A generous supporter of Vice President Al Gore’s presidential
campaign has proudly linked past donations to the Clinton-Gore campaign
to China trade trips that benefited his business.
According to Federal Election Commission records, during the last 24
months, California investment banker Sanford Robertson has contributed
over $250,000 to Democrats, including Al Gore’s campaign and Hillary
Clinton’s bid for a Senate seat in New York. Robertson has contributed,
in total, well over $1,000,000 to the Democratic National Committee.
In November 1994, Robertson personally wrote President Clinton a
thank-you letter in which he discussed donated money and a trade trip to China.
“Thank you for autographing the pictures taken in the cabinet room before Ron Brown’s delegation to China. The trip seemed to be an economic and diplomatic triumph,” noted Robertson in his letter to Clinton.
“One of the highlights was observing Ron Brown in the way he represented the United States,” wrote Robertson. “His diplomatic skills were superb, particularly in the meeting with Li Peng. He deftly navigated the human rights issues by obtaining an agreement on further talks and then moved directly into the economic issues at hand, i.e. helping Chrysler, Sprint and others with their joint ventures.”
“P.S. Bob Rubin came to our home on Thursday for a Dianne Feinstein dinner, which raised over $100,000 for her campaign. Bob, of course, turned out the financial community and Silicon Valley,” Robertson concluded.
Robertson’s letter to Clinton and more recent donation records have aroused the human-right’s community. According to Eric Reeves, an activist who closely follows the Chinese involvement in Sudan, Robertson’s support for China also helps the communist training and support of brutal regimes abroad.
“One of the primary reasons that Sudan has received so little attention is because of Clinton’s determination to do business with the Chinese at any price,” noted Reeves. “Sudan’s agony has been repeatedly traded out of geopolitical calculations by the Clinton administration over the course of almost eight years. During that time, perhaps as many as 1 million Sudanese civilians have perished.
“It has mattered little to President Clinton that China has been Sudan’s economic bulwark and diplomatic protector at the U.N. It matters little to him that China National Petroleum Corp. is the largest foreign national operating in Sudan’s genocidally destructive civil war. What matters to him are the sentiments reflected in letters from big donors like Sanford R. Robertson,” stated Reeves.
“People wonder why the catastrophe in Sudan has not been a greater priority for the Clinton administration. They need to do no more than look closely at the significance Clinton attaches to his ‘legacy-notching’ efforts to get Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China and all those generous supporters who urged just this sense of priority upon him,” Reeves concluded.
Sanford Robertson also once bragged that his support bought Commerce Department trade trips to China under Clinton. One document backing this assertion was found in former Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown’s personal files and was obtained using the Freedom of Information Act.
The document, a 1995 article written by the New York Post, was hand-clipped and kept by Brown with the Robertson China-trip letter to Clinton. According to the article, Robertson openly admitted to the Post that the only reason he was selected for the August 1994 China trade mission was because he “organized a group of CEOs” to support Clinton early in the 1992 election.
There is an even more direct connection between Robertson and Gore suggesting a quid pro quo. In November 1995, Gore agreed to make phone calls from the White House, seeking donations for his re-election in 1996. One of the phone calls he made was to Sanford Robertson.
The vice president solicited and eventually received $100,000 from Robertson that day. Some $80,000 of that donation went into the DNC “soft money” accounts and $20,000 went directly into Gore’s campaign. Robertson delivered the $100,000 on January 23, 1996.
Three months later, Robertson’s investment banking firm, Robertson Stephens & Co., raked in a financial-adviser fee of $2 million for its role in aiding the merger of two large computer security firms, RSA Data Security Inc. — the largest U.S. encryption software company — and Security Dynamics Technologies Inc.
The merger occurred shortly after RSA had obtained an exclusive deal to pursue encryption research with the People’s Republic of China and four months after an agreement was signed between James Bidzos, CEO of RSA, and the Chinese government for the purpose of performing joint research on encryption. The signing took place during a Ron Brown trade trip to China.
The RSA deal included advanced technology transfers to the Chinese Academy of Sciences Laboratory of Information Security, which is, according to defense intelligence sources, a Chinese army unit that specializes in computer security and encryption technology.
Gore was charged with oversight of the RSA deal with China. According to a 1993 document obtained from the U.S. Commerce Department, Gore was responsible for making policy on all encryption exports. The document, labeled “secret,” is a presidential decision directive written by then-White House National Security Adviser Anthony Lake. The directive appointed Gore as chairman of the “Interagency Working Group” that determined export policy.
During a now-infamous press conference, reporters pointed out to Gore that the donation phone calls from the White House might be a violation of federal campaign laws. He responded that there was “no controlling legal authority” that made his actions illegal.
“The role of Sanford Robertson inside the White House is one reason why the Clinton-Gore legacy must be purged from national politics,” stated Al Santoli, defense adviser for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Ca. “This is another attempt to recreate the 1996 money politics that undermined fairness and American national security.”