First, I saw an article in Saturday's Washington Times -- in the old days, a story that appeared in a Saturday edition was buried from that point forward; now with the 24-hour news cycle, you can't count on that -- headlined "Hillary ex-aide indicted in false campaign filings," which reported:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's former campaign finance director has been named in a federal grand jury indictment in Los Angeles on charges of filing false campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission, the Justice Department said yesterday.
The four-count indictment said the finance director, David Rosen, understated the costs of an Aug. 12, 2000, fund-raising gala in Los Angeles by nearly $500,000, filing fraudulent documents with the FEC to increase the amount of funds available to Mrs. Clinton's "New York Senate 2000" campaign.
Times reporter Jerry Seper goes on to note some of those involved in the event leading to the latest indictment:
The event, staged while the Democratic National Convention was under way in Los Angeles, was billed as the "Hollywood Gala Salute to President William Jefferson Clinton" and was a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton's senatorial campaign.
Two of the event's organizers were Hollywood producer Peter F. Paul and charity fund-raiser Aaron Tonken.
Paul is a convicted felon now facing stock fraud charges in New York. He reportedly has been cooperating with federal prosecutors. Tonken pleaded guilty in 2003 to federal charges of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors and underwriters of Hollywood events he organized — including the August 2000 gala.
A sworn statement by Paul in a pending lawsuit against the Clintons, Mr. Rosen and Tonken said a host of Hollywood celebrities attended the Clinton gala, including Shirley MacLaine, John Travolta, Cher, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Swayze, Larry King and George Hamilton.
Second, today I received a news release from the publisher of a book by Aaron Tonken, who is now in federal prison. It says (in part):
King of Cons: Exposing the Dirty Rotten Secrets of the Washington Elite and Hollywood Celebrities goes deep inside the event, which was created by Tonken to connect Hollywood’s wealthiest with its most famous celebrities and President Clinton. The guest list that night was a who’s who of entertainment royalty, including John Travolta, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Danson, Jimmy Smits, Anjelica Huston and Dylan McDermott. The program featured star-studded performances by the likes of Sugar Ray, Toni Braxton, Melissa Etheridge, Michael Bolton, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle and Cher. No expense was spared, except when it came time to report those expenses to the feds….
The book tells in sordid detail of the relationship between Tonken and Rosen. Tonken writes, "David Rosen, Hillary Clinton's director of finance, worked out of our offices and knew about every dime that was being spent. More than that, he participated in the spending."
And then it gives a juicy laundry-list of political and entertainment celebrities whose misdeeds are included in Tonken's tell-all memoir:
Celebrities whose outrageous behavior is mentioned in the book include Paula Abdul, Roseanne Barr, Tony Bennett (and son, Danny), Milton Berle, Ray Charles, Cher, Natalie Cole, Joan Collins, Bill Cosby, Rodney Dangerfield, Tony Danza, former President Gerald Ford, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Leeza Gibbons, Melanie Griffith, Liza Minnelli, Rosa Parks, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Schwimmer, Sylvester Stallone, Rod Stewart, Sharon Stone, Suzanne Somers.
Did you ever think you'd see the words "former President Gerald Ford," "Rosa Parks," and "David Schwimmer" in the same sentence?
Now here's some real juicy gossip: The book includes a huge lie by omission. The gist is that, despite a manuscript that included the whole truth, the publisher chose to eliminate all references in the book to the fact that Aaron Tonken is gay, that the "prostitutes" hired by Tonken were all male prostitutes, and that Tonken's homosexuality was well known to the celebrities, fundraisers, lawyers, and law enforcement officials who did business (or otherwise dealt) with him.
Word is that Tonken requested that the publisher, Nelson Current (formerly WND Books) remove all references to his being gay in King of Cons on the eve of his arrival in federal prison. He was afraid that, if word got out among the other convicts that he was gay, he might end up as somebody's bitch -- or worse.
This is the sort of story that gets circulated by John Aravosis or Michael Rogers -- if it involves gay Republicans. Since Aaron Tonken was a Democratic party-boy and fundraiser, his story is unlikely to be highlighted by Aravosis, Rogers, or other famous outers, like Michelangelo Signorile.
Stay tuned. This story could blow up even more. Whether Hillary Clinton or some other VIPs get blown up with it remains to be seen.
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