testimony unaccompanied.
Even the judge in his case was shocked by this circumstance. “I called the FBI office and offered to [speak with] the US assistant attorney again on the phone,” Chung said. “And he said ‘Mr. Chung your case is over. As a normal American citizen, what do you do if you feel your life is in danger? You just call 911.'”
Bravely, Chung finally testified to the House Committee, telling its members that he thought the Clintons “used me just as much as I used them.” Furthermore, he said the DNC “portrayed themselves as victims, victimized by [me].”
As far as we know, Johnny Chung is alive, but his story begs new questions — did the Clintons ever threaten him? Why was the probe of Ng Lap Seng dropped? Was there any relationship between Ron Brown and Chung or the officials Chung laundered money for?
This is just one facet in the Clintons’ Chinese web that needs to be unraveled. Now that the political party in power in Washington has changed, it may be time to start answering some of these questions. [Doug Wead’s book Game of Thorns can be pre-ordered on Amazon.]
~ Conservative Zone