Gary Locke's "Scandal-Free Resume"?

Columnist Michelle Malkin accuses reporter William Yardley of whitewashing the Clinton-era campaign finance controversies of Gary Locke, Obama's pick for Commerce Secretary.

Gary Locke, the first Chinese-American governor in the United States, is Obama's third pick to head the Commerce Department. Reporter William Yardley greeted him Wednesday with a profile asserting that Locke had "a largely scandal-free resume."

Supporters say Mr. Locke, the nation's first and only Chinese-American governor and now an expert on China issues as a partner in a prominent Seattle law firm, brings something new: an international focus, centrist pragmatism, strong skills in public policy and a largely scandal-free résumé.

But columnist-blogger Michelle Malkin has a longer memory than reporter Yardley, and accuses him of "whitewashing" Locke's days as Washington State governor and ties to (Clinton-era flashback alert!) John Huang, the Lippo Bank figure who worked for the Clinton White House and was intimately involved in the Democratic campaign finance controversies of Campaign 1996.

Huang raised $3.4 million for the Democratic National Committee, including illegal donors from overseas.He eventually pled guilty to a felony conspiracy charge of breaking campaign finance laws.

Malkin writes (with links to her original Seattle Times columns on Huang's ties to Locke):

I covered Gary Locke when I worked at the Seattle Times. I dealt with his campaign and gubernatorial staffs. "Strait-laced" is not the adjective I'd use for my dealings with him and his people.

In response to my columns pressing Locke on his close ties to campaign finance crook John Huang, the governor's office first stonewalled. His standard Democrat smokescreen? Play the race card and play the victim.

The Associated Press's Liz Sidoti showed a little more curiosity about Locke's fundraising past, noting:

Locke was briefly linked to the scandal over foreign contributions to President Bill Clinton's 1996 campaign. In July 1998, he gave a deposition to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight about his relationships with questioned Clinton donors. But the committee subsequently said the deposition produced no evidence that Locke knowingly accepted illegal campaign donations....And in March 1998, state investigators cleared Locke of wrongdoing following complaints that he unlawfully took $10,000 in campaign contributions from members of a Buddhist church.