Bernard Schwartz donated about $1.5 million to the Democratic Party and Clinton’s 1996 campaign for reelection between 1994 and 1998. Schwartz, who was at the time chairman of Loral Space & Communication Ltd., seems to have used his influence to persuade the Clinton administration to switch the licensing authority for missile exports from the Department of State to the Department of Commerce, as the latter was more vulnerable to political influence.
The Commerce Department subsequently approved Loral’s application for the licenses, prompting the Clinton administration to officially approve the sale of the missile tech to China on May 10, 1999. Clinton pledged in a letter that the export would neither harm national security, nor significantly boost China’s space capabilities.
“Approval was recommended by the Departments of Commerce, State and Defense and is consistent with our policy of supporting the launch of U.S. communications satellites by China subject to strong safeguards being in place,” said National Security Council spokesman David Leavy, according to The New York Times.