THE wife of Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist Eric Hotung will continue to support the US Democratic Party, despite enduring a congressional inquiry three years ago. Mr Hotung and his wife, Patricia, were mentioned in Senate hearings examining influence-buying under the Clinton administration - investigations that involved several prominent Asians. During the September 1997 hearings, Republican senators tried to link a US$100,000 (HK$780,000) donation from Mrs Hotung to a 1995 meeting between Mr Hotung and then-deputy national security adviser Sandy Berger. In an interview with the Sunday Morning Post in Washington last week, the couple said they also had to appear before a grand jury, but were cleared after an extensive investigation. 'It was a very difficult time,' said Mr Hotung, adding that his wife was an American citizen with money in her own right, meaning she was free to continue contributing. Foreigners are not allowed to make direct financial contributions to the US political process. Mr Hotung is a British citizen. Mrs Hotung, who said 'I like [Al] Gore', recently contributed to the Vice-President's presidential campaign, but was unsure of the exact amount. Mr Hotung said he believed it was about US$150,000. The couple's comments came after they were honoured by President Bill Clinton at a ceremony on Tuesday marking Mr Hotung's US$5 million donation to the International Law Centre of Washington's Georgetown University. The contribution was Mr Hotung's second large donation to Georgetown. He and Mr Clinton studied law there. The pair met briefly for an informal chat afterwards, one of several they had during Mr Clinton's eight years in office. 'He's been a great president,' Mr Hotung said. 'I think you'll get very few like Bill Clinton.' Mr Hotung's relationship with Mr Clinton surfaced during the 1997 hearings, but senators seemed most interested in his meeting with Mr Berger about the same time as Mrs Hotung's donation.