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The Federal Elections Commission is investigating a Hollywood fund-raiser that brought in more than $1 million for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, a source familiar with the probe supplied information about the investigation, which began several weeks ago.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
In addition to the FEC action, the paper reported a federal grand jury in Los Angeles has been examining evidence of wrongdoing by a number of people in connection with the activities of Aaron Tonken, the fund-raising guru who staged the Hillary event.
Sources say Tonken, who in December pleaded guilty to fraud charges involving charity events, is cooperating with investigators.
The Hollywood gala took place in August 2000 on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in L.A. Billed as a tribute to outgoing President Clinton, the event also brought in much-needed cash for Hillary’s campaign, the Times reported.
Peter Paul, an Internet entrepreneur who helped pay for the event, is locked in a court battle with the Clintons over allegations the then-first couple defrauded him in connection with the fund-raiser. According to the report, Paul is one of those being questioned in the FEC probe.
The FEC normally works in secret and would not comment on the investigation for the Times.
Part of Tonken’s current bankruptcy proceedings includes his contention that over $2 million in charity funds was diverted to nearly three dozen Hollywood celebrities and power players.
Philip Dapeer, Tonken’s attorney, tells the paper his client “has been personally threatened.” Tight security was provided at a bankruptcy creditors’ meeting last week. According to the report, Tonken refused to answer some questions at the meeting because California Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s office had served notice that it was considering criminal charges against him.
Tonken is writing a book for WND Books with a working title of “King of Cons: Exposing the Dirty Rotten Scandals of the Washington Elite and Hollywood Celebrities.” The book is due out next year. Negotiations are under way with film producer Michel Shane to make a movie version of the book. Shane was credited as executive producer on the recent Steven Spielberg film “Catch Me If You Can.”