The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Taylor of North Carolina). Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 7, 1997, the gentleman from California [Mr. Cunningham] is recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Speaker, I do not plan to take the whole time. My colleagues just spoke on the issue of our generation and future generations on taxation, and as important as it is, I feel it is very important that we bring up another subject. That is the subjugation of the United States by a Communist-owned company, and control of.
What I would like to do tonight is talk on the facts. Those facts are based on when I served in the U.S. Navy, I served on 7th Fleet staff and was responsible for all Southeast Asia countries, the defense of, not only in the training exercises, but in the real world threat.
For example, in Team Spirit in Korea, we ran exercises involving our allies in the defense of Korea. That involved our reserves, that involved all of our friendly assets that we had to bear if North Korea came across a line. But at the same time, I had access to some 13 linguists that monitored North Korea's frequencies to give us an idea of real threats.
For example, my last year there, the two Mig 21's came over across the line and defected, and we were responsible for that as well. While at Navy Fighter Weapons School my job was to plan and coordinate not only offensive but defensive impacts and invasions of Southeast Asian countries, so I come tonight with experience and fact. I would like to give those tonight to the Speaker to make his decision, as I hope the American people do.
Cosco is a Communist-owned, Communist Chinese-owned company. Its purpose is ship containers in and out of major ports all over the world. Recently, California has been devastated by the President's defense cuts. We have lost over 1 million jobs. The additional BRACC cuts in base closings and realignments have cost thousands to millions of jobs in the State of California. The people of Long Beach have lost thousands of those jobs, as we did at Kelly Air Force Base, as we did at El Toro and Miramar, and the shifting of different assets.
In that process, the people of Long Beach are looking for help. They have mouths to feed just like anyone else. They have children to send to college. They have been devastated from these cuts in national security in base realignment and closures.
What I plan to show tonight is a direct link between the White House fundraising with China and assets that have gone in favor of Communist China that could pose as a national security threat to the United States. I have intelligence reports that state so. I have facts that also state so, and I would like to make that case this evening.
First, Mr. Speaker, let us look at Long Beach perspective. Again, people have been devastated. They are without jobs, and they need help.
Mr. Speaker, I would say that all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that are opposed to a Chinese Communist company taking over Long Beach Naval Air Station would be more than willing to do everything we can to help Long Beach recover those jobs, but not to a Communist-controlled nation of the Chinese Republic.
Cosco's ships fly flags of the People's Republic of China. The port lease with Cosco will provide Cosco with its own terminal. Major imports from China to Long Beach include toys, sporting goods, footwear, apparel, electrical parts, and machinery.
But Mr. Speaker, that is not all. Last year, it was Cosco that delivered to the State of California 2,000 AK-47's. The company that builds the AK-47's, the company that negotiates the trade of AK-47's around the world, the company Cosco, all set up by the PRC, the People's Republic of China, owns. They do not report to department heads. Their CEO is Communist China, all owned and coordinated and controlled by Communist China. Yet, they delivered over 2,000 AK-47's into our country, with the intent of selling these arms to our inner cities to disrupt, to disrupt our inner cities, and disrupt our political environment within the United States of America.
At the same time, the Clinton White House accepted both Cosco and the gunrunners themselves in a White House coffee. I will later show the direct tie between the $366,000 that was conducted to the DNC by the White House recipients and Chinese investors to allow Cosco to gain this favored status.
Long Beach Naval Shipyard closed as a result, as I said, of the additional base closures and lots of jobs were lost. We have a long way to protect those. I would also like to point out that during the bid to reclaim Long Beach Naval Shipyard, the marines lost a bid for the site to a China Cosco firm, and I quote from the Washington Times:
Several officers in the Marine Corps have raised questions about why the Clinton administration favored turning over a military base in Long Beach, CA to the Chinese ocean shipping company, Cosco, over the protest of marine reserve battalion made homeless by the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Briefings on the firm fail to convince many of its members. The CIA, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Coast Guard reinforced the view that Cosco's strong link with the Chinese Government is a fatal flaw in its proposal to deliver the base to a company.
Mr. Speaker, there is a current report, an updated report from the FBI, that states that Cosco is currently actively involved in placing intelligence officers, spies, in all of their ports of call. That is a national security interest.
Cosco has enjoyed a 15-year access to Long Beach Naval Shipyard. I have no problems with that. My problem comes with Cosco taking over complete control of the 145 acres in which they will control access of
every ship there. Every cargo container that comes off there, they will place it. They will have control of who sees where that cargo goes, where it is stored, what time of night it goes out, and who receives it.
Mr. Speaker, if we give China that opportunity, we are going to see an increase of illegal aliens in which two Cosco ships forced, in the last Congress, two ships owned by Cosco shipped in illegal aliens, the Chinese, it was in the newspapers, along with the AK-47's. At the same time, you remember it was a Cosco ship that plowed into the port recently and nearly devastated the port in another U.S. facility.
We cannot discuss the actual details of that intelligence briefing as it would not be prudent and it was a classified briefing. But I want to mention that two of the representatives that represent, and I understand their needs, they represent the people that are looking for jobs, one of those individuals stated that, and I quote, `All intelligence agencies that briefed us have assured us that Cosco represents no threat to our national security.'
I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, it is an untruth, the fact that the same intelligence briefers, the CIA, the National Security, the Coast Guard, have all stated that no such comment was ever made and ever intended. And as a matter of fact, they were very, very upset at the dear colleague press release.
Why? Because they stated that this is a policy issue for them to discuss, and they would never say that there is a national security interest, nor would they say that there is not.
So I would submit that is not the case and that after careful deliberation of experience that there is a national security interest.
Let me go through some of the facts. The national security of the United States is a responsibility of Congress and the President, not the city of Long Beach.
Cosco has been attendant at Long Beach since 1991. The proposed lease agreement would turn over 145 acres of port property and grant Cosco a much more significant presence at that port, which I have discussed.
Cosco ship, Empress Phoenix, had attempted to smuggle in some 2,000 AK-47's fully automatic assault weapons, the same kinds of weapons, Mr. Speaker, that were used in the bank holdup in Los Angeles that placed our law enforcement agents in great jeopardy, the same companies in port at which we recently found down off the border, M-2 fully automatic weapons going to Mexico to disrupt their elections which are going to take place over the next 90 days and cause anti-American, antireform legislators and affect the elections in Mexico City. That the Chinese regime is not steadily a U.S. ally.
On January 24, 1996, the New York Times reported warnings by the former Ambassador, Charles Freling, quoting a Chinese official that China would intimidate Taiwan because U.S. leaders would care more about Los Angeles than they would Taiwan.
When the U.S. fleet started to go through the straits, when communist China started shelling Taiwan and missile attacks, the Chinese responded as we started to enter our fleet that either we withdraw or the threat of nuclear warfare on the city of Los Angeles.
Now, let's take a look at a Communist-owned and controlled facility in Long Beach Naval Shipyard. Hutchinson Group, also owned by Communist China, recently purchased both ends of the Panama Canal. This would give the Chinese control of the Panama Canal, it would give them control of Long Beach Naval Shipyard, and all of the access to and from and who sees what and where it goes. We feel that this would be a major national security threat.
Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at why economically China would want to do this. There is a study coming out by the military. China's number one import from the United States is wheat.
Why, Mr. Speaker, does not China or other cargo-containing vessels go around the horn instead of using the Panama Canal? Primarily, it has affected seagoers for centuries, the weather is bad and the threat of lost ships.
If they own both ends of the Panama Canal, the major export of wheat out of the United States to China is controlled through Long Beach Naval Shipyard, they could control economically price fixing of all of our exports going out of our major port at Long Beach. And we feel that this is also an economy threat as well as a military security threat.
According to the New York Times, Chinese officials had conveyed an ominous message to Anthony Lake, President Clinton's national security adviser, just weeks earlier: `The possibility that American interference in Beijing efforts to bring Taipei to heel could result in devastating attack on Los Angeles.'
San Diego Union Tribune, March 31, 1996.
Panama Canal, one of the most strategic locations on the globe, has been brought under COSCO's web. Hutchinson Port Holdings Incorporated, a Hong Kong operated, controlled, again by a corporation, by Chinese Communists with direct ties to the Pacific and Atlantic entrances to the Panama Canal and global, syndicated columnist, Georgie Anne Geyer, Universal Press Syndicate, March 26, 1997.
At the same time, Mr. Speaker, we lost the Panama Canal, both ends of it, to Communist China owned companies. We had an American company from Alabama that bid on those same sites. They won the contracts for both of those sites. It was selected by Panama. After selection, after announcement, the Chinese government went in with sacks of cash, much like they did with our government here in the United States, and said, here is $25,000 for you, here is another $25,000 for you. And guess what? That decision was reversed and it went to Chinese Communists instead of a U.S. based firm. Johnny Chung, a Chinese American businessman from California, gave $366,000 to the Democrats, the DNC, that was later returned on suspicion it illegally came from foreign sources. Chung brought 6 Chinese officials to the White House last year to watch President Clinton make his weekly radio address. One of the 6 was the advisor from COSCO who was later given by the President access to Long Beach shipyard and also the actual gun runners that were there in the White House gave money to the DNC.
The chairman of one of these two Chinese arms companies implicated in the scheme to smuggle the 2,000 illegal Chinese-made weapons into Oakland aboard COSCO's ship had coffee in the White House in an affair associated with D.C. fundraising. Officials of the weapons company were indicted for shipping those arms.
I would reiterate, Mr. Speaker, the company that shipped it, the company that made the rifles, the company that were the arms dealers are all owned by a CEO called Communist China. So what if we turn over a port to COSCO, complete control of a Communist Chinese operated state. We will have illegal immigrants come into the United States. We will have an increase of drugs come into the United States. We will have an increase of Chinese intelligence officers within the United States on our borders, and it could prove a devastating national security issue.
On the campaign trail last year and in a White House meeting in 1995, President Clinton endorsed the proposal to transfer land of the Long Beach Naval shipyard to COSCO, but it was this March, 1995, the White House radio address that had critics talking. A COSCO advisor was among the Chinese businessmen invited to hear the President in the oval office just two days after a California businessman, Johnny Chung, made a $50,000 donation to the DNC and hand-delivered it to Mrs. Clinton's chief of staff Margaret Williams, CBS Evening News, March 11, 1997.
Shortly after the Long Beach Naval shipyard land transfer was arranged, the Clinton administration helped arrange, listen to this, Mr. Speaker, in the President's budget that he submitted, he gave free, no strings, gave to Communist China $50 million to burn a coal burning plant, after these meetings and after these DNC fund-raisers from the Chinese. He can cut impact aid for education, but he can also give $50 million to Communist China in the name of trade and just give it. That is not fair trade.
He also gave a multimillion dollar loan to build 5 Communist Chinese ships, COSCO ships, in a nonrecourse loan. What that means, Mr. Speaker, this is a loan of some $137 million, which may not be much to many Members around this body, but you ask the American people, $137 million of their taxpayers' dollars back up a nonrecourse loan to Communist China, a state-controlled company by Communist China, and if they forfeit, who is left holding the bag? The United States taxpayers. Our own ship builders do not have access to this type of loan, Mr. Speaker. Incredible. But yet the administration gives Communist China.
Over the past year a COSCO ship plowed into New Orleans boardwalk injuring 116 people and 6 COSCO ships were denied or detailed for violating international safety regulations by our Coast Guard. This is since January, COSCO has violated by the Coast Guard and had 6 violations since January and declared as an unsafe company, not only for plowing into the pier at New Orleans and devastating that pier, causing millions of dollars in injuries, but for the other violations as well.
COSCO was fined for paying kickbacks to shippers instead of abiding by tariffs. This is, again, a Chinese-operated company that was cited for giving kickbacks, payoffs for access.
We want to make it clear that we do not mean any ill will toward the people of Long Beach. As a matter of fact, we will do everything we can to restore the jobs that they lost in the BRACC closures and defense cuts. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle that are opposed to COSCO taking over this port will do that and do so vigorously.
COSCO's track record, if they were a company owned by some of our greatest allies, Great Britain or others, I would not want them in my backyard for the violations. But I would say this, if they want to stay as a tenant of Long Beach and not have total control and access of a former national security base, most of us would support that, Mr. Speaker.
Our problem, again, is giving them total access to a security base that controls entry of illegals, of drugs, of illegal arms and intelligence officers and could pose an economic and national security threat.
Mr. Speaker, President Clinton took a personal role in promoting the interests of COSCO. At the same time he was cutting over 100 warships from the U.S. fleet, drawn up by the Bush administration, a 23 percent cut. The symbolism could not be anymore stark.
Richard Fisher, senior policy analyst with the Asian Studies Center of the Heritage Foundation, noted the real security concerns of Long Beach Steel in a Washington Times column on April 13. His main point is given below.
If it so desires, the Chinese leadership can direct that COSCO assets be put at the disposal of the People's Liberation Army, the PLA, or the main espionage organ, the Ministry of State Security, the MSS. Do we really want a subsidiary of the People's Republic of China, a future superpower, to have such large presence at a port on our own coast, one of the only two West Coast ports with a dry dock large enough to repair our aircraft carriers?
Mr. Speaker, I would say that we do not. It is one of the reasons that the gentleman from California [Mr. Duncan Hunter] and I offered a bill to stop this takeover by a Communist power of U.S. territory.
The Clinton administration, and I would like to go through this step by step, it is not enough that there is a national security interest, but the Clinton administration and the China connection is very complicated. Unless you go step by step through it on how the various pieces seem to fit together, it is difficult to draw any special direction.
Webster Hubbell, John Huang, Johnny Chung, Charles Yah Lin Trie will be discussed. The other incidences of Roger Tamraz, a felon, Susan McDougal, White House and DNC Immigration and Naturalization Service, Arapaho Indian Tribe, Oklahoma fundraising--all of these I will not discuss, Mr. Speaker, because they do not have a direct tie, although indirectly, to the Chinese taking over a shipyard in Long Beach. I would like to go through and show how devastating the empirical indictment of a conflict of interest between the White House and Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
Let me first start with a family called the Riady family. The Riady family is based in Indonesia, controls a $12 billion financial empire operating under the umbrella of the Lippo Group. The family patriarch, one son, Stephen Riady has served as Lippo chairman since 1991. James Riady lived in Arkansas in the 1980's and there came to know then Governor Bill Clinton. The Riady family has an unusually big stake in maintaining most-favored-nation status for China since Lippo maintains enormous investments in Hong Kong, which is also the company that Mr. McDougal worked at.
The China connection. A Justice Department investigation into improper political fundraising activities has uncovered evidence that representatives of the People's Republic of China sought direct contributions from foreign sources to the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, before the 1996 Presidential election.
Mr. Speaker, our intelligence--the FBI and CIA--warned Janet Reno directly that China was attempting to influence the White House in policy decisions through campaign finance reports, much like they did in the port that we just talked about, by giving cash donations.
The Justice Department task force has discovered that in early 1995, Chinese representatives developed a plan to spend nearly $2 million to buy influence in Congress, this body, and the Clinton administration, and investigators are apparently trying to determine if any of that money was received by John Huang, Charlie Trie, among others. So the FBI has given us warning and the CIA that the Chinese are trying to influence our Government to make decisions in their favor. And then the Clinton administration gives them a $50 million coal burning plant, gives them a $127 to $137 million loan to build Chinese Communist ships. Then they give them access to Long Beach Naval Shipyard and complete control of it. We think that there is a direct problem.
John Huang, the Commerce Department and Lippo. John Huang, with no background check, with no background check, received top-level security clearance for work at the Commerce Department while still working for Lippo. This, despite Mr. Huang's ties to a Lippo bank that was ordered to cease and desist money laundering and despite Lippo commercial ties to China and its intelligence services, was granted access to top level intelligence services within the White House.
President Clinton attended a September 13, 1995, White House meeting with John Huang, James Riady of Lippo Bank, Bruce Lindsey, and C. Joseph Giroir, the lawyer who hired then-Governor Clinton's wife, Hillary Clinton, to the Rose Law Firm and who is now doing Riady business in China.
It was at that meeting that the transfer of Huang from the Department of Commerce to the DNC was arranged. A January 13, 1997, letter from the Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor says that Mr. Huang got a weekly intelligence briefing centered on the People's Republic of China and the materials related to those briefings were under the control of the CIA. And again there was no security clearance whatsoever, although they were warned, the administration, that this man had ties to Communist China.
Senior White House aides learned that Commerce Department officials had concerns about John Huang in mid-1995, several months before the White House helped place him in a sensitive fund-raising job in the DNC, the Democratic National Committee. People at the Commerce Department itself described Mr. Huang as `bad news.'
According to several people familiar with the matter, officials at the Department were worried that Mr. Huang's government work posed a conflict with his past employment with Lippo and direct ties with Communist China.
In his second week on the job at the Commerce Department, Mr. Huang and Webster Hubbell, who has recently been in the news and who was then employed by Lippo, met for lunch in Washington. At the time, according to the internal White House documents, administration officials were monitoring Mr. Hubbell's cooperation with the Whitewater independent counsel. That evening, Mr. Huang joined Mr. Riady and Mr. Clinton at the President's birthday party.
It is no secret that these were some of the individuals that gave Mr. Hubbell over $500,000, quote, as a friend.
John Huang received 37 CIA-documented intelligence briefings at the Commerce Department, saw more than two dozen intelligence reports, and made over 70 phone calls to a Lippo-controlled bank in Los Angeles, his former employer.
Mr. Huang's message slips from the Commerce Department also showed calls from one Chinese Embassy official in February 1995 and three calls from the Embassy's commercial minister in June and August of that year.
Mr. Huang's desk calendar entries had three meetings scheduled with Chinese Government officials. He attended policy breakfasts at the Chinese Embassy in October 1995 and visited the Indonesian Embassy on October 11, 1995.
In March, President Clinton, after this meeting in Indonesia by Mr. Huang, in March 1996, President Clinton reversed a key administrative policy on immigration following a $1.1 million Asian fund-raising dinner, the most successful Asian-American political fund-raiser in United States history. Held the previous month and organized by, who else? John Huang, a former employee of Lippo.
President Clinton had previously opposed the practice of allowing foreign-born siblings of naturalized U.S. citizens to come to the United States, based on recommendations of a commission he appointed himself, and affirmed his desire to halt immigration in an early 1996 letter to the Speaker of the House.
But in March 1996, President Clinton made a last-minute about-face, after the Indonesian meeting with Mr. Huang and after the fund-raising of $1.1 million, and reversed his position and put top priority recommendations made in a strongly worded John Huang memorandum to Bill Clinton. And then, and now former, Senator Alan Simpson said: I never in 18 years in Congress, and I quote, saw an issue that shifted so fast and so hard.
After receiving $1.1 million from Indonesia, Mr. Huang began aggressively arguing for U.S. trade policy toward Vietnam only 1 day after joining the Commerce Department, and again with no security clearances whatsoever or background check, in July 1994, and pushed the idea for the next 17 months when Lippo Group sought to expand its investment empire into Vietnam itself. He also attended interagency meetings of an Indonesian working group. The next month, a United States trade mission to China resulted in a $1 billion power plant that Lippo would finance and benefit from. This is at the same time when the President agreed to give Communist China $50 million for a Chinese coal-burning plant.
In 1992, Candidate Clinton described as unconscionable Indonesia's treatment of the East Timorese, 200,000 of whom had perished since Indonesia had annexed East Timor 20 years ago. The administration even supported the United Nations resolution criticizing Indonesia's East Timor policy. Around the same time, Mark Grobymer, an Arkansas lawyer who golfs with Mr. Clinton, joined Mr. Huang and Mr. Riady on a trip to East Timor. In April the three men visited Mr. Clinton, and, guess what? The President reversed his position. Human rights activists claimed the administration's concern for Timor would be looked into.
John Huang helped raise $425,000 from an Indonesian couple whose primary bread earner was as a landscaper. When it was looked into, and that checks were made concurrently by the same source and it was brought up to the press, the DNC returned the money.
John H. K. Lee, of Cheong Am America, United States subsidiary of a South Korea company, gave $250,000 in illegal contributions to the DNC following a private meeting with President Clinton, and arranged by guess who? John Huang. The money was returned following a press story.
Mr. Speaker, what I am trying to show is that there was a direct link between fund-raising of foreign powers and the takeover of a national security base, Long Beach Naval Shipyard, by the Communist Chinese. And that if we allow this to happen, that in the interest of national security and economic security, that this administration has sold itself out to fund-raising interests from overseas.
On March 9, 1995, Margaret Williams, Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton, accepted a $50,000 donation to the Democratic party from Johnny Chung, a California businessman who emerged as a central figure of the Justice Department and congressional investigations into Democratic fund-raising. Mr. Chung made a $50,000 donation to Democrats the same week as he escorted COSCO and also the gun runners that were there at the White House, a $50,000 donation to the DNC from these groups.
After that visit, President Clinton told his aides that he was not sure we want photos of him made with these people circulating around, end quote.
Mr. Chung told Mrs. Williams earlier in the administration that he wanted to give money to the Clintons personally, sought to exploit his contributions to excess commercial gain. Associates of Mr. Chung have said that he used his political access to submit business deals with investors from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, bringing them to the White House events for fund-raisers.
National security warnings ignored: Robert L. Suetting, a Chinese specialist on National Security Council, warned that Mr. Chung was quote a hustler who appeared to be involved in setting up some kind of
consulting operation that will thrive by bringing Chinese entrepreneurs into the town for exposure to high level United States officials, that is, COSCO.
Three months later Mr. Suetting expressed concern to Anthony Lake, who was at the time President Clinton's national security adviser, after the White House learned that Mr. Chung was leaving for China and planned to get involved in the sensitive case of imprisoned Chinese dissident Harry Wu.
Mr. Chung visited the White House 51 times, records show. Twenty-one of these times he was cleared for entry by the office of the First Lady. Mr. Chung made 17 visits to the White House after the April 1995 Committee on National Security memorandums identify him as a hustler and urged caution, and 8 visits after the second warning memorandum was sent to the NSC, Director Anthony Lake, in July 1995.
In March 1997, in her first extensive public remarks about the DNC fundraising controversy, the First Lady said she did not know why Johnny Chung had as much access and was spending so much time around her staff offices in the executive office building, but yet 21 of the 51 times it was the First Lady's office that granted direct access to Mr. Chung.
In March 1996, Charlie Trie, a Little Rock restaurateur and long-time friend of President Clinton, presented Michael H. Cardozo, executive director of the Presidential Legal Expense Trust, a defense fund set up for President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton to help pay their legal bills, with two manila envelopes containing checks and money orders for more than $450,000.
The fund returned about 70,000 immediately but deposited $378,300. Two months later, after the fund ordered an investigation, the rest of the money is returned. The investigation found that some of the money came from sequentially numbered money orders, supposedly from different people in different cities, and apparently signed in the same handwriting. And guess what? It was done by Mr. Trie and Mr. Huang again.
According to a defense fund trustee, Harold Ickes and Hillary Clinton had knowledge of the corrupt money and did nothing to stop the flow of it until newspaper columns and stories triggered Ickes' tip-off to the DNC that maybe Trie's fundraising would be linked to John Huang and James Riady and, yes, Mr. McDougal.
A Justice Department FBI task force investigating allegations that China may have directed contributions to the DNC, charges that the Chinese Government denies, is focusing on a series of substantial wire transfers in 1995-96 from a bank operated by the Chinese Government. The transfer, made from the New York office of the Bank of China, and usually made in increments of $50,000 and $100,000, came at a time when Mr. Trie was directing large donations, again to the DNC.
The Democratic National Committee has returned $187,000 that Mr. Trie personally contributed and plans to return another $458,000 he helped raise from others. The DNC said the donations appear to have foreign sources, which would make them illegal, and they returned them.
Some of the donors invited to the White House who participated in events with the President include: Mr. Russ Barakat, a south Florida Democrat party official who, 5 days after attending a White House coffee session in April 1995, was indicted on criminal charges and ultimately convicted of tax evasion.
A Florida newspaper was full of the stories about Mr. Barakat's problems with the law before the executive mansion get-together.
Mr. Wang Jun a Chinese businessman and the head of a military-owned arms company, while a part of the United States Government, was out investigating Wang Jun for allegedly smuggling in arms to this country, that is, 2,000 AK-47's. He was with Mr. Clinton at a White House coffee courtesy of Charlie Trie.
I will not speak about Eric Wynn because there is no tie.
Chong Lo, convicted of tax evasion in 1980 under the name of Esther Chu, who was another visitor at the coffee of the White House Clintons, has since been arrested again on 14 charges of falsifying mortgage applications, to which she had pleaded not guilty at the time.
In March 1997, Mr. Speaker, former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta acknowledged that the 1996 Clinton reelection committee played a role in the spending of some $35 million to $40 million in soft money contributions on campaign commercials. Mr. Panetta's comments marked the first time that a member of Mr. Clinton's inner circle publicly stated that the President's reelection campaign helped direct the spending of these funds.
When asked if it was illegal for the Clinton campaign to use soft money, Mr. Panetta replied it was not because the money was spent as a part of overall Democratic strategy in confronting the Republican Congress.
The key witnesses in the Democratic fundraising probe, Webster Hubbell, John Huang, and former White House aide Mark Middleton have reportedly invoked their fifth amendment rights and refused to turn over subpoenaed papers to the White House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, although in recent developments in the news, Mr. Hubbell has been forthcoming.
The Democratic National Committee has said it will return $3 million in illegal, improper or suspicious donations including $1.6 million raised by Mr. Huang, $645,000 raised by Charlie Trie and $366,000 raised by Johnny Chung.
What I would say, Mr. Speaker, is we need to take a look. Is there a conflict of interest between payments to the DNC, to the White House, and to the takeover of a Communist-controlled COSCO in Long Beach Naval Shipyard, a company again that shipped in AK-47's, a company that is owned by Communist China. Another company that actually made the arms, owned by Communist China. Another company that directs the sales of those and delivery of those arms owned by Communist China. All three corporations, their CEO is Communist China. And what future developments could we have by Communist China completely controlling and having access to Long Beach Naval Shipyard?
Again if they want to have a right to port there like they have over the 15 years, we have no problem with that. Our problem is it gives them complete control of the 145 acres and access, and where things go.
Mr. Speaker, we are opposed to the takeover of Long Beach Shipyard by a Communist Chinese power. Recently Communist China has increased its military spending by over 30 percent in one year. They recently purchased 250 SU-27's which outclass, nonparity, our F-15 Strike Eagles and our F-14-D's. Their AA-10, AA-11 and 12 missiles that they bought from Russia outclass our AMRAAM to where we do not have parity, even with those fighters.
Russia has currently a follow-on to that, the SU-35. Communist China and COSCO have illegally shipped nuclear weapons to all of our former enemies, including Iraq, Iran, and Syria. They have been cited for shipping chemical and biological weapons to Iran, Iraq, and Syria. That, with the threat to the United States that if we got involved with one of their holdings, Taiwan, that they would threaten us with nuclear retaliation on the city of Los Angeles, is that a country that we want to have control and access to our port? I say no, Mr. Speaker.
I believe in China, and I believe in trade, that it is hard to change a 10,000-year-old dog, and I think we need to get involved in investment with China. But currently we have one of the largest deficits, trading deficits with any other Nation with China. When we talk about trade, we need to talk about fair trade. We do not want access of Chinese-controlled government, we do not want them to slap us in the face with the threat of Taiwan. I think under Republican and Democratic administrations, Mr. Speaker, that our weak link is our State Department. I think our new successor in that department is probably the absolute best person we could have. She is tough, she is tough on negotiations, and I think she will stand up for our workers' rights over trade with China. But it has not happened in the past. And Madeleine Albright, I think if anybody can do it in the administration, she can, and I support that, because she is tough and that is what we need for a change in our trade negotiations. I supported NAFTA and I supported GATT, but yet our administration now and under Republican administrations in many of my colleagues' opinion has not stood up for our workers. Yes, we do need to trade with China. We do need to trade with other countries. But not when they keep slapping us in the face, and currently and in the future pose a national security threat to this country.
Mr. Speaker, all these facts are documented in newspaper articles.