In a complaint to the Federal Elections Commission, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee alleged Monday that Rep. Jay C. Kim (R-Diamond Bar) violated election laws last year, including one that prohibits government contractors from contributing to federal campaigns.
In a four-page complaint, the committee's treasurer, Genie M. Norris, charged that Kim violated several areas of federal election law that prohibit corporations from contributing money or services to federal campaigns.
The complaint cited as "evidence of violations" articles published by The Times last week alleging that Kim had improperly used hundreds of thousands of dollars from his engineering corporation to pay campaign expenses.
The corporation, JayKim Engineers, specializes in government contract work.
Kim could not be reached for comment Monday, but he has said he intended to promptly return any money that his company spent on his 1992 campaign, and he has blamed his former controller for any fiscal or political improprieties.
Kim has said he hired an accountant and a Washington attorney to investigate the allegations against him and has said he will repay anything that he owes the company.
The former controller, Fred Schultz, has said Kim was provided with a running tally of campaign expenses paid by the company but had ordered him not to bill the campaign.
The commission Monday also received an amended complaint from one of Kim's former Republican primary opponents, James Lacy. Last week, Lacy asked the commission to investigate whether Kim illegally used corporate funds in his campaign. On Monday, Lacy asked the commission to determine if any of the contributions Kim reported last year had "originated from a foreign source in violation of federal election law."
Kim reported raising about $621,000 as well as personally loaning his campaign $169,000. Campaign expenses paid by JayKim Engineers were not disclosed, records show.
Lacy questioned the legality of a $1,000 contribution Kim received March 23, 1992, from a donor identified as Korean Air at 6101 W. Imperial Highway, which is the American regional headquarters of the Korea-based airline.
The airline's chairman, Choong Hoon Cho of Korea, could not be reached for comment, nor could the vice president of the airline's U.S. region.
Kim's campaign treasurer, James Bohannan of San Marino, said he could not recall the contribution from Korea Air. But he said that all checks to the campaign were carefully screened by Kim's campaign staff to ensure that they complied with federal election law.
Rep. Vic Fazio (D-West Sacramento), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who announced the filing of the committee's complaint, released a statement denouncing Kim's "alleged misuse of corporation funds in his 1992 congressional campaign."
The complaint by the committee, representing all Democratic congressional members, said that Kim appears to have violated federal election law by misusing corporate funds in several ways: to reimburse employees for political contributions, to pay Kim his salary while campaigning, and to provide non-reimbursed goods and services to the campaign. Furthermore, the complaint alleges violations of the reporting provisions of federal election law that require disclosure of contributions and debts owed by the committee.
"The FEC should take all necessary steps to determine the extent of the violations that have occurred, to correct those violations and to ensure that no future violations take place," the complaint states.
The two complaints automatically trigger a review by the general counsel's office of the commission. The findings of the attorneys will be forwarded to the six-member commission, which is empowered to open a formal investigation.
In Los Angeles, the U.S. attorney's office is reviewing the allegations to determine whether an investigation should be opened.