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 For Immediate Release
May 18, 1999 Contact: Press Office


Tony Coelho Involved In Chinagate Scandal

Pulled Strings to Get Boss On Trade Trip

Resigned from Congress in Face of Ethics Questions

(Washington, May 18) Judicial Watch responded with disbelief to the recent news that Tony Coelho, who resigned from Congress in the face of ethics questions, was hired by Vice President Al Gore to head and help salvage his campaign for the presidency. Judicial Watch uncovered a document that Coelho pulled strings to get his then-boss at Wertheim Schroder & Co., a New York investment firm, invited on a Commerce Department-sponsored trade mission to China in 1994. James A. Harmon, who Coelho helped get on that controversial China trade mission, is a major Democratic donor. Coelho wrote a letter on his boss Harmon's behalf to Melissa Moss, a former DNC fundraiser who then worked for the Clinton Commerce Department.

Almost all the key Chinagate figures were involved in that 1994 trade mission to China, including Johnny Chung, John Huang, Charlie Trie, and Loral's Bernie Schwartz.

The "smoking gun" Coelho document was uncovered by Judicial Watch in its FOIA lawsuit against the Clinton Commerce Department relating to its sale of trade mission seats in exchange for campaign contributions.

Coelho's new political boss, Al Gore, is also implicated in the trade mission scandal. The uncontroverted sworn testimony of Nolanda Hill, the confidante of late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, directly ties Gore to the sale of the trade mission seats, along with Hillary and Bill Clinton.

"Gore's hiring of Coelho is even more mind-boggling than inviting Johnny Chung to a recent LA fundraiser. It proves that when it comes to fundraising, Gore is as shameless as his co-conspirator Bill Clinton. With folks like Coehlo at the helm, we expect that Gore will hit new lows in influence peddling," stated Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman.

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