House committee plans to release FBI notes of Huang interrogation

Justice Department actions questioned

November 01, 1999|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- A House committee whose Republican chairman has accused the Justice Department of ignoring questions of illegality in connection with the Democratic Party's fund-raising efforts is expected to release tomorrow the FBI's notes of its interrogation of John Huang, a major figure in the 1996 campaign finance scandal.

Rep. Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican who is chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, has said that the Huang interview notes raise serious questions about the failure of the Justice Department to investigate allegations of wrongdoing.

But Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat who is the committee's ranking Democrat, said Friday that the interview notes showed nothing of the sort.

Huang, who has been granted immunity by the committee and might be able to shed light on the notes, is not scheduled to testify for several weeks.

Burton said the notes of the FBI interviews showed that when Huang was an official in the Department of Commerce in 1995 he was told by Harold Ickes, a senior adviser to President Clinton, to raise funds for Jesse Jackson Jr., who was running for Congress. Burton said such activity appeared to be a violation of the Hatch Act, the federal law that prohibits supervisors in the government from pressing subordinates into political activity.

Huang was convicted of funneling illegal donations from foreign nationals into Democratic campaign funds.

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