(CNSNews.com) - Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) predicted that Maria Hsia, who was convicted Thursday on charges she hid $109,000 in illegal campaign contributions during the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign, will receive probation instead of jail time and that she had most likely compromised American national security.
During a question and answer session at the Heritage Foundation in Washington Friday Thompson, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee which investigated the campaign finance scandal, said the Hsia conviction is but one example of how far down in stature the Justice Department has sunk during the Clinton Administration.
"The greatest tragedy of the Clinton administration is the Department of Justice," Thompson said. He cited as the reasons, "no leadership, gross incompetence [and] not having an outside prosecutor look into the campaign fundraising case."
Thompson also said, "the first job of the new President will be to clean up the Justice Department."
When asked by CNSNews.com if Hsia was connected to the communist Chinese government and if this may have compromised American security Thompson said yes.
"We pointed out that there were a half a dozen individuals who were raising large sums of money for the Democratic National Committee who had very close ties with the Chinese government," Thompson said.
"We also said in our report that Miss Hsia was an agent of the Chinese government. We did this after consultation with the FBI. With regard to the rest of your question, I'll just leave it there. I don't want to draw any broad conclusions until I at least have the chance to go back in and review our report," Thompson said.
But Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson was not so reticent. He criticized Vice President Gore's "no comment" about Hsia's conviction.
"Yesterday, Al Gore said he would not comment on the conviction of his longtime fundraiser and 'friend', Maria Hsia. What Al Gore must comment on, however, is not Hsia's conduct-but his own," Nicholson said in a statement released Friday in Washington.
Nicholson said Hsia is a criminal.
"We now know that Hsia is a criminal. In 1998, Senator Fred Thompson's Governmental Affairs Committee voted out a report identifying Hsia as 'an agent of the Chinese government.' Mr. Gore needs to tell Americans whether he had any idea that she was working for an agent for Beijing or whether he was fooled by her. Americans know what Al Gore got from Maria Hsia: illegal cash. Now Mr. Gore needs to reveal what Maria Hsia got from him in return," Nicholson said.