Tuesday, May 10, 2005

BLONDE JOKE II: HILLARY IN THE NEWS. Senator Hillary Clinton normally likes to be in the news. She has risen to a prominent political position as the wife of a former president, senator, and presidential hopeful.

Now, however, she is in the news as the possible recipient of illegal campaign funds. Her former finance director, David Rosen, is on trial and facing a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. He is accused of filing false campaign finance statements.

The case centers on a “gala” thrown to raise money for Ms. Clinton’s campaign for the United States Senate. Mr. Rosen is accused of understating the cost of the event in order to increase the amount of funds available to the campaign. The case was investigated by the FBI. The issue came to light when Peter Paul plead guilty to securities fraud in March and told the FBI he gave money to Hillary Clinton that she did not report. He claimed to have spent $1.1 million, while Rosen reported $400,000. Paul, by the way, is a felon with 3 convictions. (Strange choice of donors, heh?) Paul claims now that Hillary Clinton defrauded him.

Paul said "One thing about Hillary, she was very attentive to the little details. I believe she is genuinely considerate in that way. The very next day [after the Hollywood fund-raiser], she sent me a thank-you note, partially handwritten, in which she said: 'Your ongoing support of my Senate candidacy is especially important to me, and I am grateful for your continued friendship.”

Senator Clinton will not be helped by a new book written by the man who organized the Hollywood gala. His name is Aaron Tonken, and he is in jail. His book is called "King of Cons: Exposing the Dirty, Rotten Secrets of the Washington Elite and Hollywood Celebrities". Sublety is not his forte.

Tonken organized the event and obtained the presence of some celebrity types, including Cher, Patti LaBelle, Sugar Ray, Toni Braxton, Melissa Etheridge, Michael Bolton, Paul Anka and Diana Ross. Entertainers like politicians. Politicians like entertainers. They have a lot in common. They both like publicity and money.

Tonken also bought gifts for the Clintons. He gave Bill a custom made humidor and a handmade gold watch. He gave Hillary a necklace that cost eight thousand dollars. However, Hillary did not like it and returned it.

Tonken is now a felon, also. He plead guilty year to mail fraud and wire fraud. He was sentenced to 63 months in prison with a whopping $3.79 million in restitution to the donors and event underwriters he cheated. Tonken claims much of the money he took was to buy expensive gifts for the attending celebrities, including chartered jets. Everything comes at a price.

When Tonken was caught, he implicated Rosen in the fraud. Tonken said "David Rosen, Hillary Clinton's director of finance, worked out of our offices and knew about every dime that was being spent. More than that, he participated in the spending."

Tonken said he specifically told Rosen about campaign fraud. He said he told Rosen about his idea to launder a big donation to make it appear as many donations from small donors. He wanted to ask a Democratic donor to donate $40 thousand, deposit the money in one of Tonken’s accounts, give the money out in smaller amounts to 20 or 30 people who would donate it to the campaign. Tonken said Rosen approved the scam.

Tonken further said the idea to minimize expense reporting was Rosen’s. The FBI affidavit in the case states: "The costs exceeded $1 million, but the required forms filed by New York Senate 2000 ... months after the event incorrectly disclosed that the cost of the event was only $523,000."

Tonken also implicated Hillary Clinton. He said he explained to her what he was doing and how he was doing it while he was alone with her during a campaign in Los Angeles. He said "I told her about virtually every penny I'd spent on her behalf. I let her know what I was doing and had done for each event of hers. I spoke about the money and what a pleasure and honor it was to spend it on her candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Once and for all, I wanted it clear in her mind who was the person really doing things for her."

Tonken maintains that he continued to commit fraud after the FBI contacted him and sought his cooperation. Knowing the investigation was being conducted, he said he continued to conduct charity events where fraud occurred.

Between the trial and the book, lots of light should shine on Ms. Clinton’s fund raising.
Another interesting thing will be to see how much the mainstream press reports. They have been active in pursuit of Tom Delay. Let’s see if they use the same vigor to pursue the current Hero of the Left.
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