Archive for May, 2008

McClellan Gives Up Bush vs. Wolfson Covers For Hillary’s Illegalities

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Scott McClellan’s revelations about his experiences as White House Press Secretary with Bush Administration duplicities are in stark contrast with Hillary Clinton’s spokesman, Howard Wolfson’s role (hidden in plain sight on the public record) in aiding and abetting Hillary Clinton in serial campaign and obstruction illegalities.

Hillary has protested her unequal treatment by the media. We agree wholeheartedly that the media should treat her and her relationship with her Press Secretary Howard Wolfson with the same enthusiastic analysis as it is treating George Bush and his press secretary, Scott McClelllan. . This might help….

Yesterday the press began a frenzied dissection of all of the intimate details of Bush Administration officials’ duplicity as exposed by Scott McClellan in his just released book. McClellan’s disingenuousness in aiding Bush propaganda and deception of the public by McClellan and his administration bosses, poses ethical problems for McClellan, but does not appear to rise to the level of a criminal violation of the public trust.

Yet the media has shown no interest whatsoever in exposing the role Hillary’s personal and campaign spokesman, Howard Wolfson, played with Hillary Clinton in illegally soliciting, coordinating and then covering up the $1.2 million plus campaign contributions made by Peter Paul that Justice Department Prosecutors and the FBI have stated in federal court that Paul personally made to Hillary’s campaign in 2000.

The media appears concerned that Mr McClellan is trying to cash in on a very belated sense of ethics and concern for the very public deception he himself facilitated for members of the Bush administration he worked with as their spokesman. His failure to protest in any way what he allegedly witnessed and how he was misled during his ten year tenure with Bush is being used by the media to impugn the truthfulness of his allegations.

In the case of Hillary Clinton’s long term spokesman, Howard Wolfson, who has worked with Hillary since she began her political career with her 2000 Senate race, the media refuses to mention, let alone dissect, the abundant evidence in the public record that Wolfson facilitated felonious illegalities by both Clintons in the course of Hillary winning the 2000 Senate election, and then in obstructing all federal investigations into those illegalities ever since.

The Washington Post articles on August 15 and 17, 2000 contain quotes from Wolfson speaking on behalf of Hillary Clinton- in response to direct questions posed to Mrs Clinton by reporter Lloyd Grove-that evidence two crimes committed by Mrs. Clinton.

The quotes in those articles (found here and here) confirm that Hillary Clinton, in cahoots with Howard Wolfson (who was privy to a conference call he participated in with Hillary’s top donor about the $1 million budget for the Gala) intended to deny the public’s right to know that Peter Paul personally gave $1.2 million plus to Hillary’s Senate campaign. Both Hillary and Wolfson knew that the Gala produced by Paul “cost more than $1 million and was an in kind contribution” to Hillary’s campaign after they solicited the money and coordinated its expenditure with him.

The significance of these two statements and omissions by Hillary through Wolfson, unlike McClellan, a supposed dupe of the Bush duplicity, is that the denial of the public’s right to know that Paul made the contribution solicited and coordinated by Hillary and Wolfson was a felony.

The knowledge that the Gala Paul produced cost more than $1 million when the Post article was published in August, 2000 evidences an effort to hide the cost by Hillary and Wolfson in false FEC reports that were made by Hillary’s campaign in October, 2000, January, 2001 and July, 2001 stating the Gala cost $366,000.

Knowing in August, 2000, that the cost of this fundraiser was in excess of $1 million meant that Hillary’s finance director, David Rosen, who was indicted and tried in federal court in 2005 for hiding the true $1 million plus cost of the event from Hillary’s campaign , was wrongly indicted and forced to defend a federal criminal trial!

The prosecution of Rosen for causing false FEC reports understating the cost of the Gala, with knowledge by prosecutors of Wolfson’s quotes on Hillary’s behalf in the Post, was a vast obstruction of justice intended to hide the government’s knowledge of a conference call that Wolfosn participated in with Hillary Clinton White House staffer Kelly Craighead and Peter Paul that detailed the budget for the event- and provided knowledge to Hillary long before the first media and FEC reports were made.

So in an appeal to the media to treat Hillary equally in the press, why not look at the record available on the www.paulvclinton.com web site to view the public record linked there that clearly shows Hillary’s spokesman deceived, on Hillary’s behalf and behest, the voters of New York about Peter Paul’s contributions to Hillary’s Senate campaign, and then hid the knowledge of the cost of the Gala Paul produced from the Department of Justice and FEC so that David Rosen would take the rap for Hillary’s false and illegal FEC reports!

The Media Cover-Up of the largest Election Law Fraud and Obstruction of Justice on Record

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Based on this comment posted on this blog today in response to the “Bill Clinton Causes Protestors To Be Ejected At Hillary Rally Over Peter Paul Question” article,

Author : Mary (IP: xxxxxx.116.197 , cache-ntc-ad03.proxy.aol.com)
Comment:

I made reference to the Peter Paul case on the CNN 360 Blog and they pulled it within an hour. Such cowards. Look what happened to Randi Rhodes when she crossed them and also David Schuster. Too bad for the Clintons that Randi came back a week later on NOVAM radio 10 times stronger than ever. Now, she is not controlled like she was at Air America.

I thought it timely to recapitulate what the Hillary controlled media has done to protect her campaign while treating Obama quite differently . Mainstream media news blogs are still editing all comments about the pending fraud case Paul v Clinton et al, against the Clintons in California- a landmark case the media refuses to report on because it details the criminality directed by both Clintons to win Hillary’s senate seat in 2000 and keep it in the 2006 election.

It is also timely to report that Google’s efforts to protect Hillary’s campaign from the damning evidence presented - much on home video- in Hillary! Uncensored- has resulted in a radical change in how Google reports the view recorded on Google Video. Because of the viral phenomenon of 8 million views of the 13 minute segment of the documentary in October- November, 2007- Google no longer publishes ANY statistics on views or rankings of its videos!!

After Google hid the video that was stopping Hillary’s campaign in its tracks in Oct-Dec, 2007, the Clintons brought in the disgraced, fired Time Magazine reporter involved in the Libby scandal to write a totally false article for an ersatz vetting group called factcheck.org. The debunking of the sixty three minute documentary was based on an unedited 13 minute segment that was mischaracterized by most of the debunked facts presented. This “review” of the documentary was designed to discredit the facts and videos presented in Documentary, Hillary! Uncensored and give cover to Hillary defenders as a refernce to ignore what Hillary was recorded doing on tape- violating the federal election laws!! 8 million people viewed it on the internet any way and stopped Hillary’s campaign sufficiently to enable Obama to take the lead.

Its appropriate to revisit the article written in 2005 by Noel Sheppard about the media role in covering up what has now been corroborated by Federal prosecutors and FEC investigators as the refusal of the Clintons to admit illegally soliciting and coordinating more than $1.2 million coerced from Peter Paul for Hillary’s Senate campaign, and the corruption of the Department of Justice Office of Public Integrity to avoid accountability for a series of felony violations of the law.

Robbing Peter to Pay Hillary by Noel Sheppard

To many Americans, Norman Hsu and Jack Abramoff are the faces of corruption in politics today. Sadly, if the media had done its job the past five and half years, the picture of campaign finance fraud would be a poorly dressed blond woman from Arkansas that used to be the First Lady, but never became the junior senator from New York.

 

Few truly objective observers of politics on either side of the aisle would disagree with the premise that the Clintons have consistently drawn an excessive amount of media attention since their meteoric rise onto the national scene in the early ’90s. One could likely find a consensus even among Democrats when there wasn’t a microphone or camera around that the bulk of such coverage has almost always been quite favorable even when the facts didn’t warrant it.

 

On the flipside of this media fascination is a hypocritical compulsion by the press to shelter the Clintons from negative scrutiny whenever possible. Examples of this are so numerous and apparent they need no reiteration. However, one event involving likely the largest case of campaign finance fraud in American history has been so obfuscated by the media that many of the players involved will be unfamiliar to even the most savvy political observers.

 

As a result, one of the largest scandals involving the Clintons has gone almost thoroughly ignored by America’s press. When the first reports were published, they were so minute in scope and visibility that the voters of New York State had no idea who they were putting into office, and might have voted differently if they had been properly informed.

 

Since then, most media outlets that have deemed this story worthy of print and/or airtime have either through incompetence or deceit glossed over or misrepresented much of the facts in an effort to protect politicians they so transparently revere.

 

In the end, what makes this so reprehensible is that the Hillary Clinton campaign finance activities the media have been covering up dwarf those of former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), and any of the members of Congress who took funds from former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Yet, both of these issues have spent months as the lead stories of America’s print and television news media, while the Clinton chicanery has not. As a result, the behavior of the media is just as corrupt as those they were trying to protect.

 

What follows is an examination of how the media covered up the largest campaign finance fraud in American history, and in so doing, helped elect a former First Lady to the Senate, paving the way for her possible presidential candidacy.

 

The Hollywood Farewell Gala For President William Jefferson Clinton

Our story begins on August 12, 2000, when a man whose name is unfamiliar to probably 99 percent of the American people threw a fabulously luxurious and massively expensive party for the Clintons in Brentwood, California, a posh area just outside of Hollywood.

 

(Picture 1, left orientation) In attendance, as well as performing for the Clintons’ entertainment, were such Hollywood luminaries as Cher, Shirley MacLaine, Whoopi Goldberg, Patti LaBelle, Jimmy Smits, Sugar Ray, Red Buttons, Toni Braxton, Angelica Houston, Melissa Etheridge, Dylan McDermott, Alfre Woodard, and Michael Bolton. Also on hand were John Travolta, Patrick Swayze, newlyweds Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Milton Berle, Olivia Newton-John, Carol Burnett, David Spade, Laura Dern, Michael York, Frances Fisher, Angie Dickinson, Rod Steiger, Kathy Bates, Camryn Manheim, Ed Asner, Robert Wuhl, Richard Lewis, and Annabelle Weston.

 

The event cost $1,000 per ticket, and $25,000 per couple for the dinner. All of the funds raised were going to Hillary’s New York senatorial campaign, although the gala was dubbed as a going away party for the president inasmuch as he was in the final months of his second term.

 

After the festivities, People magazine reported: “In politics, there are Parties–and there are parties. The place to be–by a landslide–on Aug. 12 was the Robert Taylor Ranch in (Picture 2, right orientation) Los Angeles, where more than 1,000 Friends of Bill, from Gregory Peck to Brad Pitt, kicked off a Democratic National Convention week of high-profile bashes (including one on the set of NBC’s The West Wing) with a salute to President Clinton.” On the same day, US magazine did a spread of the gala as well.

 

This event was so huge that The New York Times included details about it in a front page pre-Democratic presidential convention story two days before it occurred: “The headline event is Saturday night at a private Los Angeles estate. More than 1,400 people will attend a salute to the president, with the proceeds going to Mrs. Clinton’s Senate campaign.” As amazing as it might seem, this was the last time the Old Gray Lady would refer to this gala, or any of the fraudulent campaign finance activities surrounding it until February 2005.

 

(Picture 3, left orientation) Who was the man responsible for this gala? Peter F. Paul, a former international lawyer, entrepreneur, and entertainment mogul with ties to presidential administrations dating back to Richard Nixon. Of course, it’s no surprise that you haven’t heard of Paul, for a LexisNexis search of all reports containing the names “Peter Paul” or “Stan Lee Media” (Paul’s former company) or “David Rosen” (Clinton’s former campaign finance director) and “Hillary Clinton” since this gala occurred identified only 458 reports by all media outlets. 368 of these stories were published after Rosen was indicted for his involvement in this scandal on January 7, 2005.

 

By contrast, the name Jack Abramoff received more than 1,000 results for just 2006 alone. And, in just the 24 hours following the announcement of Tom DeLay’s indictment in September 2005 there were 859 media reports on the subject. Compare that to only 26 media reports in the 24 hours following Rosen’s indictment roughly eight months earlier, and one can see an almost unbelievable and thoroughly inexplicable disparity in the press’ coverage of these events.

 

Why the blackout concerning this issue? Well, on top of the indictment of Hillary’s campaign finance director, the Clintons are also being sued by Paul in California Superior Court for “fraud, deceit, negligent misrepresentation, unfair business practices, unjust enrichment, and civil conspiracy,” and it appears that America’s press are not interested in reporting the existence of these cases or the facts surrounding them.

 

(The reader should be aware that using LexisNexis to “count” media reports is not a completely accurate measurement, as some articles and/or newscasts can be duplicated using this website for such a purpose. Also, wire services like the Associated Press may publish multiple versions of the same story throughout a given day, and each of these counts as a report in such a search. However, for purposes of comparison, such an analysis has tremendous value despite not being 100 percent precise.)

 

The Largest Campaign Finance Fraud in American History

As the root issue for this lawsuit is noncompliance with federal election laws and what constituted campaign finance fraud, it is important for the reader to understand at the onset some of the economics behind this gala fundraiser, and how they ended up being falsely reported to the Federal Election Committee.

 

The contributions received that fateful August evening in 2000 according to Paul’s lawsuit totaled $1.5 million. Paul’s costs associated with the fundraiser, which by FEC law constituted contributions as well, were $1.9 million — “not including the fair market value of his own services in acting as executive producer of the event and the fair market value, estimated at an additional $1 million, of the services rendered by eight (8) world class artists who performed at the concert portion of the event.”

 

Without getting confusingly complex, FEC laws distinguish between “hard dollars” and “soft dollars” raised by a candidate for campaign purposes. Hard dollars carry a $2,000 per contributor limit; soft dollar contributions from an individual have a $25,000 limit, with no such restriction for a corporation. However, soft dollars are supposed to be used by the national party of a candidate to exclusively promote issues of the party. By contrast, hard dollars can be used for the sole benefit of the candidate to promote his/her election goals, including running media ads, sending mailers, organizing phone banks, etc. As a result, hard dollars are extremely precious.

 

(Picture 4, right orientation) Of course, candidates and their parties for years have figured out ways to rig the system thereby using soft dollars for purposes that operate in the gray areas of the regulations. The reader might recall a well-publicized incident that occurred during a September 2000 New York senatorial debate between Hillary Clinton and her Republican opponent, Rick Lazio (R-New York) dealing with this very issue. To make a point, Lazio approached Clinton demanding that she sign a document agreeing to not use soft dollars for her campaign. Hillary didn’t sign this at the time, but finally acceded on September 24.

 

With that in mind, as former Clinton advisor Dick Morris wrote in an April 2005 article entitled “How Hill Gained,” “Under the arcane rules of the Federal Election Commission at the time, campaigns could use soft money to pay for fund-raising events — provided the gathering’s costs came to 40 percent or less of the total of hard money raised.” In the case of this gala, as it raised a total of $1 million hard dollars according to Morris, the Clinton campaign would have only been able to use $400,000 of soft dollars to cover the cost of the fundraiser. Using Paul’s expense figure of $1.9 million, this would have cost the Clinton campaign $1.5 million in hard dollars.

 

Now, it appears that there is some confusion as to what the real cost of this gala fundraiser was. Morris used the figure $1.2 million, and estimated that this would have cost the Clinton campaign about $800,000 in hard dollars. Regardless of which number is correct, given Hillary’s agreement to not use soft money in the campaign, as Morris put it, “she was hard up for hard money. So if [national finance director for the Clinton campaign David Rosen] had owned up to the full cost of the fundraiser, the campaign would have had to cough up $800,000 of hard money at exactly the time that it needed the funds the most.”

 

To prevent this from occurring, the Clinton campaign decided to drastically understate the cost of this event by declaring to the FEC on October 15, 2000 that it had received $366,564.69 from Stan Lee Media, Inc., the company that Paul was a partial owner of at the time. Not only did this figure conveniently fall below the 40 percent soft dollar limit, but also the use of “Stan Lee Media, Inc.” as contributor allowed the Clinton campaign to minimize its direct connection to Paul.

 

Of course, another issue to keep in mind is that according to an FEC complaint filed by Judicial Watch in Paul’s behalf on July 16, 2001, “Federal Election Commission records for year 2000 reported political contributions by Peter F. Paul reflect a total contribution of $2000.00, which was returned.” Paul’s lawsuit contends that since the Clinton campaign in essence reported zero dollars received from Paul in the year 2000, it should be required to reimburse to him the $1.9 million he spent on this gala fundraiser.

 

The Party’s Over

Likely before all the hangovers caused by this gala were recovered from, The Washington Post dropped a bombshell that none of the participants expected. On August 15, 2000, Post writer Lloyd Grove wrote the following in his “This Just In” column:

 

Is Hillary Clinton soft on crime? We certainly hope not, even though convicted felon Peter Paul–who served three years in prison two decades ago after pleading guilty to cocaine possession and trying to swindle $8.7 million out of the Cuban government– helped organize Saturday’s star-glutted $1 million fundraising gala for Clinton’s Senate race at businessman Ken Roberts’s Brentwood estate. Paul, co-founder of Stan Lee Media, told us in a statement: ‘As a young international lawyer and active anti-communist, working in a politically charged environment, I got caught up in a vicious interagency rivalry concerning a covert operation against Castro’s Cuba.’ He added that he only produced the gala and hasn’t given or raised money for the first lady’s New York campaign. And we will not be accepting any contributions from him,’ Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson vowed.”

 

(Picture 5, left orientation) This statement by Wolfson was quite curious, as it implied that the Clinton campaign was surprised to find out about Paul’s past. After all, Hillary was, at that time, married to the president of the United States. Wouldn’t the background of anyone throwing a high-profile party for the president, and being allowed to get so close to him and his family be properly vetted by his staff? They didn’t check Paul’s Social Security number which would have immediately identified his prior convictions?

 

This is especially curious given the article that TIME magazine did on February 12, 1979 entitled “The Cuban Coffee Caper,” chronicling events that Paul was involved in. Yet, the Clinton administration first found out about Paul’s participation in this “caper” when The Washington Post reported it three days after the gala? This appears implausible, and is called into serious question as the article ensues.

 

Grove followed up his August 15 column two days later largely it seems to give the Clinton campaign the ability to correct some “fallacies” while driving home the point that Paul was a “convicted felon”:

 

Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s press secretary misspoke–and convicted felon Peter Paul apparently misremembered–when they told us this week that Paul produced Saturday’s star-glutted million-dollar fundraiser but didn’t personally give money to Clinton’s campaign.

“‘I stand corrected,’ Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said Wednesday after we located Federal Election Commission records showing that the fifty-something Paul donated $ 2,000 to Clinton’s Senate campaign on June 30. ‘He had previously given, but not associated with this event, and today we returned the check,’ Wolfson said.”

 

Grove’s article, after relieving Clinton from guilt, then spent the bulk of the allotted space on Paul, including what he paid to Hillary’s campaign:

 

A sometime show-business talent manager who co-founded Los Angeles-based Stan Lee Media, Paul describes himself as “an Internet guru.” Paul said producer Aaron Tonken, who helped organize the fundraiser at businessman Ken Roberts’s Brentwood estate, must have sent candidate Clinton the money on Paul’s behalf. “Aaron had me write checks for a lot of things, and I didn’t pay attention,” Paul said. Tonken didn’t return our phone calls seeking comment.

Paul was paid “a nominal fee” for his producing services, he said, and Wolfson said Stan Lee donated $ 100,000 to cover some expenses for the event. As for the rest of the estimated $ 1 million-plus cost, “it was an in-kind contribution . . . and not a check,” Wolfson said.

 

According to Paul, the statements he made to Grove in both of these pieces were orchestrated by the Clinton campaign. “I was told by DNC Chair Ed Rendell, after the Clinton camp heard from Grove and formulated their story, before I spoke to Lloyd Grove, that I should not admit to paying for the gala and go along with the Clinton story that they weren’t taking any money from me.” In his view, the only way to protect the money he had contributed was to accede to their “request.” “I effectively was coerced to go along with their story,” he said.

 

(Picture 6, right orientation) Also according to Paul, Grove had admitted to him that his source for Paul’s troubles with the law was the male model Fabio and his manager. Fabio used to be a “property” of Paul’s, though they had a falling out some years ago. In 1997, Paul and Fabio got into a shouting match on Howard Stern’s radio show, and there’s been a lot of bad blood between them since.

 

Paul received a tip from a friend at the Hollywood Reporter that after Fabio heard about the gala Paul was throwing for the Clintons, he figured this would be a great time for a little vindication. So, he contacted Grove to stir up some muck.

 

That said, the most important element of Grove’s second article was that final paraphrased statement by Wolfson concerning the $1 million-plus cost of the gala, and that this was an “in-kind contribution”; this is significantly greater than the approximately $367,000 the Clinton campaign declared roughly two months later to the FEC.

 

As a clarification, the term “in-kind” means that the contribution did not come in the form of cash, check, or a credit card transaction. Instead, the FEC requires candidates to submit detailed accountings of goods and services provided to them by donors to assess their value, which is then reported as an in-kind contribution.

 

This is a important issue for the reader to understand: On August 16, 2000, Howard Wolfson, a key spokesman for Hillary Clinton who still works in this capacity, told The Washington Post that the gala fundraiser in Hollywood cost over $1 million, and was an in-kind contribution. Yet, two months later, the campaign reported to the FEC that it spent $367,000.

 

That in a nutshell represents the fraud that the media have been assisting Hillary and her minions to cover up for the last five and a half years.

 

This cover up began on August 15, 2000 when no other major media outlet bothered to report what The Washington Post revealed in these two articles, or further explore the allegations contained in these articles prior to Election Day 2000 or since. (According to LexisNexis, the only other press outlet to pick up this story before November 7, 2000, was Bulletin Broadfaxing Network on August 16.) This is especially true for the New York papers whose readers would be the most impacted by this information. In particular, as The New York Times had previously reported the existence of this gala, why did its editors think that it wasn’t important to inform the public that it was hosted by a felon, or that the numbers being reported by the Clinton campaign to the FEC concerning its cost were suspect?

 

Regardless, according to Paul, after the Post articles were published, the next media contact didn’t come until well into 2001. As a result, almost three months before Election Day 2000, the wife of the president of the United States, who also happened to be running for a senate seat in one of America’s largest states, admitted to taking campaign money from a felon. Almost two months later, her campaign officials fraudulently underreported to the FEC contributions it had received – information that was available to the public and to the press at the FEC website on October 15, 2000. And, this number was one third as much as Hillary’s spokesman had told The Washington Post.

 

Yet, for some reason, the Post chose not to follow up on its own story. Why was that? After its first piece on August 15, 2000, somebody at the Post “located Federal Election Commission records showing that the fifty-something Paul donated $ 2,000 to Clinton’s Senate campaign on June 30.” In doing so, the Post caught the Clinton campaign and its spokesman in a lie. As such, why didn’t the Post continue to follow up on this story by regularly checking FEC records to verify how the contributions from this million-dollar gala were reported? Wouldn’t that have been sound investigative journalism, or is that asking too much?

 

(Picture 7, left orientation) Similarly, as the Post had caught the Clinton campaign in a lie concerning its fundraising activities surrounding a convicted felon, how could the rest of the media totally ignore this eleven weeks before Election Day? This preposterous lack of media curiosity included “The Most Trusted Name in News,” or what people used to refer to as the “Clinton News Network,” for according to LexisNexis, CNN’s first report on this subject didn’t occur until 2005 when Hillary’s campaign finance director David Rosen was indicted.

 

What’s Good for the Clintons Isn’t Good for the Bushes

To put this in proper perspective, try to imagine what would have occurred if similar allegations with an admission, along with a fundraising misstatement by a key spokesperson, had been published at the same time about Hillary’s opponent, Rick Lazio, or any other Republican candidate including George W. Bush. Would the media have ignored those revelations? Hardly.

 

As a perfect example of how absurd this Clinton fundraising media blackout was, consider that on September 8, 2004, roughly two months before Election Day, CBS’s Dan Rather reported about documents relating to President Bush’s air national guard service. In the next 24 hours, there were 559 reports on this subject by media outlets prior to the revelation that the documents had been forged. And, this was regarding events that had transpired almost four decades prior.

 

Or, consider that on Thursday, November 2, 2000, just five days before Election Day, a television station in Maine broke a story about then governor Bush having been arrested in 1976 for drunk driving. There were a total of 621 media reports done on this story through Election Day. CNN did 61. CBS did 19. ABC did 26. NBC did 33. All in five days.

 

Adding it up, the media paid more attention during a five-day period to a 24-year-old drunk driving arrest than they’ve given in the past five and a half years to the largest campaign finance fraud in American history. Not only have there been a scant 458 media reports on the Clinton campaign’s fraudulent activities since revelations concerning the matter first appeared, but also virtually no media outlets covered this story even as information was emerging in the final months of the 2000 campaign.

Robbing Peter to Pay Hillary Part II

The media cover-up the largest campaign finance fraud in US history

By Noel Sheppard

 

(Picture 1, left orientation) Part I of this report exposed America’s media for complicity in covering up the largest campaign finance fraud in history, while assisting Hillary Clinton become the junior senator from New York.

 

As Hillary went from First Lady to an elected representative in 2001, the press blackout of the fraudulent activities surrounding the Hollywood fundraising gala in her behalf stayed largely intact. Most of the exceptions came in the form of smears and attacks upon the man who financed this gala, Peter F. Paul.

 

What follows is an examination of how the media continued with its cover-up after Hillary was sworn in so as not to hinder her chances of becoming the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential candidate.

 

Media Blackout Turns Yellow

(Picture 2, right orientation) According to LexisNexis, there was no further reporting about Peter Paul’s involvement with the Hillary Clinton senatorial campaign until March 19, 2001. The Industry Standard at that time did what appeared to be a “hit” piece concerning the bankruptcy filing of Stan Lee Media, Inc. This 1861-word article entitled “The Trials of a Comic Book Hero” chronicled the ups and downs of this once high-flying company, and laid most of the blame for its demise on Paul:

 

Paul, who co-founded Stan Lee Media but never held an official job or title there, was cut off from the company in early January. He left behind an enterprise in turmoil. The Securities and Exchange Commission had launched an informal inquiry, and an internal investigation led to the termination of Paul and another executive suspected of involvement in stock manipulation and embezzlement. By then, court documents say, Paul had made plans to flee to Brazil, where he is thought to be today.”

 

Paul and his legal team struck back. On March 22, PR Newswire reported:

 

The law offices of Freund & Brackey LLP, lawyers for Stan Lee Media, Inc. co-founder Peter Paul, delivered a demand for a retraction and apology for libeling Mr. Paul in a March [19], 2001, article published by The Industry Standard. The magazine erroneously reported that Mr. Paul had been convicted ‘for the sale of heroin’ and for ‘defrauding shareholders of a coffee company’ in connection with a political action against Fidel Castro more than twenty-three years ago.


“In preparation for further action against The Industry Standard, a respected multimedia business journal, attorney Jonathan Freund addressed a demand letter to the Editor and Publisher of the magazine, advising of the apparent wanton and willful disregard of the truth in the allegations made by The Standard’s reporters in the article entitled ‘The Trials of a Comic Book Hero.’”


Paul’s contentions were right. On March 29, PR Newswire reported the following:

 

In its first official response to Stan Lee Media Co-Founder Peter Paul’s demand for a retraction and apology for libelous statements contained in the Industry Standard’s March 9, 2001 edition, Jonathan Weber, Editor in Chief of The Standard, wrote Paul’s attorney Jonathan Freund a letter faxed on March 27, 2001 stating in part: ‘… we intend to publish corrections and an apology in the next issue of the magazine and to correct the archived version of the story, which was removed temporarily from our site last week.’ These corrections relating to incidents that allegedly occurred twenty three years ago will address the libelous ‘statements that Mr. Paul was convicted of the ‘sale of heroin’ … that he was ‘disbarred’ rather than suspended from the practice of law.’”

 

Curiously, the rest of the media were mum regarding this matter, and appeared content to keep any reference to Hillary’s largest campaign contributor out of the print and airwaves until the announcement that Paul had been indicted for a variety of charges related to the demise of Stan Lee Media including stock manipulation. Yet, the coverage of this indictment, along with its ramifications, was nothing less than atrocious.

 

New York’s Newsday published a 592-word article on this subject on June 13, but placed it on page A29. As the headline “Comic Book Co-Founder Indicted in Stock Case” gave no indication of a connection to Hillary or her 2000 campaign, it is safe to assume few people paid much attention. Yet, the article did contain some pertinent information:

 

Paul’s attorney, Larry Klayman of the Washington-based Judicial Watch, has persistently accused both Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, of corruption. Klayman declined to comment yesterday on whether his client was guilty of the stock charges, but said that $2 million allegedly lost by investors was donated by Paul to Hillary Clinton’s campaign last year.

 

Klayman said he had documentation of his allegations but declined to provide any.

 

With that out of the way, the article moved into the classic Clinton defense mode that has been so commonplace in media reports about this couple since the early ’90’s:

 

A spokeswoman for former President Clinton, Julia Payne, said, ‘We never respond to Mr. Klayman’s outrageous allegations about the Clintons.’ A spokeswoman for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Karen Dunn, responded similarly.

 

Isn’t that special? It must be nice to be able to get away with never responding to allegations. Yet, that wasn’t the most outrageous statement in this article:

 

“‘Several sources familiar with the indictments said federal agents were probing Paul’s allegations. They stressed, however, that there was no evidence that either of the Clintons knew of the alleged massive campaign contributions from Paul or failed to properly report them.”

 

No evidence? Well, how about doing a little research and identifying that just ten months earlier, Hillary’s spokesman told The Washington Post the gala fundraiser Paul threw for the Clintons cost more than $1 million? Might that be evidence enough?

 

Of course, since Newsday didn’t do such an investigation, it couldn’t have known had absurd the next couple of paragraphs were:

 

According to Common Cause, a Washington, D.C.-based election watchdog group, Stan Lee Media Inc. was the top soft money contributor to Clinton’s Senate campaign. Common Cause said the firm donated $468,564 in 1999 and 2000.

“Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign reports show that Paul gave $2,000 to NYSenate 2000, the campaign’s soft money arm, on June 30. The reports show NYSenate 2000 refunded the donation to Paul on Aug. 16, but do not indicate why.”

 

(Picture 3, left orientation) Putting this into proper perspective, Tom DeLay is accused of illegally funneling $190,000 of corporate contributions to the Republican National Committee to impact Texas statewide elections in 2002, and has been indicted as a result. There have been thousands of media reports on this matter since well before the indictments were handed down in September 2005, and said indictments were front-page news along with the lead story by every broadcast network news program on the day they occurred.

 

Yet, allegations of similar campaign finance abuse by Sen. Clinton four years earlier, with sums of money potentially ten times greater than DeLay is alleged to have manipulated, were buried on page A29. And, this is a New York paper hiding a story about a New York senator!

 

Sadly, the other New York papers didn’t do any better. Although the Daily News at least put the senator’s name in the headline – “STOX SCAM SUSPECT SAYS HE GAVE HIL 2M” – the 297-word article, with content roughly similar to Newsday’s, was buried on page 6. Yet, maybe most astounding, according to LexisNexis, The New York Times thoroughly ignored this story.

 

So did the Washington Post, which is surprising given that it had originally broken elements of this story ten months earlier. This is especially true given that, for the first time, allegations were being made concerning fraudulent campaign finance activity surrounding this gala. As the Post was first to articulate reporting discrepancies involving this fundraising event, it is nothing less than shocking that nobody at the Post followed up on these new revelations.

 

Par for the course, with the exception of the Los Angeles Times’ 522-word June 13, 2001 article of similar content to Newsday’s, the rest of the print and all of the television media continued to totally ignore this story. Compare this to the attention the DeLay case was given even prior to his indictments, and the focus on Abramoff even though no indictments have been issued against any recipients of his funds. Then, consider the fact that no member of Congress is believed to have received from Abramoff anywhere near the dollars Hillary took from Paul, and the disparity in press coverage becomes all the more preposterous.

 

Media Mum Regarding Lawsuit Filed Against the Clintons

A week later, on June 20, 2001, Judicial Watch held a press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The subject: A lawsuit being filed by Judicial Watch against the Clintons on behalf of Paul. According to LexisNexis, aside from U.S. Newswire which announced the press conference the day before it occurred, few media outlets gave this much attention.

 

(Picture 4, right orientation) On June 22, 2001 Salon reporter Anthony York downplayed the lawsuit by smearing the plaintiff and his attorney: “Enter Larry Klayman, chairman of Judicial Watch, the conservative group that made a name for itself waging war on the Clinton White House,” and; “Paul, who has a past record including convictions for cocaine possession and a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme involving the Cuban government.”

 

Compare that to the job Paul Bond of the Hollywood Reporter did the same day with his 658-word article entitled “Paul Suit Says Clintons Lied.” This represented by far the first decent accounting of this issue to date. Unfortunately, this was not a national publication:

 

The complicated saga laid out in a filing with the Los Angeles Superior Court late Tuesday is a response to Paul’s federal grand jury indictment last week. Authorities contend that Paul bilked investors of $25 million in a scheme that drove up the price of Stan Lee Media shares, allowing Paul to sell them for huge profits before the company went bankrupt.

“But Paul, contacted in South America, said his troubles with U.S. federal authorities are related directly to the Aug. 12 Hollywood tribute dinner, as well as donations he says he made to the Clintons totaling about $1.9 million, which the Clintons have denied receiving. In fact, Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign said in August that it returned to Paul a $2,000 donation.

“According to the suit, as a result of the Clintons’ failure to report properly all of Paul’s contributions, he ‘has been placed at substantial risk of prosecution for violation of campaign fund-raising laws.’”

 

By contrast, a 284-word article published the same day by Agence France Presse entitled “Fugitive US financier cites Clinton in lawsuit” appeared more interested in smearing Paul over his convictions than detailing the complaints of his suit. So did a 487-word Washington Post article on this subject placed on page A6 a few days later. Susan Schmidt’s headline read “Fugitive Felon Says Clinton Aid Wasn’t Logged.” Any serious attention to this issue was downplayed by focusing on Paul’s previous convictions, and quoting Democrat officials who dismissed the complaint:

 

Paul, who was convicted of fraud and drug charges two decades ago, was indicted anew on stock fraud charges in New York earlier this month. In an unsuccessful effort to stave off those charges, he presented his allegations about the Clinton campaign to four U.S. attorney’s offices, all of which declined to investigate. Paul is now in Brazil, and prosecutors are seeking his return.

“The claims were dismissed by officials at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which reported to the Federal Election Commission on the funds raised at the event. The committee reported an in-kind contribution of $ 500,000 from Stan Lee Media, an Internet company with which Paul was affiliated. ‘I believe the staff working on the event got that figure from Mr. Paul,’ said DSCC spokeswoman Torah Ravitz.”

 

As compared to the vigilance this paper employed when it went after the Watergate conspirators in the ’70s, the word of a Democratic campaign spokeswoman was enough to close the door on this story, for the Post didn’t publish another article on this matter for two and a half years. In addition, nobody at the Post did a simple check of its own previous articles on this subject to identify that Hillary’s spokesman had told the Post ten months earlier that the gala cost over $1 million. Nice job of investigative reporting, folks.

 

Besides a small mention of this in the Village Voice’s national news roundup on June 26, according to LexisNexis, no other media outlet felt that a lawsuit being filed against a former president and a sitting senator by that senator’s largest campaign contributor was at all newsworthy. Imagine that.

 

If Someone Points at a Naked Emperor, Will Anybody Look?

On June 28, 2001, a nationally recognized journalist was finally willing to report the more gory details involved in this affair. Unfortunately, it was conservative columnist Robert Novak, and, since this was an op-ed entitled “Is Clinton-era corruption getting a pass?; Feds don’t seem interested in $ 1.9 million gift to ex-first lady,” it was placed on page 35 of the Chicago Sun-Times. However, the piece boldly went where no other media representative dared:

 

On March 30 in Newark, N.J., lawyers from the conservative Judicial Watch organization met representatives of four U.S. attorneys with an offer in behalf of an unusual client. Peter Paul, a colorful Hollywood entrepreneur under Justice Department investigation for stock manipulation, would give information to prosecutors if he could return briefly from Sao Paulo, Brazil, without fear of arrest. Included was his claimed contribution, unreported to federal authorities, of nearly $ 2 million to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 2000 campaign.

(Picture 5, left orientation)“Two months of silence was broken June 12 when Alan Vinegrad, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn), brought a securities fraud indictment against Paul. No interest was shown in the proffer. The Clinton administration pattern appears to be continuing in the Bush administration. Donors, not recipients, of specious political contributions are prosecuted.”

 

Novak continued: “Nevertheless, a lawsuit filed by Paul in Los Angeles June 19 against Bill and Hillary Clinton paints a picture all too familiar in American political fund-raising generally and by the Clintons particularly.” And:

 

‘Generally, we don’t comment on Judicial Watch activities,’ Clinton spokesman Jim Kennedy told me. The Clinton FEC filing shows a $500,000 ‘in-kind’ contribution by SLM, but actually, the company gave nothing. Paul’s canceled checks substantiate his $ 1.9 million unreported contribution.”

Novak had finally stood up and addressed the emperor’s peculiar attire. Yet, nobody else in the media appeared at all interested until ABC News’ “20/20” on July 13, 2001. In his piece, Brian Ross cleverly exposed a number of inconsistencies in the media’s previous reporting on this matter. First, it would have been impossible for the Clintons and their staffs to have not known about Paul’s past:

 

(Picture 6, right orientation) ROSS: (VO) Like a number of the big-money people who court politicians in both parties, Peter Paul comes with a lot of baggage. In the 1980’s Paul served almost four years in prison on fraud and drug charges. A criminal record, the Secret Service would, according to standard procedure, have easily discovered and reported to the White House staff.

Mr. PAUL: They knew that–that these were federal convictions. Anytime that the Secret Service runs your Social Security number, those are the first things that come up.

 

Hillary and her staff maintained that she barely knew Paul. Not so according to Ross, who used home videos of Hillary interacting with Paul to demonstrate the absurdity of such assertions:

 

ROSS: (VO) Senator Clinton and her staff now act as if she barely knew Peter Paul. But his home videos tell a different story, starting with a private lunch Paul co-hosted for Mrs. Clinton at the Beverly Hills restaurant Spago.

Senator Hillary Clinton: (From home video) Tell me, tell me, I’m so excited.

ROSS: (VO) Dionne Warwick sang for the small group. Ironically enough, “That’s what friends are for.” Numerous stars were there, but Paul and his wife Andrea were the ones seated right next to Mrs. Clinton. In fact, Paul’s home videos picked up Mrs. Clinton saying she had stopped using e-mail messages because of all the investigations she had been through.

Senator CLINTON: (From home video) As much as I’ve been investigated and all of that, you know, why would I–I don’t even want–why would I ever want to do e-mail?

Mr. PAUL: (From home video) No, no.

Senator CLINTON: (From home video) Can you imagine?

 

As for the disparity in the contribution amount reported to the FEC:

 

ROSS: (VO) Paul says he put up $30,000 to be the co-host of the lunch. And in total, he estimates, he has canceled checks and other documents showing more than $1.5 million in direct and so-called “in-kind” contributions to support the Hillary campaign last year. Yet only about $500,000 of that appears in the federal election records filed for her campaign, attributed to the various companies Paul’s connected with. Democratic officials say they simply reported what Paul told them, which Paul says is not true.

 

(Picture 7, left orientation) Ross even added a new twist to this story, that the Clinton campaign had illegally received contributions from a Japanese citizen:

 

ROSS: (VO) And seated right behind the Clintons, was a Japanese businessman by the name on Tendo Oto (ph), an associate of Paul’s who gave Paul $27,000 to attend the fundraiser. Citizens of foreign countries are prohibited from giving money to federal campaigns.

(OC) You told Mrs. Clinton’s staff you had $27,000 from a Japanese citizen?

Mr. PAUL: Right.

ROSS: (VO) A picture that night shows Oto being escorted into the concert by Paul and the Clinton staff. Oto told 20/20 he was unaware that the $27,000 sent to Paul could be considered an illegal contribution.

(OC) Did anybody ever tell you, ‘You must return that’? You can’t take money from a…

Mr. PAUL: No one ever told me anything about the money. And ultimately they promised to invite Mr. Oto to the last state dinner at the White House.

 

The piece also confirmed what Paul had said concerning the first Washington Post reports in August 2000:

 

ROSS: (VO) But Paul says the Clinton staff told him to go along with the story and he did.

Mr. PAUL: Well, I had no choice. I mean, if you just paid $2 million to have a relationship with some people, you’re not going to turn around and call them liars in the Washington Post.

 

(Picture 8, right orientation) The segment neared a conclusion with Sen. Clinton refusing to answer any questions from Ross concerning this matter:

 

ROSS: (OC) Senator, Brian Ross from ABC’s 20/20.

Senator CLINTON: Hello, nice to see you.

ROSS: (VO) Last week in New York, Senator Clinton would not even say if she recalled meeting Peter Paul. She said she didn’t want to talk about his allegations because his lawsuit is being brought by the top man of the group called Judicial Watch, which has brought numerous lawsuits before against the Clintons and members of their administration.

Senator CLINTON: And I’m just not going to comment on it. It’s not anything that I’m going to have anything to say about. It will just work its way out as all of his frivolous lawsuits do.

ROSS: Do you recall Mr. Paul?

Senator CLINTON: Thank you.

ROSS: Do you recall working with him at all?

 

It must be nice to be so powerful that you don’t have to answer questions directed at you from the media. Regardless, three days after this report, on July 16, 2001, Judicial Watch and Peter Paul held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to announce the filing of a complaint against the Clinton campaign with the FEC. The conference included videotapes of Paul with the Clintons, and featured Paul via telephone from Sao Paolo, Brazil.

 

Wes Vernon of NewsMax reported the next day:

 

The videos at the news conference showed Hillary Clinton in animated friendly conversation with Peter Paul and his wife, Andrea. Photos included a scene with Paul seated next to Chelsea, Bill and Hillary Clinton, watching the star-studded entertainment last August in Los Angeles just before the Democratic National Convention.”

 

According to LexisNexis, there were precious few media outlets that reported anything concerning the “20/20” segment or this press conference. On July 13, 2001, U.S. Newswire did a short piece on both issues. New York’s Newsday did a 455-word article on July 14 placed on page 8 concerning the “20/20” segment. The Seattle Times did a brief mention of the lawsuit in a national news roundup on page A4 on July 17. And, on the same day, Knight Ridder/Tribune did a fair job presenting the facts of the lawsuit in a 476-word article.

 

(Picture 9, left orientation) Likely due to the involvement of Philadelphia native Ed Rendell, the Philadelphia Inquirer did a 903-word article on this subject on July 18 entitled “Fugitive seeking $1.5 million he gave for Hillary Clinton fund-raiser.” Despite this headline, reporter Peter Nicholas did a fairly good job of presenting some of the allegations made in the suit: “In a civil suit, Peter F. Paul, 52, alleges he spoke to Rendell, then chairman of the Democratic National Committee, about getting a presidential pardon during a conversation in which Rendell was soliciting a contribution for the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Paul also contends Rendell told him that by contributing money to the DNC he could get access to President Clinton and thus pitch a proposal to honor a business partner.”

 

Despite the increasing amount of print coverage, America’s major newspapers and magazines were still boycotting this story, as were the television media. CBS via its MarketWatch website finally broke the ice on August 4, 2001 to announce that Paul had been arrested in Brazil to face extradition hearings. I guess to CBS, this only became a story when the antagonist was incarcerated, for it sure wasn’t interested in any of the facts leading up to this point.

 

Yet, true to form, nobody else at the time reported that Hillary Clinton’s largest campaign contributor had been arrested in Brazil.

 

On September 2, 2001, The Dallas Morning News interviewed Larry Klayman, Paul’s legal representative at that time from Judicial Watch, and this subject was briefly addressed. Then, on October 21, the Miami Herald’s business section did a large, 1757-word piece about Paul, his legal issues, and his past.

 

As 2001 drew to a close, the Associated Press came out of hibernation on December 12 to publish its first report on this subject. As one would imagine, it wasn’t very good news for Paul: “A campaign donor who sued former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton for not abiding to an alleged agreement lost the first round of a legal dispute. Superior Court Judge Aurelio Munoz dismissed the civil lawsuit Tuesday because Peter Paul has been indicted in a criminal case.”

 

For sixteen months, AP hadn’t published one article concerning this whole sordid affair; the Clintons win a court decision, and the wire service is all over it.

 

Yet, the bulk of the media were still in blackout mode. Although Hillary represented citizens served by the New York Times, the Old Gray Lady had still not published one word regarding this issue, and not one of the reports filed by any media had yet made it to the front page. Beyond this, “the most trusted name in news” had still not mentioned anything about this matter since it began in August 2000. Not one word.

 

Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and contributing writer to the Free Market Project. He is also contributing editor for the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters.org. Noel welcomes feedback at nsheppard@costlogic.com.

 

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Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and contributing writer to the Free Market Project. He is also contributing editor for the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters.org. Noel welcomes feedback at nsheppard@costlogic.com.

 

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