A Hollywood producer who says he donated more than $2 million to Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2000 senatorial campaign wants his money back, accusing the former first lady of lying on federal election reports about the amount of cash he raised for her Senate race.
Peter F. Paul, during an unusual telephone news conference at the National Press Club, said he has asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate Mrs. Clinton's "false and misleading" FEC campaign reports.
Speaking to reporters via a telephone hookup with his home in Brazil, Mr. Paul -- a fugitive who was named last month on a federal grand jury indictment on charges of securities fraud -- said Mrs. Clinton's campaign reported donations by him totaling $2,000, when in fact he had contributed nearly $2 million.
"It's time for Mrs. Clinton to accept responsibility as a federal elected official and do the right thing according to the letter of the law," Mr. Paul said. "Her failure to include my donations in her FEC report makes me a co-conspirator. I want her to comply with FEC rules."
His attorney, Larry Klayman, chairman and general counsel of Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm, said Mr. Paul gave nearly $2 million in cash and "in-kind donations" to Mrs. Clinton's senatorial campaign by helping finance a "Hollywood Tribute" to President Bill Clinton last year.
Mr. Paul, who co-founded the now-bankrupt Stan Lee Media Inc. with comic book creator Stan Lee, was accused June 12 of securities fraud by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, N.Y. He and three others were charged with manipulating $25 million worth of Stan Lee shares through nominee accounts, set up to conceal their trading.
Since his indictment, Mr. Paul has been trying to make a deal with prosecutors to take the sting out of the government's case.
"The story underlying this case has no superheroes, not is it in any way comical," said U.S. Attorney Alan Vinegrad when the indictment was issued. "Rather, it is an all-too-real and sad account of greedy securities fraud perpetrators and unwitting victims."
Mr. Vinegrad's office yesterday declined to respond to comments by Mr. Klayman during the news conference describing the Brooklyn prosecutor as a "political hack."
Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, was not available yesterday for comment, although she previously has denied any wrongdoing.
Mr. Klayman said the FEC complaint charges that Mrs. Clinton made false statements to the federal agency regarding campaign contributions she received from Mr. Paul, adding that Mrs. Clinton and her staff "intentionally failed to report in-kind contributions" for the Hollywood tribute and other events sponsored and financed by Mr. Paul.
Mr. Klayman said he has "contacted" Attorney General John Ashcroft about the case and that several persons who helped the former Missouri senator be confirmed as attorney general are "demanding that he do something" about the case -- although he did not elaborate.
Mr. Klayman said he talked with several conservative organizations about putting pressure on President Bush and the White House to "force the Justice Department to do its job," although he declined to outline specifically what pressure was being applied. He denied that the pressure involved any threats that the conservative groups would withhold financial aid or other support.
"I don't threaten people," Mr. Klayman said, although he added that he did not believe the White House wanted to pursue any case against Mrs. Clinton.