Clintons with Peter Paul and his wife Andrea (Courtesy Hillcap.org)
A California appeals court has set oral arguments for an appeal of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s dismissal from a $17 million fraud case in which her husband already is a defendant.
Along with ruling whether the New York Democrat should also be a defendant in the case, the court will be asked to decide whether she committed a felony by soliciting campaign contributions of more than $1.2 million.
As WND has reported, Peter Franklin Paulclaims in his civil fraud suit the former president destroyed his entertainment company to get out of a $17 million deal in which Clinton promised to promote the firm in exchange for stock, cash options and massive contributions to his wife’s 2000 campaign. Paul contends he was directed by the Clintons and Democratic Party leaders to foot the bill for a lavish Hollywood gala and fund-raiser prior to the 2000 election that eventually cost him nearly $2 million.
Paul’s legal representation, the U.S. Justice Foundation, has submitted to the California Court of Appeal a videotape of a July 2000 phone call it claims shows Sen. Clinton – despite denials throughout six years of investigation – taking an active role in the production of the fundraiser. Paul contends Sen. Clinton’s participation in soliciting performers and planning the event would make his more than $1.2 million in contributions a direct donation to her Senate campaign rather than to a joint fundraising committee, violating federal statutes that limit “hard money” contributions to a candidate to $2,000 per person. Knowingly accepting or soliciting $25,000 or more in a calendar year is a felony carrying a prison sentence of up to five years.
The oral arguments are scheduled for Sept. 7 at the Ronald Reagan State Building in Los Angeles.
Sen. Clinton was dismissed from the case April 7, 2006, by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aurelio Munoz on the basis of the state’s anti-SLAPP law, which, under the First Amendment, protects politicians from frivolous lawsuits during their election campaigns.
Paul’s attorney, Colette Wilson of the U.S. Justice Foundation, has argued Sen. Clinton violated the federal code and, therefore, according to the law, would not be covered by the anti-SLAPP statute.
Watch video of July 17, 2000, phone call
In reply to Paul’s filing of the videotape, Sen. Clinton’s legal team contended the claim that it captures the New York Democrat and her campaign in the act of committing a felony is “pure fantasy” and “much ado about nothing.”
The Clinton brief said, “To the extent that it is authentic, the videotape shows that Senator Clinton is gracious to her supporters, that she has a sense of humor, and nothing more.”
Wilson maintains the reply fails to address the main point – that Sen. Clinton directly solicited the funds and applied some control over them, in violation of section 441 of the Federal Election Commission code.
The code says, “Expenditures made by any person in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of a candidate or their agents shall be considered to be a contribution to such candidate,” and, therefore, subject to limits.
Wilson argues that while joint campaign committees such as New York Senate 2000 have helped candidates get around the $2,000 limit on contributions directly to their campaigns, the FEC regulation considers any donation specifically requested by a candidate to be the same as a direct contribution to the candidate.