Ron Strom is commentary editor of WND, a post he took after serving as a news editor since 2000. Prior to coming on board with WND, Strom worked in politics in California. Married and the father of two homeschool graduates, he has served in leadership positions in his church, local nonprofit boards and in county government.More ↓Less ↑
An associate and friend of Bill Clinton has testified in court he knew about the campaign-finance fraud involving a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser, raising further questions about what the president and then-first lady knew about the scam.
David Rosen, a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign, is on trial in Los Angeles for allegedly lying about the true cost of a 2000 Hollywood gala event attended by the candidate and then-President Clinton.
While Rosen’s attorney claims his client was in the dark about the cost – which the FBI says exceeded $1.2 million – prosecution witness Jim Levin, a friend and fund-raising aide of Bill Clinton who helped organize the event, says Rosen knew the true cost and agreed not to tell federal regulators, as is required. According to the indictment, Rosen reported contributions of about $400,000.
Tom Fitton, president of government watchdog legal group Judicial Watch, was present for Levin’s testimony on Thursday and called it “devastating for the Clintons.”
Levin last week signed an agreement to cooperate with federal prosecutors and plead guilty to bribery and fraud charges in an unrelated case in Chicago.
Fitton told WND: “Levin described himself as a dear, dear friend of the president, whom he met at a birthday party for Hillary in 1997.”
Levin said he later met with the president at his request to discuss fund raising and that “it turned into a personal and business relationship.”
The witness says he then began doing fund raising for the Democratic Party, organizing 30 or 40 events. Levin described Rosen as his “mentor” in politics.
In his testimony, Levin discussed a Chicago meeting that included himself, longtime Hillary aide Kelly Craighead and Rosen.
According to Fitton, Levin testified Rosen said at the meeting: “We didn’t hear that; you didn’t tell me that” while discussing the true cost of a Chicago fund-raiser involving Olivia Newton John.
Noted Fitton: “They’re all talking campaign-finance fraud!”
It was at the Chicago meeting the group discussed the idea of staging the Hollywood gala.
Levin said he later reported directly to Bill Clinton about plans for the star-studded fund-raiser, saying Clinton was excited.
“The president was very impressed,” Levin testified.
Said Fitton: “This is the president’s personal emissary with knowledge of this fraud.”
While Levin testified under cross examination that he had no conversations with the president about the cost of the gala “before the event,” he was not asked about any talk of it after the fund-raiser took place.
“The follow-up question was never asked,” Fitton said.
“Levin largely confirmed everything [former Judicial Watch client] Peter Paul had been saying about the escalating cost, Peter’s constant complaints about it and Rosen’s refusal to deal with it.”
Paul, a former Hollywood Internet entrepreneur and partner of “Spiderman” creator Stan Lee, says he spent nearly $2 million to produce the Hollywood gala and was repeatedly assured that his expenses would be reported to the Federal Election Commission, according to Judicial Watch.
Attorneys at Judicial Watch brought a lawsuit in 2001 on behalf of Paul against Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rosen and other Clinton representatives after Bill Clinton reneged on a $17 million deal to work for Paul’s Internet companies after he left the White House and because Paul’s expenses were not reported to the FEC.
Fitton noted that in the trial little attention is being paid to the question of “what Bill Clinton knew and when he knew it.”
“There are a lot of unasked questions,” he said of the trial.
“Despite the government’s efforts and the judge’s efforts to keep the Clintons out of the trial, it is about the Clintons,” Fitton told WND.
“We’re expected to think that this dear friend of the president [Levin] never had any discussions about this?”
Fitton wonders why neither Craighead nor Levin have been indicted for conspiracy.
“Rosen is being hung out to dry,” he said.
Rosen’s trial resumed today and is expected to take two weeks to complete.