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Peter Paul and Sen. Hillary Clinton (photo: hillcap.org)
As Hillary Clinton positions herself for a presidential run, a former fund-raiser is moving ahead with a lawsuit claiming the New York senator orchestrated the largest campaign-finance fraud ever by an American political campaign.
In an interview with WorldNetDaily, Los Angeles millionaire lawyer and businessman Peter Franklin Paul asserted Clinton failed to declare to the Federal Election Commission more than $2 million in contributions – a massive omission he believes prevented her 2000 senatorial campaign from going bankrupt in the crucial final weeks.
Paul has filed a civil suit charging Sen. Clinton and her husband, former President Clinton, with fraud, coercion and conspiracy. California courts so far have denied the Clintons’ motions to dismiss, and Paul expects the case to proceed at the beginning of the year, just as Hillary Clinton prepares to defend her Senate seat.
“This public servant, who is sworn to uphold the Constitution, is the biggest violator of the fundamental principles and statutes relating to fair elections and honest government,” Paul told WND. “She needs to be dealt with in a way that will show this country and elected officials in Washington that everybody is accountable to the rule of law.”
Paul, who co-founded the Stan Lee Media company with the Marvel Comics creator, said several of his key allegations were corroborated during the recent trial of David Rosen, the former national finance director of Sen. Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign.
Rosen was acquitted of making false statements to the federal government, but the trial established that Paul contributed more than $1.2 million of his personal funds to Clinton’s campaign in an attempt to persuade President Clinton to become a spokesman for his businesses when he left office.
“No one denied major fraud had been committed; they just didn’t think Rosen could be culpable alone,” Paul said.
The Clintons with Peter and Andrea Paul (photo: hillcap.org)
Paul points to evidence in the trial showing the FEC statements were false, and he believes Hillary Clinton, herself, ultimately was responsible.
The civil suit, he says, is the only way to compel testimony from Sen. Clinton.
WND spoke with a secretary for Sen. Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, but Kendall did not reply to a request for comment on Paul’s allegations.
Paul, supported by the public-interest law firm, U.S. Justice Foundation, or USJF, also alleges Bill Clinton reneged on a $17 million deal to work for his Internet companies.
USJF director Gary Kreep said his group is gearing up an effort to continue supporting the ongoing civil litigation that began in 2003 when Paul was represented by Judicial Watch.
The costs are enormous, Paul says, characterizing the case as one citizen going up against the biggest and most powerful law firms in Washington in a multi-million-dollar undertaking.
After examining Paul’s case, Kreep said he was convinced the effort is worthwhile.
“It’s very clear there’s a fund-raising scam here,” he said.
Referring to Paul’s $1.2 million contribution, Kreep told WND, “The law is clear. They must report it, and if they don’t report it, they must return it. The Clintons think they are above the law.”
USJF has set up a website on Paul’s case, The Hillary Clinton Accountability Project. Paul also is producing a documentary using five hours of home videos that show him with the Clintons and is preparing a book co-written by Insight magazine editor Paul Rodriguez, who wrote several investigative stories on the finance scandal.
The civil suit’s charges arise from the largest fund-raising event during Sen. Clinton’s campaign – an Aug. 12, 2000, Hollywood Gala Salute to President Clinton, which featured performances by Cher, Diana Ross, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge, Sugar Ray and Michael Bolton.
Paul says the event cost close to $2 million. The government acknowledges it cost more than $1.2 million to host and raised $1 million in “hard money” contributions.
In addition, he claims, the fair-market value of the entertainment he provided amounted to another $1 million in contributions.
But the campaign reported $366,000. If the full amount had been reported, the campaign, according to the law, would have been forced to turn over $800,000 in badly needed hard money during the final weeks of the campaign, Paul says.
He charges Hillary Clinton not only knew of the actions taken by her finance director, she directed those actions and others in violation of federal campaign statutes and regulations.
“There are two incontrovertible facts,” Paul said. “She has to amend the fraudulent FEC returns, and she has to refund illegal contributions that resulted because of those false returns. And no one is holding her accountable. Not the Justice Department, not the Senate Ethics Committee, not the FEC, not the IRS, nobody.”
Paul says that by 2001, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and then-head of the Criminal Division Michael Chertoff were aware of Hillary Clinton’s role in “inducing me to become her largest contributor and hiding that through deceptive statements to the Washington Post, FEC, IRS, the Senate and through false reports.”
A spokesman for Sen. Clinton told the Washington Post in stories published Aug. 15 and 17, 2001, that Paul had nothing to do with the Hollywood fund-raiser and that she hardly knew him. Clinton also has noted that she returned a contribution from Paul of $2,000.
But Paul points out that immediately after the Washington Post articles were published, Sen. Clinton, President Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Clinton wrote him personal notes of thanks for his fund-raising work and then two days later asked him for another $100,000.
Also, Sen. Clinton’s spokesman, Howard Wolfson, is on record saying the event cost more than $1 million, Paul argues, even though the initial report was $366,000.
Peter Paul and Sen. Hillary Clinton (Courtesy Hillcap.org)
“All these smoking guns exist in plain view, yet nobody has asked Hillary Clinton to give her opinion of matter,” Paul said.
“Considering the maelstrom around [U.S. Rep.] Tom Delay for a lot less … why is it that Hillary Clinton is immune from any prosecution?”
Paul said he made eight proffers to the Ashcroft Justice Department concerning the allegations but each was rejected.
After Ashcroft and Chertoff resigned, he said, the Justice Department took up the case but focused only on Rosen.
“In the criminal trial, no one disputed that three fraudulent reports were filed by Hillary Clinton, which understated contributions by $1 million and misstated who the contributor was by omitting my name entirely,” Paul said.
As a whistleblower, Paul has vulnerabilities, including a 2001 indictment for securities and bank fraud charges largely related to his use of margined Stan Lee Co. stocks to borrow money for the gala and other events.
But Paul says that after all of the government’s charges against him in that case, it amounted only to pleading guilty to one count of violating Securities and Exchange Commission regulations on the trading of his stock.
He insists his actions did not defraud shareholders, and that, in fact, he lost money in the transaction.
“I traded my stock through registered brokers under the aegis of their compliance people – that apparently violated SEC rules,” Paul said.
The Clinton Justice Department had him jailed while he was in Brazil and then extradited him to the United States. But Paul explained that before he was arrested, he was in daily contact with Chertoff’s office and contends he was doing business in South America, not fleeing justice as some contended.
Brazil has an extradition treaty with the U.S., he also pointed out, and if he wanted to flee, he could have gone to Paraguay.
Under the Carter administration, he was convicted for cocaine possession and an attempt to bilk Cuban dictator Fidel Castro of $8 million.
He ascribes that to politics, arguing he was embraced by Ronald Reagan’s kitchen cabinet, which “realized the problems I had were more related to being gung ho about removing Castro.”
While still on parole, he said, he worked directly with Chief Justice Warren Burger and visited President Reagan in the White House.
“Since that time I’ve had a distinguished career in Hollywood,” he said. “The more the Clintons want to paint me as Attila the Hun, the question becomes, why was I so close to them, hosting the president at a huge event with my name at the top and sitting next to the president for five hours?”
He contends that the Clintons were fully aware of his past, pointing out he was vetted more than eight times by the Secret Service.
“Also, what difference does it make?” he said. “If the facts are true, who cares if it was Saddam Hussein” who made the accusation?
Clinton lawyer Kendall called Paul’s past an impressive history of felonies.
“They know they will lose on facts, which is why they continue to assassinate my character,” Paul said.
Called into court
Paul also argues that in the civil case, the Supreme Court of California was fully aware of Paul’s circumstances when it denied a motion by the Clintons to dismiss, ruling the case had sufficient merit to proceed to trial.
“It’s the first time a president and senator have been called into court for fraud and coercion,” he said.
Paul pointed out that it’s rare to appeal to the Supreme Court a motion to dismiss.
But after the high court denied the motion, Sen. Clinton filed yet another appeal, on the basis of an anti-slap law designed to protect public officials from merit-less lawsuits.
“The only argument she’s making is she has a right to commit fraud,” Paul asserted.
A lower court denied that motion and the Clintons now are appealing to the appellate court.
Oral arguments will take place in the next 60 days.
The Clintons’ strategy, claimed Paul, is to file “these outrageous appeals that they lose but cause endless delays, enabling them to say this was an old matter that happened five years ago.”
Nevertheless, Paul says the Clintons are running out of motions, and he expects that after the last motion is finally denied, the discovery phase will begin.
“I assume that will be the first of year,” he said. “That would be when the Senate re-election campaign begins to heat up. But she is a defendant in a lawsuit, and she cannot avoid it.”