- Accuracy in Media - https://www.aim.org -

A Different Standard for Senator Clinton

Watching Senator Hillary Clinton play to the media, in the controversy over an Arab company managing U.S. ports, provided another important lesson in how our reporters operate by a double standard. After a Senate hearing on the matter, during a “press availability,” reporters were desperate to get Mrs. Clinton’s views on the matter, as if she had any credentials in the area. She spouted forth like an expert, as if she has been on guard against foreign domination and had an established reputation as the high protector of U.S. sovereignty. It was a good performance, like so many she turned in during her husband’s years as president, but it lacked substance.

Why don’t any reporters ask her to explain her husband’s efforts to have the Chinese Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), a subsidiary of the People’s Liberation Army of Communist China, operate the port at Long Beach, California? Shortly before his administration went to bat for COSCO, the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign received several million dollars from Chinese and other Asian sources, clearly a violation of campaign laws [1]. But all that happened was that they had to give some of the money back. Attorney General Janet Reno refused to appoint an Independent Counsel to investigate that, and numerous other crooked fundraising schemes, such as Al Gore’s appearance [2] at what CNN called the “infamous Hsi Lai Temple luncheon.”

Our media don’t want to raise those issues, probably regarding them as “ancient history,” but there’s a more recent matter that should command their attention. There have been new developments in the Hillary-for-Senate campaign finance scandal.

As we pointed out in our November-B AIM Report [3] last year, Hillary had managed to escape the kind of scrutiny that conservatives like Tom DeLay come under when they are accused of ethical transgressions. The report involved her 2000 New York Senatorial campaign underreporting campaign contributions of nearly $2 million. The event in question was a star-studded fundraising gala in Hollywood, organized and largely funded by Peter Paul, a Hollywood player who was a founding partner of an Internet media company. His partner was Stan Lee, the man who created the comic-book character Spiderman. Paul was investigated when the Stan Lee Media company collapsed, and he was alleged to have caused $25 million in losses to banks and other companies.  Paul has been convicted on one count of the allegations, and for a securities violation. But he never gave up his fight against the Clintons.

Peter Paul charged that the Clintons had betrayed him, and the Democratic National Committee was hiding the money that he contributed to them, in cash and in kind. Paul spent about $1.7 million and arranged for other types of contributions, all of which should have been reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by the 2000 Clinton campaign.

Last December the FEC completed its four-year investigation and determined that the campaign committee likely broke the law by underreporting more than $700,000 in campaign contributions from Peter Paul, and had to pay a fine of $35,000, the proverbial slap-on-the-wrist. Earlier last year, Hillary’s campaign finance director, David Rosen, was acquitted on charges that he knowingly filed false reports regarding the Peter Paul fundraiser. There was very little in the media about this, though the Washington Post [4] did report the fine, and Rosen’s acquittal. But what it and the rest of the media failed to report was that the FEC found [5] that “there was probable cause to believe New York Senate 2000 and Andrew Grossman, in his official capacity as treasurer, violated “the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971?” This may help explain how Rosen got off.

It is a sign of Hillary’s status as a media darling that the latest damaging development gets buried in the papers, if it gets mentioned at all.

But isn’t campaign-finance abuse associated with the presumptive front-runner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2008 a major story?