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Koreagate

1977

Tongsun Park described himself as an "American success story," when he came to the attention of the FBI in 1977.  Park, a Korean businessman, gave out gifts of thousands of dollars to prominent politicians and an influence peddling scheme known as "Koreagate."

The Koreagate scandal involved alleged bribery of over 115 members of Congress, predicted the New York Times.  In April 1978, Park sat before television cameras in a House hearing and listed a long list of payments--mostly in cash--to some 30 members of Congress.  He'd pass out cash in little white envelopes. 

But in the end, only 10 members of Congress were seriously implicated, and most of those had decided to leave Congress;  and the statute of limitations let three get off free.

The Ethics Committee recommended that the Honorable Edward R. Roybal (Democrat-California) be censure, that the Honorable Charles H. Wilson (Democrat-California) and the Honorable John McFall (Democrat-California) be reprimanded.  The Committee found the Honorable Edward J. Patten (Democrat-New Jersey) not guilty.  The Honorable Otto E. Passman (Democrat-Louisiana) was not prosecuted because of illness. 

The Honorable Richard T. Hanna (Democrat-California) was convicted, and sentenced to 6 to 30 months in prison.

 

In 2005, Tongsun Park's back! 

Park was the subject of a federal arrest warrant alleging that he acted as an intermediary with corrupt U. N. officials in the oil-for-food conspiracy orchestrated by Saddam Hussein.  The complaint charged that Park received at least $2 million from Iraq.  Park was pals with Tommy Boggs, while they were classmates at Georgetown University.  Later, Patton Boggs, the powerhouse lobbying and law firm represented Park in the oil-for-food case.  Patton Boggs rejected all charges of wrongdoing, but would not talk further. 

Sources:  Michael Dobbs, "'Koreagate' Figure Tied to Oil-for-Food Scandal," Washington Post, April 15, 2005, A19.