Contact: Robert Hughes (703) 527-0237
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Attorney General John Ashcroft was urged in a letter from a heritage group to begin court proceedings against a $550,000 per year lobbyist for Cambodian dictator Hun Sen.
John Edward Hurley, president of the Confederate Memorial Association, said that the latest six-month report of lobbyist Richard Hines failed to indicate that Hines had made hard money contributions to several U.S. congressional candidates including $1,000 checks to Senator John Allen of Virginia and Representative Sue Myrick of North Carolina.
Hurley said that the Hines filing with the Justice Department also omitted any reference to the soft money contributions that helped finance a last-minute 250,000-piece mailer in the South Carolina presidential primary that sunk the chances of Senator John McCain and assured that President George W. Bush would get the Republican nomination.
The Justice Department's Campaign Finance Task Force had been investigating the foreign contributions in U.S. elections but former attorney general Janet Reno had concluded in the investigation of the then-vice president Al Gore that a "willful" violation of the law did not exist.
In the Hines case, Hurley said, a Wall Street Journal article of July 11, 2000 had exposed Hines' role with Cambodia and suggested that Hines refusal to discuss the matter with the reporter would not cover up the facts, since Hines was required to file with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Hurley said that these circumstance should overcome the so-called "willful" barrier.
A willful failure to disclose U.S. political contributions by a foreign agent carries a penalty of 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Hurley said that Hines, who has also been the managing editor of the controversial Southern Partisan magazine, had persuaded Charles Hamel, publisher of the magazine, to finance a 13-year lawsuit against the Confederate Memorial Association. Judge William Jackson is the presiding judge in the case which is slated for a jury trial in D.C. Superior Court on Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Monday, Feb. 12.
Judge Jackson has refused to allow the CMA defendants as individuals or through their attorneys to file motions without his prior approval or has he allowed defendants or their counsel to contact his office by telephone. Plaintiffs' attorneys have been permitted to do so, however.
Hurley says that it appears that foreign agents have more influence on the court than an American citizens, especially if the foreign agent can make significant political contributions.
Hurley said that the Justice Department documents had been filed in the D.C. Superior Court but had mysteriously not been docketed. He said they could be seen, however, on his Web site at www.confederate.org.