The ConWeb's New Favorite Convicted Felon
WorldNetDaily and NewsMax tout a convicted criminal's story in yet another attempt to bash the Clintons.
By Terry Krepel
The list of nefarious characters the ConWeb associates with just keeps growing.
Both WorldNetDaily and NewsMax played up the charges filed Jan. 7 against David Rosen, former finance director for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, regarding an August 2000 fund-raiser. The event's organizer was Aaron Tonken, who, as the WorldNetDaily story notes, "is currently in prison for his role in organizing the event a tribute to then-President Bill Clinton and starring Cher, Patti LaBelle, Sugar Ray, Toni Braxton, Melissa Etheridge, Michael Bolton, Paul Anka and Diana Ross."
As its non-disclosure about Tonken's WND connection indicates, WND is also loath to tell the full story about Tonken's offenses. As the U.S. Department of Justice has stated, Tonken was sentenced last August to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay $3.8 million in restitution on one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud. According to the department, "Tonken falsely represented to donors and underwriters that their contributions would pay event expenses or would benefit charities. In fact, Tonken used the contributions for his personal benefit, including payment of personal loans and the purchase of luxury items."
Yes, this is the criminal whom WND trusts to make accusations about the Clintons.
But he's not the only criminal to do so. There's also Peter Paul, the businessman who hosted the Clinton fund-raiser. A Jan. 8 WND article and a Jan. 10 NewsMax article both tout Paul's role in implicating Rosen. One thing those stories don't tell you, however: Paul's own criminal record and current legal problems.
As Salon.com detailed, Paul's past criminal record includes 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. He later became a Hollywood player, getting involved in a company founded by Spider-Man creator Stan Lee. Paul is accused of masterminding a scheme to turn Lee's company into a front for a $25 million stock manipulation scam, moving money around to artificially inflate the company's stock price. The company collapsed in 2000. The company's former vice president was sentenced by a federal judge in Los Angeles to 6 1/2 years in prison for his role in the scam, and his brother, a former Merrill Lynch financial consultant, got two years.
Paul is awaiting trial; he has declared his innocence and insists he is the victim of a government plot to silence him because of his work with covert government operatives. However, U.S. officials had to spend two years extraditing Paul from Brazil, where he had fled to avoid the charges. Paul has retained Clinton-hating Judicial Watch, which has unsurprisingly been playing up the Clinton angle in a bid to free their client.
Despite Paul's shady past and the current legal cloud hanging over his head -- and supplanting James Traficant as the ConWeb's favorite convicted felon -- people like WND's Joseph Farah seem to believe every word he has to say, especially if it bashes a Clinton. "How could someone like Peter Paul be ignored by the Justice Department when he's got the smoking-gun documents to nail Bill and Hillary?" Farah write in an Aug. 10, 2001, column. Um, perhaps because he's a convicted felon facing new charges of defrauding people out of millions of dollars, he fled the country to avoid charges, and he should be suspected of saying whatever it takes to keep his butt out of jail?
But we're talking about the Clintons here, so we can't expect ConWeb stalwarts (and rabid Clinton-haters) like Farah to apply logical thinking. We wouldn't be a bit surprised to hear that Farah has offered Paul a book deal to tell his story; after all, what's one more criminal on the WND payroll?