Amid the revelations that Hillary Clinton used a personal email account to conduct her business as U.S. secretary of state, video has been unearthed of the then-first lady declaring at a 2000 fundraiser for her senatorial campaign that she didn’t “do email” because of the many investigations targeting her and her husband.
Her candid remarks in a lunch conversation with the co-host of the event at the exclusive Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills, California – who also was her biggest donor by a magnitude of four, contributing more than $1.2 million – not only suggest a possible motivation for shielding her communications as secretary of state, they also indicate she wasn’t forthright with investigators in a case that resulted in her campaign being fined by the Federal Elections Commission and admitting it hid campaign contributions of more than $800,000.
“As much as I’ve been investigated and all of that, you know, why would I – I don’t even want – why would I ever want to do email?” Clinton said in an exchange June 9, 2000, with event co-host Peter F. Paul that was captured on home video and featured in a ABC News “20/20” report by Brian Ross.
The New York Times reported Monday that Clinton’s use of a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.
Clinton was named in a lawsuit brought by Paul for allegedly directing to her 2000 Senate campaign an illegal, in-kind contribution from Paul that included the Spago fundraiser, a tea hosted at the Beverly Hills home of socialite Cynthia Gershman and a lavish, A-list, million-dollar-plus Hollywood gala honoring her husband, President Bill Clinton. At the trial of Clinton’s finance director for the 2000 senatorial campaign, David Rosen, the government told the jury Paul personally gave more than $1.2 million to produce the events.
In a sworn declaration presented by her counsel, David Kendall, in Los Angeles Superior Court in April 2006, Clinton testified she barely knew Paul.
Paul, however, has extensive video corroborating his contention he and Clinton spent hours together and sat next to each other at the fundraising events, as evidenced by the conversation about email. Moreover, video of the fundraisers also demonstrates that contrary to Clinton’s testimony that she met Paul only in 2000, she recalled a memorable event with Paul in 1993.
WND reached Paul by telephone, but he declined to comment, citing the terms of a confidential settlement in the civil fraud suit against the Clintons.
The Paul fundraisers were featured in the Citizens United film “Hillary: The Movie,” which was central to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court campaign-finance case, Citizens United v. FEC. The film drew attention along with a promotional video of a documentary on Paul’s case against the Clintons that went viral on the Web and became the No. 1 Google video for three months in late 2007 when Clinton was the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
See Hillary Clinton discuss emailing in June 2000:
As WND reported in 2005, Paul’s suit against the Clintons alleged they sabotaged the media company he formed with comic-book legend Stan Lee to get out of a $17 million agreement made with Bill Clinton to serve as an international promoter for the company after he left the White House. Paul was indicted in June 2001 for manipulating the price of the stock in his company, Stan Lee Media, as it was collapsing. A judge determined Paul didn’t profit from the attempt to save his company, but he accepted a plea bargain and served three years in prison. As WND reported in 2012, Paul charged Attorney General Eric Holder and his Justice Department obstructed justice by reneging on a sentencing agreement.
“Hillary is carrying out her promise to finally destroy my family to punish me for exposing the corruption that elected her to the Senate,” Paul told WND at the time.
The Clintons were effusive in their praise of Paul until just days after the August 2000 Hollywood gala, when the Washington Post reported Paul’s 1970s criminal convictions in a story that accused the senator of being soft on crime. Clinton continued, however, to quietly solicit money from Paul and sent him letters expressing friendship.
Paul notes the Clintons were fully aware of his conviction in a scheme to undermine the regime of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro during the Carter administration, pointing out he was vetted more than eight times by the Secret Service. Prior to the decision to produce the Hollywood gala, the Secret Service also came to Paul’s home in Calabasas, California, to prepare for a planned overnight visit by President Clinton. Paul made $150,000 in improvements to meet Secret Service requirements. He ascribes the prosecution 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.” His convictions did not prevent him from being appointed to the National Bicentennial Commission, working directly with its chairman, Chief Justice Warren Burger, and visiting President Reagan in the White House. Reagan later helped promote Paul’s American Spirit Foundation, which Paul co-founded with actor Jimmy Stewart.
See a longer segment of the “20/20” report: