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The sham of the Thompson committee hearings

I’m glad Sen. Fred Thompson and company packed up their microphones and gavels and called an end to their sham campaign fund-raising hearings. If Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr would only follow suit with his Whitewater investigation, at least the American people would understand what Vice President Al Gore meant when he said there was “no controlling legal authority” to hold the executive branch accountable for its crimes.

We’re on our own, folks. The inmates are truly running the asylum. Don’t look to this government to topple itself. It’s not going to happen.

The problem with the Thompson committee from the beginning was that it would never focus attention on the fundamental issue raised by the 1996 election — that foreign money, mostly from China, sought to influence the outcome.

An excellent investigative report by National Empowerment Television, “Red Gold Rising,” pointed out that this was not the first U.S. election a hostile foreign power attempted to buy.

Professor Gerhard Weinberg, a historian from the University of North Carolina, has uncovered Nazi documents showing the Germans funneled money into the 1940 presidential campaign in an attempt to defeat Franklin D. Roosevelt and, thus, keep America out of the European war. For instance, Weinberg points out, the Pennsylvania delegation to the Democratic National Convention received $160,000 to vote against Roosevelt. Imagine what $160,000 would buy in 1940.

The reason for the German “investment” was obvious, says Weinberg.

“They were planning to go to war with the United States and they preferred to do it at a time of their choosing,” he said.

The Germans failed to elect their man in Washington. Only a year later, the U.S. was at war with Germany. That may be where the historic parallels end, because in 1996 the Chinese got exactly the results they sought.

The German money went through an elaborate laundering operation involving some of the same Swiss banks the Chinese use today. But, whereas the Germans used funds plundered from the Jews and the invasion of neighboring nations, the Chinese are doing Lenin one better — hanging us with rope stolen right here in the United States.

While Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, he sponsored a law in the Legislature giving the state teachers retirement fund wide latitude in the way it invested pension funds. Subsequently, those funds were invested in the Chinese company Norinco, which manufactures AK-47s for the People’s Liberation Army, and COSCO, a Chinese shipping company that attempted to smuggle those weapons into the United States.

Despite ongoing investigations of COSCO’s role in the weapons smuggling and its cozy relationship with the Chinese military, the Clinton administration is pushing a plan to lease a former Navy base in Long Beach, Calif., to the company. Congress has abdicated its oversight role in the matter and will allow Clinton to make the final determination as to whether the company poses a security threat to the United States.

The shady investments of the Arkansas teachers’ pension funds in the 1980s were nearly exposed back in 1985 when the Little Rock-based Worthen Bank, secretly holding $52 million of the funds, became insolvent.

But guess who came to the rescue? Mochtar and James Riady.

According to investigative reporter James Ring Adams, who has been looking into Clinton’s misuse of Arkansas state pension funds since 1992, Mochtar Riady told investment banker Jack Stevens, Clinton “is a fellow who could go all the way. We want to keep up our investment in him.”

The Riadys, Indonesians in business with the Chinese, are key figures in the campaign fund-raising investigation. One of their companies, China Resources, also received Arkansas pension funds.

But the pension funds are small potatoes compared with the favors the Clinton administration is offering its Chinese benefactors these days — the COSCO deal, the sale of nuclear technology and a promise by Clinton to keep the U.S. from “interfering” in its relationship with Taiwan.

The Thompson committee kept looking under rocks for some quid pro quo for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in mysterious Asian money that flowed into the Clinton and Democratic National Committee coffers in 1996. At the very moment Congress is folding its investigative tent, those payoffs are being realized in spades — not under rocks, but right out in the open.