As new details emerge almost daily about improper campaign contributions from
foreign Asian business interests, Asian Americans are angry about being
implicated in the controversy through guilt-by-association.
Although only about twenty percent of the money raised by former DNC official
John Huang came from foreign sources, the heated rhetoric about the "Asian
connection" makes no distinction between those improper donations and the other
eighty percent of legitimate donations from Asian Americans.
That rhetoric has led to the resurrection of negative Asian stereotypes in the
media and exacerbated a revival of anti-Asian sentiment connected to the rise
of Pacific Rim economic and political power. Prominent Asian Americans say
this controversy has undermined thirty years of their hard political work to be
recognized as legitimate citizens and not as foreign nationals.
In the following interviews, two nationally-respected Asian American leaders
discuss the campaign finance controversy from their community's perspective:
Ling-chi Wang, a University of California, Berkeley professor, is a
noted expert on Asian American affairs. He heads Asian Americans for Campaign
Finance Reform, a group calling for a full, impartial investigation of Huang's
activities, appointment of a special prosecutor, real campaign finance reform
and the defusing of anti-Asian rhetoric.
Former Congressman Norman Mineta, now a vice president at Lockheed
Martin, is leading a national effort to stop the Asian-bashing fueled by this
controversy. Mineta, who also chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American
Caucus Institute, is, himself, one of the victims of the fallout. He was on the
short list for Secretary of Transportation but was removed because of his last
These interviews were conducted by Linda Jue, a San Francisco-based journalist
who reports on social issues, including Asian American issues. Her work has
appeared in theLos Angeles Times Syndicate, GEO magazine,
Toronto Globe and Mail, and, on "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour," KQED-TV and