Skip to comments.Clinton s Money Trail Roger Clinton s mysterious money
Posted on 03/20/2002 7:51:33 AM PST by gubamyster
Clintons Money Trail Roger Clintons mysterious money.
March 20, 2002 9:05 a.m.
When the House Government Reform Committee released its report on the presidential pardon scandal last week, the consensus reaction was that it contained little new information on the controversy that consumed the end of Bill Clinton's presidency. But in fact, the voluminous report it's as thick as a big-city phone directory is filled with new information. It's just that some of the most intriguing details aren't about pardons at all.
Among them are new revelations about the tangled finances of the former president's brother, Roger Clinton. In the course of the pardon investigation, committee lawyers uncovered unexplained deposits of hundreds of thousands of dollars in blank traveler's checks in his bank account. They also found evidence that Clinton a rock and roll singer, but never a terribly successful one was paid enormous sums by foreign governments for performances overseas. And they discovered a $15,000 money transfer from Bill Clinton to his brother at a time when Roger Clinton faced growing pressure to tell authorities what he knew about the pardon matter.
Blank Checks When committee investigators examined Roger Clinton's bank records for the years 1998 to 2000, they discovered that he had deposited large numbers of traveler's checks from foreign countries into his bank account money that appeared to have nothing to do with Clinton's attempts to win pardons for friends and associates in the last months of his brother's administration. According to the committee's report, the traveler's checks were blank when they were given to Roger Clinton; he both signed and countersigned them when depositing them into his account. "Usually, the individual who purchases traveler's checks signs them when they are purchased, so that they cannot be stolen or used by an unauthorized individual," the report notes. "The fact that the buyer [of the traveler's checks] did not sign them and gave them to Clinton blank suggests that the funds were intentionally provided to Clinton in a manner calculated to conceal their origin."
The sums were considerable. According to the report, on December 1, 1998, Clinton deposited $15,000 in American Express traveler's checks in his account. The checks had been purchased in Taiwan by a person named Huang Xian Wen committee investigators were never able to figure out who that was. One week later, on December 8, 1998, Clinton deposited $23,000 in American Express traveler's checks, also purchased by Huang Xian Wen in Taiwan.
On December 15, Clinton deposited four separate groups of traveler's checks. First was $90,000 in Citicorp checks from an unknown source in Taiwan. Next was $29,000, also in checks from an unknown source. Then there was $4,000 in Visa checks from a person named Lin Mei Guang in Taiwan, and finally $2,000 in American Express checks from Huan Xian Wen.
According to the report, Roger Clinton made no more large deposits of traveler's checks until July 12, 1999, when he deposited $20,000 in American Express checks from an unknown source and $5,000 in Citicorp checks from a person named Sook-Eun Jang in South Korea. Four months later, on November 30, 1999, Clinton deposited $22,000 in Citicorp and Visa checks from unknown sources in Taiwan. That same day, he deposited $38,000 from a man named Pedro Jose Garboza Matos in Venezuela. Then he deposited $40,000 from a completely unknown source.
Over the next nine months, Clinton deposited smaller amounts of blank traveler's checks totaling $46,000, mostly from sources in Taiwan and South Korea. In all, he put $335,000 in traveler's checks into his bank account between December 1998 and August 2000. Even after more than a year of work investigators were never able to accurately track their source or their purpose. The committee report says simply, "Why Roger Clinton received these substantial sums of money from overseas is unknown."
$15,000 From Bill When committee investigators inquired about Clinton's deposits of traveler's checks, they also discovered that he received another infusion of money from a different source his brother, the former president. This is what happened, according to committee sources:
On February 22, 2001, after the pardon scandal exploded, Government Reform Committee chairman Dan Burton sent a letter to Roger Clinton asking a few questions about the pardons and also making a request for documents. About three weeks later, on March 13, when Burton had not heard from Clinton, he sent another letter asking Clinton to voluntarily sit down for an interview and also informing him that the committee had issued a subpoena for any documents Clinton might have that were relevant to the case.
On March 22, committee lawyers learned that Los Angeles attorney Bart Williams was representing Roger Clinton. On that same day, investigators talked to Williams who, sources say, gave the committee the impression that Roger Clinton would voluntarily submit to an interview.
The next day, March 23, according to the report, Roger Clinton received a wire transfer of $15,000 from a Citibank account which bore the title, "E.C.934(A) c/o Eric Hothem." Hothem, investigators later learned, was an aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton when the Clintons were in the White House. When Burton asked Hothem about the $15,000, he referred the committee to David Kendall, the former president's personal lawyer. According to the report, Kendall told the committee, "The account is a personal Citibank account of former President and Senator Clinton. The transfer you inquire about was a loan by President Clinton to his brother so that he might retain counsel to represent him in the committee's and other investigations." (The committee says it was unable to learn whether the loan was paid back.)
On March 29, six days after the $15,000 wire transfer, committee lawyers again talked to Bart Williams. This time, according to committee sources, Williams was far less cooperative, telling them that Roger Clinton would not voluntarily answer the committee's questions (although he would give investigators the documents they requested.) Later, when committee lawyers discussed calling Roger Clinton to testify before the committee, Williams told them Clinton would take the Fifth Amendment rather than answer questions. The committee report concludes: "It is unknown whether Roger Clinton's acceptance of $15,000 for his legal fees from his brother made him any less likely to provide testimony adverse to his brother to the committee or to law enforcement agencies."
In an interview with National Review Online, Williams offered a strikingly different version of events. First, Williams says the traveler's checks were payments to Roger Clinton for musical performances overseas. "He got paid for events where he performed, he put them in his bank, and he paid taxes on the totals," Williams says. "He did not focus on where [the checks] were purchased." Williams says Clinton performed in Taiwan, South Korea, and Venezuela, all sources of the blank traveler's checks he deposited in his account.
As for the contention that he told the Government Reform Committee that Roger Clinton might testify voluntarily, Williams says, "That is not accurate. I never told them he would be available for an interview. I told them that I would be willing to discuss whether or not to make him available for an interview if they would be willing to discuss what they were going to ask him." Later, Roger Clinton became more determined not to talk, but Williams says that had nothing to do with the $15,000 Clinton received from his brother's bank account. Instead, Williams says, "It became clear to me that [the committee's] scope was really, in my opinion, to go into anything that could be embarrassing to the Clinton family generally, and I thought it didn't make a whole lot of sense to participate in that."
But why didn't Roger Clinton at least offer some explanation of the traveler's checks? For example, if he had a contract to perform at a certain event, why not produce that contract to prove the money was payment for a specific service? "Sometimes there were written agreements, sometimes there weren't," says Williams. According to Williams, the main reason Clinton did not give the committee information on the traveler's checks was his fear that Burton and his staff would use the information for partisan political purposes. "The assumption in that question is that he's going to be treated fairly," Williams says. "That's a heck of an assumption, and it's not one he is prepared to make. It's not his obligation to explain all of his personal financial dealings."
A Superstar Overseas While Williams's account answers some questions about Roger Clinton's behavior, it also raises others. Why, for example, was Clinton, who had always struggled to make a living in the music business, paid such large sums of money to perform in foreign countries? In late September 1999 as he was still receiving occasional traveler's-check payments Clinton himself addressed the question in an interview with FBI agents who were looking into his finances. According to the FBI's written account of the interview, Clinton conceded that he sometimes accepted extravagantly generous offers to perform overseas:
He has received invitations from presidents and other foreign government leaders from between 10-12 different countries. Clinton advised he knows he receives these invitations strictly because he is the First Brother of the President of the United States. Clinton advised that the president is aware of the invitations in general, but may not know each time he takes a trip. Clinton stated that when he receives an invitation to visit a country he is often offered money by the country to make the trip. He stated that he would not accept the invitation unless he could earn the money. He insists on performing with his band while visiting the country. He is a musician and wants to be recognized for his music. Clinton stated he receives a minimum of $25,000 per performance when he travels...
In addition, Clinton told the FBI that he had traveled to South Korea six times as the personal guest of President Kim Dae Jung and was paid as much as $200,000 for performing on a trip. According to the agent's notes, Clinton said that "the country extending the invitation usually pays for him and his six-piece band to fly to the country and perform. The host country usually pays all their expenses and provides a presidential security detail while they are there."
Clinton told agents that he has "received payment by check in United States dollars, cash in United States dollars and also in the currency of the host country." But he told the FBI that he "did not want to provide specific details on what exactly he is paid for his performances or the method of payment because that is 'personal.'" The FBI interview summary made no mention of traveler's checks.
While both the FBI summary and the Government Reform Committee's report (which is available on the committee's website) shed some light on Clinton's finances, they still do not answer several questions. What were the sources of the blank traveler's checks? Can Clinton's generous payments from foreign leaders he could not command such prices for performing at home be viewed as an attempt by foreign governments to purchase the president's favor through his brother? And was there any ulterior motive behind Bill Clinton's $15,000 money transfer to his brother at the moment Roger Clinton was facing scrutiny from the Burton committee and Justice Department investigators?
It is possible that some or all those issues are part of the criminal investigation of the Clinton pardon affair that is still underway in the Southern District of New York. It's not clear where that investigation stands; Bart Williams says he has not heard from prosecutors there in more than six months. But the Government Reform Committee report suggests that the scope of the investigation stretches well beyond what is generally known as the presidential pardon scandal.
I'd like to see the pubbies play real hardball with this and use it as leverage over the evil freshman senator from New York as well as her husband. As much as I would like to see them both rot in jail, it aint gonna happen. So, the next best thing is to get them out of our lives and off of our payroll. This evidence could be used to accomplish both.
I know it's a long shot, but, I can dream, cant I?
A Clinton Crime Family bump in the middle of a dreary destruction of our Constitution vote over in the US Senate today.
I wonder if his band members are paid in the same manner? The Traveler's Check method of payment certainly is slick. I also wonder if the old IRS rule of 'working' overseas, such that the first $75,000.00 of income is tax exempt, applies here.
Oh,I have to read this.The disease of #42's actions are still unraveling.I had no idea ANYONE was going to check out his past intentional misdeeds,much less a "Committee" that can't take any action.At least we'll know a bit more of how he "Contemptible" his actions were.At least Richard Nixon was a Man and stepped down.I must get a copy of this.
up to $200K per appearance? pretty heavy bread for brother rog.
I guess personal appearances @ 25 grand was more convenient than selling his CD's at 15 bucks a pop? those money order fees can really run up.
if Xian = John, then does Huang Xian = John Huang?
recycling in action?
Interesting observation. I'd have never pegged the PRC for a sense of humor...