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Ex-Treasurer for Rep. Kim Goes on Trial in Ethics Case

Official Business

April 10, 1997

Federal prosecutors opened their case against Rep. Jay C. Kim's former campaign treasurer Wednesday, charging that he brazenly flouted election laws by accepting and concealing illegal contributions in a frantic attempt to raise cash as his boss was coming under scrutiny.

The trial of Seokuk Ma, once Kim's top finance aide, "is a case about concealment and cover-up of illegal campaign contributions," Assistant U.S. Atty. Richard Drooyan told jurors. "He knew that corporations could not contribute to candidates in federal elections. . . He knew that individuals could not contribute more than a nominal amount of cash to candidates in federal elections."

Ma's attorney, Sherryl Michaelson, acknowledged in her opening statement that "the evidence will show mistakes were made." But Michaelson said her client, who was born in Korea, was "singularly unqualified" to be campaign treasurer in part because he was not made aware of contribution limits and other federal election rules.

Ma has pleaded not guilty.

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