Hillary’s History of Accepting Contributions from Felons Ignored

If it turned out that any of the major Republican presidential candidates had not only taken contributions from the recently surrendered fugitive Norman Hsu, but also had received donations from a felon during a prior campaign, do you think it would be reported?

Probably on front pages and newscasts for days, correct?

Well, although ABC's Brian Ross did mention during Friday's "World News with Charles Gibson" that Hillary Clinton's "kickoff senate fund-raiser in 2000 was organized by a convicted felon," not one news agency has mentioned since Wednesday's Hsu revelations the name of this individual, all the particulars, or that there is still a lawsuit pending against the Clintons concerning the matter.

Not one.

For those interested, the New Media Journal did a seven-part series about Peter F. Paul last March with information about Hillary's largest benefactor which the media have almost completely ignored for seven years (emphasis added throughout, videos describing the details also available here, here, and here):

Our story begins on August 12, 2000, when a man whose name is unfamiliar to probably 99 percent of the American people threw a fabulously luxurious and massively expensive party for the Clintons in Brentwood, California, a posh area just outside of Hollywood.

In attendance, as well as performing for the Clintons' entertainment, were such Hollywood luminaries as Cher, Shirley MacLaine, Whoopi Goldberg, Patti LaBelle, Jimmy Smits, Sugar Ray, Red Buttons, Toni Braxton, Angelica Houston, Melissa Etheridge, Dylan McDermott, Alfre Woodard, and Michael Bolton. Also on hand were John Travolta, Patrick Swayze, newlyweds Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Milton Berle, Olivia Newton-John, Carol Burnett, David Spade, Laura Dern, Michael York, Frances Fisher, Angie Dickinson, Rod Steiger, Kathy Bates, Camryn Manheim, Ed Asner, Robert Wuhl, Richard Lewis, and Annabelle Weston.

The event cost $1,000 per ticket, and $25,000 per couple for the dinner. All of the funds raised were going to Hillary's New York senatorial campaign, although the gala was dubbed as a going away party for the president inasmuch as he was in the final months of his second term.

After the festivities, People magazine reported: "In politics, there are Parties--and there are parties. The place to be--by a landslide--on Aug. 12 was the Robert Taylor Ranch in Los Angeles, where more than 1,000 Friends of Bill, from Gregory Peck to Brad Pitt, kicked off a Democratic National Convention week of high-profile bashes (including one on the set of NBC's The West Wing) with a salute to President Clinton." On the same day, US magazine did a spread of the gala as well.

This event was so huge that The New York Times included details about it in a front page pre-Democratic presidential convention story two days before it occurred: "The headline event is Saturday night at a private Los Angeles estate. More than 1,400 people will attend a salute to the president, with the proceeds going to Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaign." As amazing as it might seem, this was the last time the Old Gray Lady would refer to this gala, or any of the fraudulent campaign finance activities surrounding it until February 2005.

Who was the man responsible for this gala? Peter F. Paul, a former international lawyer, entrepreneur, and entertainment mogul with ties to presidential administrations dating back to Richard Nixon.

[...]

Why the blackout concerning this issue? Well, on top of the indictment of Hillary's campaign finance director, the Clintons are also being sued by Paul in California Superior Court for "fraud, deceit, negligent misrepresentation, unfair business practices, unjust enrichment, and civil conspiracy," and it appears that America's press are not interested in reporting the existence of these cases or the facts surrounding them.

[...]

As the root issue for this lawsuit is noncompliance with federal election laws and what constituted campaign finance fraud, it is important for the reader to understand at the onset some of the economics behind this gala fundraiser, and how they ended up being falsely reported to the Federal Election Committee.

The contributions received that fateful August evening in 2000 according to Paul's lawsuit totaled $1.5 million. Paul's costs associated with the fundraiser, which by FEC law constituted contributions as well, were $1.9 million -- "not including the fair market value of his own services in acting as executive producer of the event and the fair market value, estimated at an additional $1 million, of the services rendered by eight (8) world class artists who performed at the concert portion of the event."

Hadn't heard about any of this? Well, how could you, for media outlets all around the country have been ignoring it for years. In fact, the cover-up began almost immediately when it was first revealed that Paul had previous legal troubles:

Likely before all the hangovers caused by this gala were recovered from, The Washington Post dropped a bombshell that none of the participants expected. On August 15, 2000, Post writer Lloyd Grove wrote the following in his "This Just In" column:

"Is Hillary Clinton soft on crime? We certainly hope not, even though convicted felon Peter Paul--who served three years in prison two decades ago after pleading guilty to cocaine possession and trying to swindle $8.7 million out of the Cuban government-- helped organize Saturday's star-glutted $1 million fundraising gala for Clinton's Senate race at businessman Ken Roberts's Brentwood estate. Paul, co-founder of Stan Lee Media, told us in a statement: ‘As a young international lawyer and active anti-communist, working in a politically charged environment, I got caught up in a vicious interagency rivalry concerning a covert operation against Castro's Cuba.' He added that he only produced the gala and hasn't given or raised money for the first lady's New York campaign. And we will not be accepting any contributions from him,' Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson vowed."

This statement by Wolfson was quite curious, as it implied that the Clinton campaign was surprised to find out about Paul's past. After all, Hillary was, at that time, married to the president of the United States. Wouldn't the background of anyone throwing a high-profile party for the president, and being allowed to get so close to him and his family be properly vetted by his staff? They didn't check Paul's Social Security number which would have immediately identified his prior convictions? In addition, Paul had previously hosted two fundraising events for Hillary, and one for Vice President Al Gore. How could Paul's past not have properly vetted for these?

This is especially curious given the article that TIME magazine did on February 12, 1979 entitled "The Cuban Coffee Caper," chronicling events that Paul was involved in. Yet, the Clinton administration first found out about Paul's participation in this "caper" when The Washington Post reported it three days after the gala? This appears implausible, and is called into serious question as the article ensues.

So, seven years later, it's been revealed that Clinton has again taken money from a felon. Yet, other than Ross's reference Friday evening, not one media outlet has felt the Senator's involvement with another felon seven years ago is at all newsworthy.

Think the press would give such treatment to Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, or any of the other Republican presidential candidates if they were involved with Hsu and Paul?

No, I don't either.

Readers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with this entire story here and here.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.