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Allegations trump adjudication where media is concerned

By Frank Salvato
web posted August 27, 2007

The Hill, a publication that covers congressional events in Washington DC, ran a front page story about a lawsuit filed by Leftist blogger Lane Hudson. Hudson, notable for exposing the non-sex scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against former Senator and all-but-announced presidential candidate Fred Thompson. His complaint accused Thompson of breaking the law by violating the FEC's "Testing the Waters" clause. It seems Mr. Hudson now fancies himself some sort of unofficial political "watch-poodle."

The interesting thing about this is that Hudson's partisan and rather obnoxious complaint over Thompson's candidacy (or non-candidacy) was filed within the context of one of the murkier FEC regulations. It is apparent that the mere mention of Thompson's name catapulted what should have been simple blog fodder to the front page of a respectable political publication.

Another interesting aspect – and perhaps a more troubling one – is that the complaint is based on an as of yet unsubstantiated accusation of campaign malfeasance. It infers malfeasance.

This brings to the forefront a logical question. When does the accusation of malfeasance trump the actual adjudication of campaign finance fraud, in particular the biggest case of campaign finance fraud in US history? The answer: When the person at the center of that campaign finance fraud has the surname of Clinton.

As outlined in detail in the seven part series, The Fraudulent Senator, Hollywood businessman Peter F. Paul underwrote a gala event and fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's 2000 senatorial campaign in return for a promise that Bill Clinton would act as a rainmaker for his private company after leaving office. The event netted a sorely needed $1 million in hard money donations for Hillary Clinton's campaign, donations needed to keep the campaign from going broke.

An FEC investigation into documents filed by the Clinton campaign found the amount reported from this event to be grossly under-reported. Adjudications were made and fines were assessed to that effect. Inexplicably, the US Department of Justice never investigated any of the crimes associated with the campaign finance fraud, the largest case of campaign finance fraud in US history.

Ironically, the Clintons never came through for Mr. Paul and his privately held company collapsed a short time after. There is currently a lawsuit pending in California in which Senator Hillary Clinton will be called to testify, barring any legal wrangling to exempt her from fulfilling her obligation to the courts.

Critics of Mr. Paul – many in the mainstream media and left-wing political advocacy communities – point to the fact that he is a convicted felon and routinely dismiss his validated accusations. They completely disregard the fact that when Hillary Clinton was taking the money facilitated by Mr. Paul she never blinked an eye. Neither did she return the money received from the event underwritten by Mr. Paul.

Those who use the "convicted felon" argument in attempting to discredit Mr. Paul's assertions are relativistic. The federal government routinely uses the testimony of convicted felons and criminals to achieve favorable outcomes in trials. You need only to look at the two border agents sitting in jail thanks to the testimony of a confessed drug smuggler and border jumper to prove this point.

Further, the fact that Mr. Paul is a convicted felon (an interesting story in its own right) is irrelevant due to the fact that the FEC documents and investigation proving the campaign finance fraud committed by Hillary Clinton's 2000 senatorial campaign are independent of Mr. Paul. The adjudication of campaign finance malfeasance is based on documents filed and testimony given, generated during an FEC sanctioned investigation. Mr. Paul's felon status has little, if anything to do with the FEC investigation. It is a smoke-screen for those attempting to deflect the public's sitcom attention span away from the crime that was committed.

Where Mr. Hudson's complaint against Senator Thompson is concerned, we can chalk it up to one of two things and maybe a little bit of both. One, he is exhibiting the sad societal norm of being grossly and haughtily impatient, in this instance where the presidential campaign feasibility process is concerned. And two, it is the by-product of a campaign cycle initiated literally a year too early.

In the end, Senator Thompson's exploratory staff will be found to have committed no crimes and no campaign malfeasance and Mr. Hudson will have gotten his name back into the media. I suspect that the latter was the overall goal from the start.

But Hudson's attempt at grabbing the media spotlight by trying to smear a good man for politically opportunist reasons brings to the forefront two disturbing questions. Why didn't the Justice Department pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton – and those of her Senate 2000 campaign staff judged guilty by the FEC – for having perpetrated the largest case of campaign finance fraud in US history? And why does an allegation from a Leftist blogger against a Republican presidential frontrunner – announced or not – get front page attention from a respected political publication when the biggest case of campaign finance fraud in US history did not? ESR

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. His organization, Basics Project, is partnered in producing the first-ever national symposium series on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at oped@newmediajournal.us.


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