Accuracy in Media

If it weren?t for Fox News there would be very little TV coverage of some of the more significant ongoing Clinton scandals. Fox News Sunday with Tony Snow, for example, consistently provides a venue for conservative viewpoints and some of the leading critics of the administration. The show recently showed how the Justice Department was handling the outstanding campaign fund-raising issues, and the light sentences being given to some of the key figures. Fox News reporter Carl Cameron has been virtually alone among TV reporters investigating this story.

He reported the status of several of the ongoing cases, including John Huang, Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung and Maria Hsia, said to have ties to Chinese intelligence. “Each raised illegal Chinese and foreign contributions to help the president’s re-election, but will get probation or off scot-free. An inspector general’s report says overall the Justice Department blew it.”

Hsia was involved in the Buddhist temple fundraiser attended by the vice president, where illegal contributions were laundered. California Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Mansfield launched the first investigation but was ordered to stop and told that an independent counsel should handle it by the head of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, Lee Radek. Radek then told Reno that an independent counsel wasn?t needed. The investigation stalled and the nuns destroyed evidence, later admitting it was to protect Al Gore.

Cameron reported about Charlie Trie, another Clinton friend and fundraiser: “FBI surveillance caught documents being shredded at Trie’s Little Rock home. Additional agents with warrants were sent to stop it but were called back at the last minute because Reno felt they lacked probable cause. Shredding continued. Trie has plea bargained to an expected probation sentence to be handed down in two weeks. Thus the Justice Department investigation into illegal Chinese campaign contributions is expected to end.”

This just scratches the surface. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee was a guest on the same show. He has generally been very forgiving of Janet Reno?s handling of matters at Justice. But this day he took off his gloves. “This is the most politicized Justice Department I can remember in the whole time I’ve been in the United States Senate in 23 years,” he declared. He also claimed to have information that most of the people named now want to tell their stories about what really went on with fund-raising for the DNC, but that the Justice Department has brushed it aside.

AP reporter Pete Yost reported that the normal random assignment of these cases to judges has been dropped. The cases involving Clinton friends and Democratic donors are being assigned to judges appointed by Clinton who have records of going easy on Clinton?s friends. Also, columnist Bob Novak recently obtained a Justice Department memo listing politically sensitive “ongoing” or “pending inactive investigations” that have long been dormant. He suggests that they are being kept open in order to keep Congress from investigating them. He says the list was released by mistake and the Justice Department is trying to retrieve all copies.

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