Lest We Forget, Chinagate, the Worst Scandal in U.S. History


Chinagate was a Clinton campaign finance scandal and Chinese influence operation. It was the worst scandal in U.S. history.

The “Chinagate” fundraising scandal plagued the 1996 Bill Clinton-Al Gore campaign. Chinagate aka Commercegate is the most serious scandal in U.S. history. At least it was until now. It involves the transfer of America’s most sensitive technology, including but not limited to nuclear missile and satellite technology, apparently in exchange for millions of dollars in contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election effort and the Democratic National Committee.

The scandal included an apparent scheme by the Clinton administration to sell seats on taxpayer-funded trade missions in exchange for campaign contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign.

A fundraiser collecting funds illegally for the Clintons — Johnny Chung, who was involved in the Chinagate fundraising, made a secret tape because he feared being assassinated over what he knew and had agreed to testify. He used the tape to reveal the Democrats’ bid to silence him.

The Daily Mail obtained a video in which the convicted Clinton illegal fundraiser Johnny Chung gave secret testimony while in fear for his life.

Chung was accused of giving over $300,000 to the Democratic National Committee on behalf of the head of China’s military intelligence agency during Clinton’s reelection bid.

The Chinese-American was convicted of funneling money to Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid in a breach of campaign finance law — Chinagate.

The Chinagate scandal was the worst scandal in U.S. History.


Chung spilled the beans because he thought he would be murdered. His FBI protection detail was suddenly removed a few days before he was scheduled to testify before a grand jury, which Chung said shocked even the judge. That’s when he made the video with a friend.

He didn’t want to end up dead like Ron Brown, Clinton’s commerce secretary.

Nolanda Hill, a business partner and confidante of the Clinton then-Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, testified in a court hearing during the litigation that the Clinton White House told Brown to “delay the [Judicial Watch] case by withholding the production of documents prior to the 1996 elections and to devise a way not to comply with the court’s orders.”

She also testified that Brown, who died in a plane crash during a trade mission to Bosnia, told her that Hillary conceived of the scheme to sell trade mission seats. Brown complained of  being “Hillary’s blankety-blank tour guide.”

Mr. Chung also claimed Democrats pressured him to stay silent about his dealings with the Clintons and said the FBI tried to enlist him in a sting against a top Chinese general at a Los Angeles airport.

Chung cooperated with the Department of Justice during the investigation, and was sentenced to five years of probation for campaign finance violations, bank fraud and tax evasion in 1998.

The video was obtained by author and historian Doug Wead for his new book Game of Thorns, which traces Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 campaign and the Chinese government’s long-running operation to buy political influence in Washington.


Judicial Watch began an investigation, and Clinton administration officials deliberately concealed and destroyed records regarding the trade mission. Testimony was falsified.

Judicial Watch brought the case on behalf of the shareholders of Loral Space & Communications Ltd. They transferred sensitive US missile technology to China in the 1990s. The CEO Bernard Schwartz gave $1.5 million to various Democratic Party entities,, including Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign.

At the same time, Schwartz and Loral convinced the Clinton Administration to transfer technology export licensing authority from the State Department to the more politically-influenced Commerce Department. Schwartz and Loral then obtained licenses from the Commerce Department needed to launch Loral-manufactured communications satellites into orbit from China.

They ended up advancing China’s missile program, which was a threat to US national security.

The case was so serious and so damaging that the Commerce Department asked for a judgment against itself to avoid any further revelations. The court refused and insisted the Commerce Department conduct a new search for trade mission records and authorized discovery into the illegal concealment and destruction of government records.

Congressional investigations, FEC investigations, and a criminal inquiry by the Justice Department and the FBI followed. The DOC changed its trade mission policy, abandoning all political contributions affecting mission seats.

Finally, in 2006, without any fanfare, an appellate court upheld an award of 900,000 to Judicial Watch.


While there was a lot of circumstantial evidence, there never was a smoking gun. John Kerry was also involved earlier on with what appeared to be a pay-to-play operation. There is a good article on it at The Spectator that summarizes it, but we deal with the later conspiracy.

  • Clinton friend Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie pleaded guilty to charges of violating campaign finance rules in exchange for having pending indictments dropped against him in Washington and Arkansas.
  • According to news reports in 1997, Democratic donor Johnny Chung received a $150,000 transfer from the Bank of China three days before he handed then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff a $50,000 check.
  • Johnny Chung first met the Clintons in 1992. From 1994 to 1996, Chung visited the White House 49 times. Nearly half of those visits were authorized by the office of the First Lady. In one visit, Hillary met with Chung and his visiting delegation of Chinese businessmen from state-run companies.
  • Liu Chaoying was the daughter of General Liu Huaqing (1916-2011), who arranged to give businessman and ally of the Clintons, Johnny Chung, $300,000, which was then donated to the DNC. The DNC was later forced to return the money.
  • Then-Vice President Al Gore received political donations from Buddhist nuns who had taken a vow of poverty.

President Clinton admitted in 1997 that he invited significant campaign donors to spend the night in the White House. The Clintons hosted 404 overnight guests.

During the investigation by the Department of Justice, about 120 people connected to “Chinagate” either fled the country or pleaded the Fifth Amendment to prevent testifying.

I clearly remember when the Clintons came to D.C., people in Arkansas said they were glad to get rid of them, but wait until you see how bad they are.

Additional Sources: Media Research Center, Standard Newswire, and the Sentinel



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