Consorting with the Chi-coms

Consorting with the Chi-coms

by digby

There was a time, not long ago, when Republicans aggressively accused Democrats of being in cahoots with the Chi-coms, and the press ran around like puppies scarfing every scandalous morsel without even stopping to look at it. Here's one:

Johnny Chung, a struggling businessman whose eager giving to national Democratic candidates turned him into a leading figure in the investigation of campaign finance abuses, was charged here today with four counts of bank fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy and will plead guilty and cooperate with the authorities.

Mr. Chung is the fourth person in five weeks to be prosecuted by the Justice Department. On Jan. 28 a former restaurateur in Little Rock, Ark., and good friend of President Clinton, Yah Lin (Charlie) Trie, was charged in a 15-count indictment with obstruction of justice and other crimes related to fund-raising. Antonio Pan, a Democratic fund-raiser, was also charged in the indictment. Maria Hsia, a Democratic fund-raiser from Los Angeles, was indicted on Feb. 18 on charges of laundering campaign donations.

Mr. Chung is scheduled to enter his guilty plea on Monday morning in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, a few miles from a 1995 Clinton/ Gore '96 fund-raising event in a Century City hotel where Federal officials said he used phony or ''conduit'' contributors to illegally give the campaign $20,000, $19,000 more than permitted for one person under the Federal Election Campaign Act, according to the charges filed today.

The wingnut fever swamp managed to convince a good portion of the public that this was good evidence that Bill Clinton was a Chinese agent --- and the press was so hysterical by that point that they seemed to believe it too.

Imagine if now were then, and this donor was a Democrat:

A decade ago gambling magnate and leading Republican donor Sheldon Adelson looked at a desolate spit of land in Macau and imagined a glittering strip of casinos, hotels and malls.

Where competitors saw obstacles, including Macau’s hostility to outsiders and historic links to Chinese organized crime, Adelson envisaged a chance to make billions.

Adelson pushed his chips to the center of the table, keeping his nerve even as his company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in late 2008.

The Macau bet paid off, propelling Adelson into the ranks of the mega-rich and underwriting his role as the largest Republican donor in the 2012 campaign, providing tens of millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other GOP causes.

Now, some of the methods Adelson used in Macau to save his company and help build a personal fortune estimated at $25 billion have come under expanding scrutiny by federal and Nevada investigators, according to people familiar with both inquiries.

Internal email and company documents, disclosed here for the first time, show that Adelson instructed a top executive to pay about $700,000 in legal fees to Leonel Alves, a Macau legislator whose firm was serving as an outside counsel to Las Vegas Sands.

The company’s general counsel and an outside law firm warned that the arrangement could violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is unknown whether Adelson was aware of these warnings. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bars American companies from paying foreign officials to “affect or influence any act or decision” for business gain.

Federal investigators are looking at whether the payments violate the statute because of Alves’ government and political roles in Macau, people familiar with the inquiry said. Investigators were also said to be separately examining whether the company made any other payments to officials. An email by Alves to a senior company official, disclosed by The Wall Street Journal, quotes him as saying “someone high ranking in Beijing” had offered to resolve two vexing issues — a lawsuit by a Taiwanese businessman and Las Vegas Sands’ request for permission to sell luxury apartments in Macau. Another email from Alves said the problems could be solved for a payment of $300 million. There is no evidence the offer was accepted. Both issues remain unresolved.

That's from a Frontline Investigation and there's so much intrigue, corruption and vast amounts of money it sounds like it has to be fiction. I urge you to read the whole thing --- and then contemplate how we can possible have a democracy when people like this are allowed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the government. The scope of the corruption is mind-boggling.

Meanwhile, here's Sarah Silverman doing her part to make a difference. (WARNING: NSFW)