The GOP's Foreign Money Problem

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The GOP is scrambling to return $102,400 in donations, prompted by a TIME report that $122,000 in soft money contributions to the Republican National Committee may have come directly from a Hong Kong real estate and aircraft brokerage. Until Thursday, the party had said there was "nothing in our records" to show that the money came from foreign sources rather than Young Brothers Development-USA, the company's Florida-based subsidiary. In a statement, R.N.C. Chairman Jim Nicholson said RNC lawyers did not verify the source of the money until late Wednesday. "Upon learning those facts, we immediately returned the contributions, before the day's end," he said. Whether that was soon enough politically remains to be seen. "The Republicans have resisted the call for campaign finance reform all along, saying it was the Democrats who had gone awry, saying 'we have a clean house,'" said TIME's Michael Weisskopf. "Now all of a sudden, here you've got Republicans with their own problems." That doesn't mean any new house-cleaning is likely to come from this, Weisskopf said, or that either party won't hang on to every last donated dollar they can justify. Of the $122,000 targeted in the TIME reports, $20,000 still resides in the coffers of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "We'll take a look at (that) in due course," said Rich Galen, spokesman for the committee. "There's no emergency." Democrats, with their party already $14.4 million in debt and facing repayment of $1.5 million more in contributions now judged improper, will try to increase the GOP's sense of urgency.