America Coming Together (ACT), a pro-Democrat organization whose creation was both conceived and funded by the billionaire financier George Soros, has in essence joined the ranks of those Chinese government agents who illegally sought to influence the outcomes of American presidential elections in the 1990s. We now know that in 2004 Soros and ACT attempted, like those agents of Communist China had done a decade before, to buy the U.S. presidency, plain and simple. The common denominator in both instances was the Democratic Party, the self-professed champion of the average, honest working stiff.
A bit of background is in order. Recall for a moment the 1990s, when the Clinton-Gore team’s leading campaign contributors included numerous known or suspected Chinese intelligence agents and their affiliates. Among these were:
· James and Mochtar Riady: These longtime Clinton friends and leaders of the Indonesian-based Lippo Group had “a long-term relationship with a Chinese intelligence agency,” according to a 1997 Senate committee report.
· John Huang: This former Lippo executive and Democratic fundraiser is believed to have had a direct financial relationship with the Chinese government, and was given a job at the Commerce Department after the Clinton White House learned that Huang was “the political power that advises the Riady family on … where to make contributions.”
· Charlie Trie: This Chinese agent and longtime Clinton friend was convicted of having raised mountains of illegal dollars for the DNC from friends with ties to the Indonesian military and Chinese intelligence.
· Ted Sioeng: The aforementioned Senate committee report says this immensely wealthy man “worked, and perhaps still works, on behalf of the Chinese government.”
· Maria Hsia: Convicted of five felonies related to U.S. election-law violations, this agent of the Chinese government illegally raised funds from foreign nationals to finance Al Gore’s political war chest.
· Wang Jun: This Chinese arms dealer, son of the late Chinese President Wang Zhen, was implicated in more than $600,000 in illegal campaign contributions to the Democrats. Wang Jun chaired the People’s Liberation Army-controlled Poly Technologies company, which in 1996 smuggled 2,000 fully automatic AK-47 rifles into the United States.
You may also remember Johnny Chung, a Taiwanese American who served as a conduit for money that the chief of China’s military intelligence, Gen. Ji Shengde, secretly funneled from Beijing to help reelect President Clinton in 1996. “We like your president,” Ji told Mr. Chung prior to the 1996 election. “We want to see him re-elected.” Chung later testified that the DNC was well aware that this money came from Communist China but accepted it nonetheless.
When all was said and done, a total of 22 Democrat donors were convicted by the Justice Department in the so-called “Chinagate” investigation that probed illegal campaign contributions stemming from sources in the Chinese government and military.
Then there was the April 1996 DNC fundraiser, conceived by Charlie Trie and organized by John Huang and Maria Hsia, which was held illegally at the California-based Hsi Lai Temple. (Tax-exempt nonprofits like this Buddhist monastery are barred under federal tax law from hosting political events.) Al Gore, who helped collect $140,000 at the event, later made a fool of himself when he claimed to be unaware that it was a fundraiser. He looked even more foolish when it was thereafter revealed that three days before the monastery event, the DNC had sent Gore’s office a confidential memo explicitly characterizing it as a fundraiser; that only minutes before the event, Gore’s press aide had described it as “a fundraiser” to a Boston Globe reporter; and that Gore had subsequently written separate letters thanking the monastics and Hsia for their “contribution” which “has helped to replenish our account and will allow me to build a strong organization.”
1996 was also the year when Gore, confronted with incontrovertible evidence that he had made illegal fundraising telephone calls from the White House, reluctantly conceded that “on a few occasions” he had used White House offices to place the calls in question. Seven times during a single news conference he mechanically repeated the mantra that there was “no controlling legal authority” defining such calls as violations of election law. It was later learned that the “few occasions” Gore cited were actually 52 phone calls, of which fully 46 were completed. President Clinton similarly acknowledged that he, too, had illegally made fundraising calls from the White House. “I simply can’t say that I’ve never done it,” Clinton said at a press conference.
And you may remember how coffee flowed like liquid gold into Democratic Party coffers during the Clinton years. In the 22 months preceding the 1996 election, 103 coffee klatches were held at the White House to give political access to major DNC contributors. Attended by more than 1,500 guests, these small gatherings helped raise an estimated $27 million for Clinton and the Democrats in 1995 and 1996.
Then in February 1997 it was revealed that the same President who had used the Oval Office as his own personal whorehouse, also saw fit to use the White House as a bed-and-breakfast establishment to raise some extra cash for his political ambitions. Handwritten notes by Mr. Clinton indicated that he personally had approved renting out the Lincoln bedroom and the Queen’s bedroom to overnight guests who, in turn, would fork over as much as $50,000 and $100,000 apiece. Some 938 guests -- more than one-third of whom were Democrat donors who gave over $10 million to the Democrats in the 1996 election cycle -- stayed overnight in these rooms.
Contrary to its carefully cultivated image as champion of the common man, the Democratic Left is in fact supported by big-money donors from whom it extracts cash through a wide variety of shady and sometimes illegal schemes. Moreover, the Left simply does not believe that it should be bound by the fundraising ethics laws to which it dutifully gives lip service.
And now, onto this well-trodden path of chicanery has stepped America Coming Together (ACT), created in 2003 with seed funding that came chiefly from George Soros and Peter Lewis, who gave $10 million apiece. During the 2004 election, ACT ran what it called “the largest voter-contact program in history.” From its more than 90 offices in 17 states, the organization deployed some 25,000 paid canvassers and volunteers in a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaign aimed at persuading “swing voters” to support John Kerry and his fellow Democrats at the polls. In January 2005 political analyst Charlie Cook wrote the following: “…Democrats, chiefly through America Coming Together, mounted what was not only the most sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation in the party’s history, but it was probably the best field work by a factor of at least 10. Merging the latest in technology with old-fashioned shoe-leather, Democrats not only met but surpassed their vote total targets in key states such as Ohio and Florida. . . . [T]he Democrat GOTV operation was not quite good enough to win, but it was awfully close.”
The Federal Election Commission (FEC), however, has fined ACT a total of $775,000 -- the third largest enforcement penalty in the Commission’s 33-year history -- for illegally using unregulated soft money to support Kerry and the Democrats in 2004. All told, ACT raised roughly $137 million -- $33.5 million in federal funds and $103.5 million in non-federal funds (which can be collected in unlimited amounts and are therefore much easier to generate than federal funds) -- for its get-out-the-vote effort that year. According to the FEC, approximately $70 million in disbursements characterized by ACT as “administrative expenses” for door-to-door canvassing, direct mail and telemarketing were earmarked to help specific federal candidates, and thus should have been financed almost entirely with federal funds -- but they were not. The Commission also ruled that even for the approximately $30 million in administrative and generic voter-drive expenses, ACT should have used at least 90 percent federal and 10 percent non-federal funds. Instead, ACT did precisely the opposite -- using only $3.4 million in federal funds and $26.4 million in non-federal funds for these expenses. “ACT failed, the FEC summarized, “properly to attribute and report expenditures attributable to specific candidates, failed properly to allocate and report joint administrative activities and used non-federal funds to pay the federal share of such allocated expenses.”
In short, ACT engaged in massive election fraud that nearly succeeded in buying the 2004 presidential election for John Kerry.
This is reminiscent of the Soros-funded organization ACORN and its sister group Project Vote, which, in recent election cycles, have run nationwide voter-mobilization drives plagued by allegations of forged voter-registration forms, voter intimidation, the illegal registration of convicted felons, the destruction of Republican registration forms, and vote-for-pay scams. Between 2004 and 2006, ACORN employees were accused of submitting fraudulent voter-registration cards and forging signatures on ballot initiatives in 12 states.
Most recently we have learned about Norman Hsu, a fugitive wanted in California in connection with a 1991 fraud/grand theft case, who has given some $260,000 to a bevy of Democratic candidates -- including an undisclosed sum to Barack Obama and $23,000 to Hillary Clinton -- since 2004. All told, Hsu has raised more than $1 million for Mrs. Clinton’s senatorial and presidential runs. The Clinton presidential campaign, which initially listed Hsu on Hillary’s campaign honor roll as a “man of integrity,” was shamed into turning Hsu’s $23,000 over to charity after his criminal background was publicly exposed. WorldNetDaily reports that prior to his forced resignation last week, Hsu “sat on the board of trustees of the liberal New School university in New York with former Loral Corp. head Bernard L. Schwartz, who was allowed to transfer restricted satellite and missile technology to a People’s Liberation Army front after contributing a record amount of cash to President Clinton’s 1996 campaign.”For the Democratic Left, the name of the game is power. They aim to seize it in any way possible, even if they must make an utter mockery of American democracy in the process.
Nor should we forget Geoffrey Fieger, the Michigan attorney indicted by a federal grand jury on criminal charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and illegal campaign contributions. The indictment alleges that Fieger and a law partner, Vernon Johnson, conspired to make approximately $127,000 in illegal donations to John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign; that they illegally circumvented limits on individual campaign contributions by recruiting “straw donors” to make separate contributions of $2,000 apiece (which was then the maximum allowable donation) to Edwards; and that they then reimbursed those individuals with checks disguised as bonuses or as payments for services rendered.