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Monday, January 29, 2007 

The Truth About Maria L. Haley's Past...

Apparently if you are a loyal Democrat you can do anything and still be appointed to serve in Mike Beebe's administration. First Beebe names the drunk driving Cliff Hoofman to the State Highway Commission.

Now Beebe is naming Maria Haley to run the Economic Development Department. We have to ask, is she going to bring in shady dollars to the state? Or will she just help donors get jobs in the Administration or shady business deals in Arkansas now? For those who don't remember Ms. Haley, here is an article that should refresh your minds. Developing...

Los Angeles Times
March 1, 1997,

WASHINGTON - The Democratic National Committee announced Friday that it will return an additional $ 1.5 million in questionable or improper donations, doubling to nearly $ 3 million the campaign money given back so far.

More than half of the refunded contributions were solicited by John Huang, the former Democratic fund-raiser from Glendale, Calif., who specialized in the Asian American community and is now at the center of the growing campaign finance controversy.

Without providing details, the committee returned $ 366,000 in donations from Johnny Chien Chuen Chung, the gregarious Taiwanese American entrepreneur from Torrance who visited the White House at least 49 times, often accompanied by Chinese guests.

The release of a three-month audit of Democratic finances, which found 77 more donors who had given unacceptable donations, is certain to focus increased scrutiny on the Democrats' fund-raising practices during last year's presidential election. The Justice Department, the Federal Election Commission and several congressional committees have launched investigations into illegal donations from foreigners to the party.

The committee's action also could put pressure on other Republican and Democratic leaders who have accepted donations from the same contributors whose money is now being rejected by the Democratic Party.

Among those who collected such donations were the Clinton-Gore campaign; 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole; Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who chairs the Senate committee investigating campaign finance irregularities; Rep. Robert T. Matsui (D-Sacramento) and Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Mission Hills), according to an analysis of federal election records by the independent Campaign Study Group.

"It is up to others to do what they will with these donations," said Democratic Party spokeswoman Amy Weiss Tobe. "We're only cleaning up our own house, not dictating to others what they should do."

Document Raises Reward Questions

Meanwhile, congressional investigators received a document found in the files of a former top White House aide that suggests that President Clinton's fund-raisers sought to reward campaign donors with presidential appointments to advisory boards and commissions.

Discovery of the memo, which was supplied to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight by former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold M. Ickes, comes on the heels of the disclosure earlier this week that Clinton personally proposed inviting potential big-money donors to stay overnight at the White House.

Along with disclosing the newly refunded donations, Democratic officials said they were taking corrective actions by adopting tough screening procedures to ensure that the DNC thoroughly examines future donations from illegal or questionable sources.

Even though Steven Grossman, national chairman of the DNC, hailed the new provisions as "the most rigorous ever adopted," party officials have acknowledged that similar safeguards were disregarded when the committee raised $ 120 million last year to help finance the president's reelection.

At the White House, Press Secretary Mike McCurry praised the DNC's action.

"The president and the White House believe that they are doing the appropriate thing to correct any mistakes that they have identified and to return contributions they should not have accepted," McCurry said.

Before Friday's announcement, the DNC had returned $ 1.5 million to 16 donors last year in the wake of reports in The Times and other newspapers of illegal or questionable donations by foreign-linked donors.

In all, $ 2.2 million--or about three-quarters of the $ 3 million refunded--was solicited or donated by Huang, Chung and Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie, a former Little Rock, Ark., restaurant owner and personal friend of the president.

Trie has played a role in some of the most embarrassing elements of the current controversy surrounding Democratic fund-raising. He raised more than $ 600,000 in contributions to the president's legal defense fund that were returned because their origin could not be firmly established. And he was responsible for bringing Chinese arms dealer Wang Jun to the White House for a political coffee with Clinton.

Probe Angers Some Asian Americans

Altogether, the Democrats have given back $ 645,000 in donations solicited by Trie, including $ 207,000 contributed by Trie, his company and his wife.

Also returned is $ 64,050 collected from a fund-raiser attended by Vice President Al Gore at the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights, Calif., an event that the committee said should not have occurred at a place of worship. Of the total of $ 166,750 raised at the temple, the Democrats now have returned $ 74,050.

Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, the party's new general chairman, sought Friday to soothe the anger expressed by many Los Angeles-area Asian Americans who were questioned about their qualifications to contribute to the Democrats as part of the fund-raising audit. Many Asian Americans said they were insulted and felt stigmatized by the party's inquiries.

"I'm concerned about the way some of those interviews were conducted," Romer said. "We very much want to heal any of the pain and wounds that have been caused."

Other donors whose contributions the Democrats will send back lashed out at the committee.

The attorney for Chung complained that the national committee has not communicated with his client since questions first surfaced about his donations last year.

"There has been very little in the way of substantive investigation and little or no due diligence by anyone representing the DNC in this matter," said Santa Monica attorney Brian A. Sun. "We're being improperly tarred on the basis of conclusions hastily and erroneously made."

The Times reported in November that Chung enjoyed extraordinary access to the president, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and numerous administration officials from 1994 to 1996 while donating $ 366,000 to the Democrats. A struggling fax machine dealer, Chung escorted dozens of Chinese guests during his visits to the White House. These included the head of a Chinese brewery who toted bottles of beer around the White House and Chinese government officials who watched Clinton deliver a weekly radio address from the Oval Office.

Donor's Business Deals Perturb White House

Documents released two weeks ago show that Chung continued to meet with the Clintons despite warnings from national security officials that he was using his lofty connections to strike questionable business deals overseas.

White House officials were so perturbed by Chung that McCurry recently vowed: "You're not going to see him around here any time soon."

DNC General Counsel Joseph Sandler said the committee made repeated efforts to retrieve information from Chung and his attorney but received little cooperation.

Asked why Chung's money was returned, party officials attending a news conference Friday offered vague explanations, saying that he had provided "insufficient" and "diversionary" information.

Hours after the DNC's announcement, the attorney for Kansas City businessman Farhad Azima sent a letter to the party asking for "immediate clarification" for returning $ 143,741 in cash and in-kind contributions.

The letter complained that besides a courtesy call Friday morning, Azima's attorney had received no explanation and assumed that the money was being returned because of "misleading and inaccurate news reports" about Azima's past.

Although his companies have run up against federal regulators over the years, the Iranian-born Azima is perhaps best known because his name surfaced during the Iran-Contra scandal of the Reagan administration. Allegations arose that one of his jets was used to smuggle arms into his native country--a charge that he vigorously disputes, saying that he had absolutely no knowledge about such a flight, if one took place.

Through his Washington attorney, Azima said: "I must say that I am personally disappointed in many of the circumstances that have arisen by simply undertaking my constitutional right to support the president and the party."

The Democrats said they were returning $ 50,000 to Empire Sanitary Landfill of Taylor, Pa. The trash-hauling company's two principal owners, Carmen Danella and Renato Mariani, were indicted last year by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on tax-fraud charges.

Danella later died of cancer, and charges against Mariani were dropped after another executive agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor tax offense. A company official said Friday that he knew nothing about the returned donation but that new owners had taken over the firm.

Records show that the landfill firm and its employees also contributed $ 50,000 to Dole's presidential campaign in 1995.

In a related development Friday, internal documents released by the Export-Import Bank of the United States showed that Maria L. Haley, a presidential appointee to the bank's governing board, provided names of prospective contributors to the DNC.

On one occasion, Haley, who was born in the Philippines, provided the names of Filipino Americans who could be solicited by the committee to attend a fund-raiser honoring Clinton at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

"I recall sometime in the summer getting a call from the DNC to let me know that the president would be celebrating his birthday in New York and could I provide a list of Philippine Americans in New York who should be invited," Haley said last month in a memo to a bank spokesman.

Haley continued: "I gave about half a dozen names, among them Loida Lewis. I have gotten similar calls the last four years whenever there is a presidential function and the organizers need diversity."

Lewis contributed $ 5,000 to the Democrats on Nov. 12, 1996, according to federal election records. Haley could not be reached for comment Friday. In her memo, addressed to bank spokesman David Carter, Haley insisted that she had not participated in campaign fund-raising.

"I have never talked to anyone regarding money because I am VERY aware that it is illegal in my position," wrote Haley, who also served in Clinton's administration when he was governor of Arkansas.

Mystery Surrounds Origins of Memo

In the memo from Ickes' files, appointments to boards and commissions are just one item on a 10-point list of rewards that were to be offered to contributors in an effort "to reach our very aggressive goal of $ 40 million" for the 1996 election.

The memo was addressed to a DNC employee, Martha Phipps, but the name of the author and the date it was written are not known.

Sources said it was faxed to Ickes from the office of the chairman of the Democratic Party. Ickes, who resigned in January, found it among files he took from the White House when he left.

Robert S. Bennett, Ickes' attorney, said the memo and other documents supplied to the committee by his client "simply reflect long-established practices of both political parties because of the tremendous demands placed upon them to finance campaigns."

Times staff writers Sara Fritz, Robert L. Jackson, Elizabeth Shogren and David Willman in Washington and William C. Rempel in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

Reaching an 'Aggressive Goal'

Among the papers turned over to Congress by former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold M. Ickes was an unsigned memo that recommends 10 donor perks. The memo suggests that the perks would be helpful in reaching the Democratic National Committee's "very aggressive goal of $ 40 million this year." It was addressed to Martha Phipps, deputy chief of staff to former Democratic Party Chairman David Wilhelm.

wow... she made a party list... she must be soooo corrupt. I know maria haley - she is a lovely woman who has worked hard for years for the US and the Philippines. Your slanderous nonsense seeks to draw a connection between her and a scandal that is just ridiculous. Grow up. What have YOU done lately to contribute to the wellbeing of your state and country? Honestly, it't getting to the point that good people are terrified to get involved in public life and service because of twits like you. Grow a brain.

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