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The Washington Post reports that Senator Hillary Clinton is under investigation by the FBI for campaign irregularities involving fundraising for her 2000 Senate bid and her husband's use of the Presidential pardon. If you didn't see it in the paper, it's buried at A11 of the Post:
The Justice Department is trying to secure the cooperation of an indicted businessman as it pursues Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign for possible fundraising violations, according to interviews and documents.
The FBI told a U.S. magistrate in Los Angeles two years ago that it has evidence Clinton's campaign deliberately understated its fundraising costs so it would have more money to spend on elections. Prosecutors contend that businessman Peter Paul made donations because he wanted a pardon from President Bill Clinton. ...
Paul is a three-time convicted felon who hosted a Hollywood fundraising event for Mrs. Clinton in 2000. He alleges he underwrote most of the costs for the event.
Publicly, Paul claims that nothing untoward occurred, and Paul never did receive a pardon from Bill Clinton. However, his lawyers have spent the last couple of years negotiating with the Justice Department for his testimony, which makes it look like the DoJ has some evidence supporting this allegation which ties Paul to what amounts to money-laundering. The DoJ has tried three times this year to get an interview with Paul, to no avail, at least for now.
Even if nothing else pans out from this negotiation, New York voters may be curious why the Clintons turned to a thrice-convicted felon to do their fundraising, especially in Hollywood. It's not as if Hollywood has a dearth of celebrities willing to raise money for Democrats.
UPDATE: The New York Daily News has more on this story, via The Note:
FBI documents allege that dot-com entrepreneur Peter Paul - an ex-partner of "Spider-Man" creator Stan Lee - illegally pumped $366,000 of his own cash into a Hollywood bash for Clinton in 2000, but falsely claimed it was company money.
Federal prosecutors hope Paul, a three-time felon facing stock fraud charges in New York, will squawk under oath about his claim that Clinton's campaign reported the party cost only $523,000, when the true bill was double that. Understating the cost would have left the campaign more cash to spend on the election, FBI papers obtained by The Associated Press said.
One year ago, Peter Paul returned from a Brazilian exile according to Insight Magazine, ready to spill the beans about Senator Clinton's campaign finances:
Peter F. Paul, the flamboyant Hollywood entrepreneur who says Hillary Rodham Clinton has hidden almost $2 million of in-kind contributions he made to her campaign in 2000, is back from Brazil and promising to raise a ruckus about the New York senator as he fights bizarre securities and bank-fraud charges on which he's been indicted. Aaron Tonken, a political operative in Hollywood and a former protege of Paul under indictment for a variety of alleged sharp deals with the rich and famous, also is promising to tell everything he knows about behind-the-scenes shenanigans of Clinton and many others.
Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the IRS have embarked on extensive civil and criminal probes involving a cast of Damon Runyon characters and securities, tax and bank frauds that appear to center on a now-bankrupt company called Stan Lee Media Inc. (SLM). That company is in turn at the epicenter of charges brought against Stephen and Jonathan Gordon, Paul and at least two stockbrokers/advisers and alleged mob figures who helped to perpetrate government-alleged frauds that were used to finance political fund raising for Hillary and Bill Clinton.
Hat tip to an anonymous CQ reader who has had connections to Stan Lee Media, and who wished to emphasize that the issues do not involve the Spiderman creator himself. More as my research continues ...
UPDATE II: Via Free Republic, a perhaps-unrelated item from August involving another Hollywood producer who raised funds for both Clintons, and who went to jail for five years on fraud charges:
A HOLLYWOOD fundraiser who organised events featuring such celebrities as former US president Bill Clinton was today jailed for more than five years for fraud.
Aaron Tonken, 38, was sentenced to 63 months behind bars after admitting fraudulently diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars destined for charity galas and using the cash to pay off his own credit card bills. ...
Mr Rubin [Tonken's attorney] also said it was unclear if celebrities, some of whom reportedly took large cash payments and gifts from Tonken in exchange for appearing at events, could be guilty of wrongdoing.
During his time as a top fundraiser, Tonken helped arrange events for Mr Clinton and his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in August 2000.
Tonken struck a secret plea deal with prosecutors that resulted in today's sentencing by US District Judge Dale Fischer in Los Angeles.
I wonder what that secret plea deal could have entailed -- and if it could be related to the same investigation that has the FBI interested in Peter Paul?Sphere It View blog reactions
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