Rep. Jay C. Kim’s finance chairman was arraigned in Los Angeles federal court Friday on a new charge of campaign fraud--failing to report cash contributions collected at a golf tournament fund-raiser.
Appearing before U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real, businessman Soekuk Ma pleaded not guilty to the latest charge, a felony, and was ordered to return to court for trial March 11.
The new indictment did not specify how much cash was collected during the tournament at the Royal Vista Golf Course in Walnut on Nov. 6, 1993.
Although Ma used the money for expenses related to the event, the indictment said he failed to report the proceeds and the names of the donors as required to the Federal Election Commission.
Ma, 51, was first indicted this December on charges of accepting corporate donations and concealing them from the commission in 1994. Corporate contributions to candidates for federal office are illegal.
He was also charged with trying to dissuade a grand jury witness from testifying about a $2,500 donation she made to Kim’s campaign. Ma has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
A Republican from Diamond Bar, Kim has denied any wrongdoing, although his lawyer has acknowledged that Kim is the prime target of a three-year FBI probe.
Five South Korea-based corporations have pleaded guilty during the past year to funneling illegal contributions into Kim’s 1992 congressional campaign. They were fined $1.6 million.
Outside the courthouse Friday, Ma’s lawyer, Sherryl E. Michaelson, said her client is a victim of selective prosecution because he, like Kim, is a Korean American. Kim is the first Korean American elected to Congress.
She also said Ma’s alleged offenses were administrative rather than criminal in nature, and should have been pursued through conciliation or civil action.