Despite still no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump or his campaign and Russians in the 2016 election, one of the most serious cases of foreign intervention in a U.S. election actually occurred on behalf of the Clintons.
Not for Hillary Rodham Clinton, the failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, but Bill Clinton–her husband, and the former U.S. president. The mention of the name James Riady recalls what is easily the most serious case of foreign meddling in American politics, something that linked Clinton himself right into the mess connecting him shoulders-deep to Chinese Communists.
Riady is an Indonesian billionaire with deep connection to China’s Communist Party and who sought to normalize relations with Vietnam was almost single-handedly responsible for the Clinton family’s most significant financial boost in their political careers.
It was the mother of all foreign interference stories and always lurking in the shadows was the hand of the Communist government in China.
Their bond gains significance in the current news cycle because of the clear, illicit fiscal ties between the two, compared to the lack of evidence in the Russia story.
In fact, nothing brought up in connection to the charges of Russian interference compares to the wrongdoing the ringleader James Riady confessed to.
Riady ran the most serious case of campaign finance fraud in the history of the United States and foreign meddling in American politics.
The Washington Post noted that court documents indicate Riady and Bill Clinton met in 1978 while Riady spent four months in Little Rock, where the Lippo Group bought a local bank.
In the summer of 1992, the year before Bill Clinton was elected as president, James Riady was spotted riding in the back of a limousine with him in Arkansas. The Times noted that it was during that meeting that Riady promised then-Governor Clinton $1 million for his campaign. United States Justice Department of Justice (DOJ) documents revealed that over the next few years, Riady would reportedly use strawmen and Buddhist nuns to funnel money into the Democratic National Committee and into the Clinton Foundation.
Two weeks before the Clintons left the White House in January 2001, United States Justice Department (DOJ) settled with Riady with a plea bargain agreement that included more than 80 misdemeanor charges, but no felonies, thus sparing the Indonesian billionaire time in federal prison.
In 2001, the DOJ’s Campaign Financing Task Force and the United States Attorney in Los Angeles announced that Riady was ordered to pay “the biggest penalty in the history of U.S. campaign finance violations,” a whopping $8.6 million in criminal fines. He also pled “guilty to a felony charge of conspiring to defraud the United States by unlawfully reimbursing campaign donors with foreign corporate funds in violation of federal election law” and agreed not to visit the U.S. for at least two years.
The DOJ noted that “Between May 1990 and June 1994, Riady and Huang conspired to obstruct the Federal Election Commission by surreptitiously reimbursing political campaign contributions with funds often obtained from foreign individuals and entities which were prohibited sources under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), and in violation of the dollar limitations established by the FECA.”
Huang, was a Glendale resident and onetime official of Lippo California. He was also a former Democratic fundraiser.
For eight years, President George W. Bush blocked Riady from entering the U.S. and even kept him from receiving an honorary degree from a Christian college in Arkansas in 2004.
Riady was allowed back into the U.S. after Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009.
It was during that same year that Riady reportedly made two trips to the United States to attend “family graduation ceremonies” of his son John and daughter Stephanie. According to the Post, Riady “said he hadn’t seen the Clintons during his 2009 trips to America but did pay $20,000 to become a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual gathering of prominent figures in politics, business and philanthropy sponsored by Bill Clinton.”
Despite Riady saying he hadn’t met with the Clintons due to lack of time, The Post also reported that “A senior State Department official said Hillary Clinton had no knowledge of the decision to let Riady enter the United States.”
The financial statement attached to an email, released by Wikileaks from the Clinton Foundation, dated December 2012 indicated that Riady was funding a “retrofit program in Indonesia” with the Clinton Foundation’s Asia Climate Group.
The book “A Woman In Charge,” which is about the life of Hillary Clinton, noted that Riady “had made a $200,000 contribution to the Clinton campaign after a limousine ride with Bill, and ad big bundler of campaign cash who was associated with Lippo, John Huang, was appointed to a major position in the commerce department.”
According to the DOJ, in 2000, David Chang, a member of former Democrat Senator Robert Torricelli’s Campaign Finance Committee, “plead guilty to violating federal election law by making illegal contributions to the 1996 campaign of Senator Robert Torricelli” as did New Jersey businessman Cha-Keuk Koo who “admitted to assisting David Chang in making conduit contributions using Koo’s employees at LG Group, Executive Office of the Americas.”
The DOJ noted that several months prior, “a federal grand jury indicted two Buddhist nuns, Venerables Yi Chu and Man Ho, with contempt of court for failing to appear as witnesses in the government’s criminal trial against Maria Hsia. Yi Chu and Man Ho remain fugitives.” The connection to Riady here links back to John Huang. whose most prominent fundraisers involved Maria Hsia, former Vice President Al Gore and the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in California.
The DOJ file also states that in 1998, “Howard Glicken, a fund-raiser for the Democratic Party, was sentenced to 18 months probation, an $80,000 fine, and ordered to perform 500 hours of community service for violating campaign finance laws.” That same year, “Democratic fund-raiser Mark B. Jimenez was indicted in Washington, D.C. on 17 counts of organizing, making and concealing illegal conduit contributions to a number of Democratic campaign, including the Torricelli campaign.”
The year before, “the Task Force obtained guilty pleas from Democratic fund-raisers Nora and Gene Lum, and their daughter Trisha, and Michael Brown for illegal fund-raising activities.”
The sole reference to the Republican Party was to Berek Don, who the DOJ described as a “former GOP party leader in Bergen County, NJ,” who in 2000 “pleaded guilty to another conduit contribution scheme to the Senator Torricelli campaign.”
As part of his plea agreement, Riady promised to stay out of the United States for at least two years. On its own, the Bush administration denied Riady permission to come back to America for its full eight years.
However, in 2009, with a new administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton back in power, Riady began visiting the United States again, places like Arkansas, New York and Boston.
There is no evidence showing Clinton had her hand in Riady’s return to our shores, but we did learn from WikiLeaks that Riady made significant donations to the Clinton Foundation the Clinton Global Initiative—which never hurt anyone seeking help from the Clinton’s State Department.
The Washington Post also noted that “former Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung told a congressional committee yesterday that he received $300,000 from a Chinese general interested in influencing the 1996 presidential election” but that he insisted that he “never acted as an agent for the Chinese government.”
NBC News reported that “Chung gave $10,000 to Kerry’s campaign — most of it illegally — hosted a fund-raising party in Beverly Hills, and threw in an extra $10,000 to honor Kerry at a Democratic Senate Campaign Committee event. Kerry eventually returned all the Chung money.”
NBC further notes, “In return, Kerry reportedly ‘opened a door for a friend of Chung: Liu Chaoying;'” a lieutenant colonel in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China who “became president of China Aerospace Industrial Holdings Ltd. and she made illegal campaign contributions to the Clinton Gore ticket and John Kerry in 1996.”
The Chinese have also had a long history of influencing both the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Breitbart reported that the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) wrote in a 2012 report:
[T]he Justice Department investigated whether the Chinese government “sought to direct contributions from foreign sources to the Democratic National Committee before the 1996 presidential campaign,” and another investigation determined “top” Chinese officials approved plans to “attempt to buy influence with American politicians.”
Breitbart also reported that in 1991, then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin allegedly told Katrina Leung, a California-based Chinese double agent, codenamed the “Parlour Maid”, to “become a major contributor to the Republican Party” because “we don’t know if a new president would be as friendly as Bush.”
Leung, 50, was trying to procure western military secrets. NBC reported that Leung is charged with taking classified documents from former FBI agent James J. Smith’s briefcase, “although she has not been accused of relaying that information to China.”
Smith was originally charged with gross negligence for allegedly allowing Leung access to classified materials and with mail fraud for allegedly filing false reports to FBI headquarters about her reliability. He faced 40 years in prison if convicted of those charges. The charge to which he pleaded was added in a superseding indictment in February.