Two Democratic Fund-Raisers Plead Guilty to Conspiracy: Lums Arranged to Pass $50,000 to Kennedy, Oklahoma Candidate
Seper, Jerry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Two key Democratic fund-raisers pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy in a scheme to funnel money to the Democratic Party and agreed to cooperate in a Justice Department probe of campaign-finance abuses.
Nora T. Lum and her husband, Gene, told U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina they arranged to pass $50,000 through "straw donors" to the campaigns of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and W. Stuart Price, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the House in Oklahoma.
In a deal with prosecutors, each pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiring to defraud the United States and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. It was the first prosecution in the Justice Department's criminal probe of campaign abuses.
Mr. Kennedy, who returned several donations from the Lums after news reports named them in the campaign-finance scandal, and Mr. Price were unaware the Lums were the source of the donations.
Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 9. Each faces five years in prison and fines totaling $250,000. Prosecutors said in court papers they would seek reduced sentences if the Lums provide "substantial cooperation" in their ongoing probe.
Their daughter, Trisha, 27, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of serving as an illegal conduit for her mother for a $10,000 donation to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She faces up to a year in jail.
Mrs. Lum, a confidante of Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown's, and her husband were among party loyalists who sought Commerce Department access to further their business interests in exchange for campaign donations to Democrats. Miss Lum was a Commerce employee.
Mrs. Lum, 54, who has visited the White House several times, was chief operating officer of Dynamic Energy Resources Inc., a Tulsa, Okla., pipeline company. Her husband, 57, served as a company director.
As executive director of the Asian Pacific Advisory Council (APAC), which sought donations from Asian-Americans for President Clinton's 1992 campaign, she also was a confidante to John Huang - former Commerce official, Democratic National Committee fund-raiser and Lippo Group executive at the heart of the government's campaign-finance probe. …