Hillary guilty in Commercegate trade of mission seats for campaign contributions, Judicial Watch Interim Report to Congress, Nolanda Hill testimony, Leon Panetta and John Podesta ordered Ron Brown to cover-up crimes
“After the elections of 1994, and the Democrats’ loss of Congress, I became aware, through my discussions with Ron, that the trade missions were being used as a fundraising tool for the upcoming Clinton-Gore presidential campaign and the Democratic Party. Specifically, Ron told me that domestic companies were being solicited to donate large sums of money in exchange for their selection to participate on trade missions of the Commerce Department. Ron expressed to me his displeasure that the purpose of the Commerce trade missions had been and were being perverted at the direction of The White House.”…Nolanda Hill Affidavit
“The First Lady conceived of the idea to sell the trade mission seats in exchange for political contributions”…Nolanda Hill court testimony
“Hillary lied Americans died”…Citizen Wells
Judicial Watch Interim Report on Crimes and Other Offenses Committedby President Bill Clinton Warranting His Impeachment and Removal from Elected Office
September 28, 1998
Crimes and Other Offenses Relating to the Illegal Sale of U.S. Department of Commerce Trade Mission Seats for Campaign Contributions that Warrant Impeachmentand Removal from Office of President Bill Clinton
” I. Introduction.
After the elections of 1994, and the Democrats’ loss of Congress, I became aware, through my discussions with [late Commerce Secretary] Ron [Brown], that the trade missions were being used as a fundraising tool for the upcoming Clinton-Gore presidential campaign and the Democratic Party. Specifically, Ron told me that domestic companies were being solicited to donate large sums of money in exchange for their selection to participate on trade missions of the Commerce Department. Ron expressed to me his displeasure that the purpose of the Commerce trade missions had been and were being perverted at the direction of The White House.
Affidavit of Nolanda Butler Hill, January 17, 1998(131)
****Question: You are aware, however, that Alexis Herman would set up briefing sessions for participants that went on trade missions before they went overseas? You were aware of that?
Nolanda Hill: I was.
Question: And at those briefing sessions appeared the President and Vice President.
Nolanda Hill: I was told that by Secretary Brown.
Question: You’ve mentioned, to some extent – I’ll let your testimony speak for itself – Harold Ickes. Anybody else?…
Nolanda Hill: Ultimately, [Ron Brown] believed that the President of the United States was, at least tangentially.
Nolanda Hill: Yes, sir. It was his re-election that was at stake.
Question: Ron believed that the President of the United States knew the trade missions were being sold and their purpose being perverted?
Nolanda Hill: Yes, sir.Nolanda Butler Hill Court Testimony, March 23, 1998(132)
In the Fall of 1994, Judicial Watch first became aware of evidence that the Clinton Commerce Department was illegally selling seats on its international trade missions in exchange for political contributions.(133) Reports in Business Week and The Wall Street Journal showed that there was a high incidence of Democratic Party contributors on these taxpayer-financed trade missions.(134)
The fact that the President installed the former head of the Democratic National Committee, Ronald H. Brown, as Commerce Secretary also raised concerns about Clinton Commerce Department operations. When Brown brought his entire DNC fundraising staff with him to Clinton Commerce, these suspicions increased.
After Judicial Watch filed requests with the Clinton Commerce Department for information regarding these trade missions under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), it was immediately stonewalled and was forced to file a lawsuit in 1995 to obtain the requested information.(135) Even after filing suit, the Clinton Administration continued to stonewall.(136)
Over the next three (3) years, Judicial Watch, in its efforts to uncover what the Clinton Commerce Department was hiding from the American people, found substantial, compelling evidence that seats on Clinton Commerce Department trade missions were indeed being sold in exchange for campaign contributions, with the knowledge and complicity, if not at the direction of, officials at the highest levels of the Clinton White House, including the President, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. In addition, Judicial Watch’s attempts to uncover the truth were obstructed through perjury, obstruction of justice, intimidation and retaliation that has marred other recent investigation of Clinton scandals, including the Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky matters. In short, the court process was obstructed by Clinton appointees at his Commerce Department and elsewhere by:
� Perjury;� Submission of false sworn declarations;
� Destruction and shredding of evidence;
� Improperly withholding documents contrary to Court orders;
� Threats and intimidation of witnesses and investigators; and
� Misconduct by Clinton Administration lawyers.
Nevertheless, Judicial Watch, through its investigations and the legal discovery process, found “smoking gun” documents detailing the sale the trade mission seats for campaign contributions in the files of the Clinton White House, Clinton Commerce Department, and the DNC, including:
� Memos from the Clinton White House files of Harold Ickes and Alexis Herman showing that the $100,000 DNC Managing Trustee Program included the sale of the Clinton Commerce Department trade mission seats (among other government-financed perks) and was designed to net President Clinton’s DNC political operation $40 million;(137)� A brochure by the Democratic National Committee showing that “foreign trade mission” seats were available for $100,000 contributions to the DNC;(138)
� A list of DNC minority donors found in the files of a key Clinton Commerce Department official;(139)
� A Clinton Commerce Department memo indicating that the DNC donors were input into the Commerce Department government database;(140) and
� A DNC memo showing that the DNC provided the names of donors to the Clinton Commerce Department for trade missions to Russia and Belgium.(141)
In January 1998, Judicial Watch uncovered a witness, Nolanda Butler Hill, a close confidante and business partner of late Commerce Secretary Brown, with whom Secretary Brown had shared key details about the campaign-contributions-for-seats-on-trade-missions scheme, as well as the Clinton Administration’s efforts to stonewall Judicial Watch’s lawsuit. Secretary Brown had even shown important documents to Ms. Hill that detailed this unlawful sale of taxpayer-financed government services. With Ms. Hill’s uncontroverted testimony providing the capstone to its investigation, Judicial Watch has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that not only was the Clinton Administration engaged in an unlawful scheme to sell seats on Commerce Department trade missions in exchange for campaign contributions, but that a criminal cover-up was ordered by President Clinton’s top aides to thwart Judicial Watch’s Court-ordered investigation and to hide the culpability of the President, Mrs. Clinton, the Clinton Administration and the DNC for their use of Commerce Department trade missions as a political fundraising vehicle.
Ms. Hill testified that then White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta ordered Commerce Secretary Brown to defy Court orders and obstruct the Judicial Watch suit until after the 1996 federal elections. Ms. Hill’s sworn testimony implicated the President’s top staff members in obstruction of justice.
Ms. Hill also tied the sale of trade mission seats directly to President Clinton. In both a sworn affidavit and Court testimony, Ms. Hill explained that:
� The First Lady conceived of the idea to sell the trade mission seats in exchange for political contributions;
� The President knew of and approved this scheme;� The Vice President participated in this scheme;
� Commerce Secretary Ron Brown helped implement the illegal fundraising operation out of the Clinton Commerce Department;
� Presidential White House aides Harold Ickes and (now Labor Secretary) Alexis Herman helped orchestrate the sale of the Commerce trade mission seats;
� The President’s top fundraisers at the DNC and his re-election campaign (Marvin Rosen and Terrence McAuliffe) helped coordinate the selling of these taxpayer resources in exchange for political contributions;
� Presidential Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta ordered the cover-up of these activities; and
� The President’s appointees at the Commerce Department have committed perjury, destroyed and suppressed evidence, and likely breached our nation’s security.”
“II. Judicial Watch’s Investigation Has Uncovered Substantial, Compelling Evidence that Seats on Taxpayer-Financed, Commerce Department Trade Missions Were Sold in Exchange for Campaign Contributions.
During the course of its investigation, Judicial Watch discovered substantial, compelling evidence that the Clinton Administration sold seats on taxpayer-financed Commerce Department trade missions in exchange for campaign contributions to the DNC/1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign.
At a March 23, 1998 evidentiary hearing in Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit, Ms. Nolanda B. Hill, a close confidante and business partner of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown,(146) testified, under oath, that Secretary Brown told her that he was ordered by the Clinton White House to begin selling Commerce trade mission seats in exchange for political contributions to the DNC/1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign.(147) Ms. Hill’s oral testimony confirmed written testimony she had given to Judicial Watch in an affidavit on January 17, 1998:
After the elections of 1994, and the Democrats’ loss of Congress, I became aware, through my discussions with Ron [Brown], that the trade missions were being used as a fundraising tool for the upcoming Clinton-Gore presidential campaign and the Democratic Party. Specifically, Ron told me that domestic companies were being solicited to donate large sums of money in exchange for their selection to participate on trade missions of the Commerce Department. Ron expressed to me his displeasure that the purpose of the Commerce trade missions had been and were being perverted at the direction of The White House.(148)
According to what Secretary Brown told Ms. Hill, the trade mission seats were being sold in part because of “panic” by the President and First Lady induced by their Democratic Party’s loss of Congress to the Republicans in 1994:
[Ron Brown’s] discussion with me centered around the panic of – or his perception of panic – with the President and First Lady, after the loss of Congress to the Republicans, and that that was going to – they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to raise money, and they were really worried about it. (149)
Ms. Hill testified that Secretary Brown told her that it was Hillary Rodham Clinton who ordered that the trade mission seats be sold:
Q: And did he not say to you that – and I am kind of paraphrasing – Hillary believes that every thing is politics and politics is driven by money; correct?A: He did say those — close to those words, as I recall….
Q: And he told that you that, in fact, it was Hillary’s idea to use the trade missions to raise money; correct?
A: He initially believed that she was very instrumental, and he gave her a lot of credit.(150)
Seccretary Brown told Ms. Hill that he was “[j]ust doing my chores for Hillary Rodham Clinton” and he complained, “I’m not a mother” – expletive deleted – “king tour guide for HillaryClinton.”(151)
Importantly, Secretary Brown told Hill that the President himself was involved in the sale of seats on Commerce Department trade missions:
A: Ultimately he believed that the President of the United States was, at least tangentially.Q: Involved?
A: Yes sir. It was his re-election that was at stake.
Q: Ron believed that the President of the United States knew the trade missions were being sold, and their purpose was being perverted?
A: Yes, sir.(152)
In fact, Ms. Hill testified that Secretary Brown resented the Clinton’s involvement in the misuse of the Commerce Department trade missions, which he believed had become nothing more than a “street level protection racket.”(153)
Ms. Hill also testified that, in addition to the President and Mrs. Clinton, high level Clinton Administration officials were also directly involved. The Commerce Department’s Office of Business Liaison, then run by former DNC fundraiser Melissa Moss, worked with the President’s Office of Public Liaison at the White House, then run by Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, to set up White House “briefing sessions” for trade mission participants with either President Clinton or Vice President Gore, or both.(154) Hill also testified that Clinton’s top political aide, former Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes, served as the White House’s “point man” for the sale of seats on Commerce Department trade missions:
Q: . . . Harold Ickes was involved in the sale of trade missions, too, wasn’t he?A: It was my understanding through Secretary Brown that Mr. Ickes was the political point man for the White House…. Mr. Ickes, according to what Secretary Brown told me, participated heavily in determining what happened from a political standpoint.(155)
Clinton’s top political fundraisers for the DNC and his re-election campaign, Terry McAuliffe and Marvin Rosen, were also heavily involved in the illegal sale of the trade mission trips, according to what Secretary Brown told Ms. Hill:
Q: And [Terry McAuliffe] was instrumental, based on your discussions with Ron, in working with the White House and coordinating the sale of seats on trade missions; correct?A: He was certainly highly involved, according to Ron.
**** Q: And another person who was highly involved from the DNC in coordinating the sale of seats on trade missions for campaign contributions was Marvin Rosen; correct?
A: I understood from Ron that that was correct.
Q: And these people worked with the White House in furthering what Ron thought was a perversion of his trade missions; correct?
A: That’s correct.(156)
Indeed, the sworn testimony of Ms. Hill indicated that donors had to pay the DNC/Clinton-Gore campaign a minimum of $50,000 in order to receive access to government services — Commerce trade mission seats:
In early 1996, Ron showed me a packet of documents, about 1 inch thick, which he removed from his ostrich skin portfolio. Ron told me that these documents had been provided to him from Commerce Department files as part of the collections efforts to produce documents to Judicial Watch in this case. I only reviewed the top five or six documents, which were on Commerce Department letterhead under the signature of Melissa Moss of the Office of Business Liaison. What I reviewed comprised letters of Ms. Moss to trade mission participants, each of which specifically referenced a substantial financial contribution to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). My response was immediate and decisive. I told Ron he must instruct that production of these documents and all responsive documents be immediate and I advised him to mitigate his own damages by releasing Ms. Moss from her duties and admonishing her for using the offices of the Commerce Department for partisan political fundraising.(157)
Ms. Hill testified in open Court that she understood that $50,000 was the minimum “the White House was charging to go on a trade mission . . . .”(158) According to Ms. Hill, Secretary Brown was personally offended that the White House put such a low dollar figure on his trade trips. “I’m worth more than $50,000 a pop,” Secretary Brown told her.(159) A DNC brochure soliciting members for its “Managing Trustee” program shows that participation in “foreign trade missions” was only one of the perks available to a contributor who donated at least $100,000 to the DNC.(160) Documents from the White House files of Harold Ickes and Alexis Herman also clearly show that the $100,000 DNC Managing Trustee Program, which included trade missions, among other taxpayer-financed quid pro quos, was designed to net President Clinton’s DNC political operation $40 million.(161) Importantly, Alexis Herman was listed on the documents as the person to see to purchase a “ticket” on a Clinton Commerce Department trade mission.(162)
Additional evidence corroborates Ms. Hill’s testimony that seats on Clinton Commerce Department trade missions were being sold in exchange for contributions to the DNC/1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign. In the course of discovery in its FOIA litigation, Judicial Watch discovered a list of DNC “minority donors” in the possession of the Clinton Commerce Department.(163) Apparently, this list of DNC contributors had been sent by the DNC to the Commerce Department to select participants on trade missions.
Just recently, Judicial Watch discovered additional documents from the DNC that provide further corroboration of Ms. Hill’s testimony. A January 13, 1994 memorandum from DNC official Eric Silden clearly demonstrates the DNC’s direct role in selecting participants for Commerce Department trade missions:
Sally Painter at Commerce called to ask for a list of candidates for a trade mission to Russia. She needs an initial list by tomorrow (Friday 1/14) of 20-30 names. . . . Ari will use the “Belgium trade mission list” as a base of names, to be augmented by additional names that he feels are relevant to Russian trade. It was suggested that he contact Reta Lewis to determine which names on the Belgium list will be included in the delegation, so that they are not also submitted to Commerce for the Russian delegation. . . . Bob will be the point contact with Commerce, as I will not be in the office on Friday afternoon to deliver the list to Sally. (Emphasis added.)(164)
Judicial Watch has subpoenaed similar materials from the DNC, and will depose top DNC officials Terry McAuliffe and Marvin Rosen in the next few weeks. Even without the additional evidence that Judicial Watch is likely to uncover, it is clear that during the Clinton Administration, the Commerce Department has become nothing more than an arm of the DNC, where taxpayer-financed government services can be bought and sold in exchange for campaign contributions. Even the liberal Center for Public Integrity, after examining some of the evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch, concluded this was a “pay to play” scheme:
When Ron Brown was simultaneously a partner at the preeminent Washington law and lobbying firm of Patton, Boggs and Blow and chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), he was renowned as the consummate deal-maker. By all appearances, Brown’s Department of Commerce has continued to apply the art of the deal. As one Justice Department investigator put it, a corporation can “pay to play.” American giants such as AT&T and ARCO, among others, which made contributions to the DNC, have gotten seats on Brown’s plane when he has traveled to far-off lands to meet with foreign governments in an effort to promote American business.The seat on the secretary’s plane can be viewed essentially as the quo in the quid pro quo relationship between contributors and the administration. Those DNC contributors, with Brown’s assistance, were in a position to cut their own deals for projects in those foreign countries whose representatives attended meetings with the U.S. delegation. Some companies came away from the trips with million and sometimes billion dollar deals.
Others came away with expanded business contacts that led to future deals. And others went in search of tax breaks. For example, gas and oil company representatives on the Russia trip argued for a lowering of the excise tax on oil imposed by the Yelstin government. The Texas-based TGV/Diamond Shamrock company came away from the South America trip with a tax break from Argentina worth an estimated $20-$30 million.(165)
In sum, Judicial Watch has uncovered substantial, compelling evidence demonstrating a massive sell-off of taxpayer-financed services – namely seats on Commerce Department trade missions – upon the orders of, and with the direct knowledge and participation, of the President and Mrs. Clinton. This illegal sale of taxpayer-financed services violates several federal statutes against the misappropriation of government funds, bribery and graft, as well as a host of campaign fundraising statutes, including but hardly limited to 18 U.S.C. § 600, et seq. ”
“Secretary Brown personally involved himself in the FOIA process because of his concerns about what the Judicial Watch suit might expose. He also was ordered to do so by the Clinton White House, with whom he stayed in routine contact about the case.(183) As Ms. Hill would later testify in both her January 17, 1998 affidavit and at the March 23, 1998 evidentiary hearing, President Clinton’s two top deputies, then White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, and Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta, directly ordered Brown to defy the Court’s orders and obstruct the Judicial Watch suit until after the 1996 elections:
I further learned through discussions with Ron [Brown] that The White House, through Leon Panetta and John Podesta, had instructed him to delay the case by withholding the production of documents prior to the 1996 elections, and to devise a way not to comply with the court’s orders.(184) (Emphasis added.)
****Q: And that Leon Panetta had told Ron that, quote, “He had the responsibility of containing the Judicial Watch lawsuit”?
Q: And you responded to Ron, did you not, by telling him that that strategy of stall, stall, stall would not work forever?
A: Yes, in part.(185)
Weekly reports sent by Secretary Brown to Chief of Staff Leon Panetta at the Clinton White House confirm Panetta’s involvement, as they discussed the status of Judicial Watch’s FOIA requests.(186)
Ms. Hill would later testify about Mr. Panetta’s and Mr. Podesta’s efforts to obstruct justice and cover-up the sale of trade mission seats for the President’s re-election effort:
Q: And you learned that Leon Panetta and John Podesta had instructed him to delay the case for political reasons?
Q: Now, do you remember Ron saying to you that Panetta and Podesta wanted him to, quote, “slow pedal” the case until after the  elections? Those were the words that were used, was it not?
Q: And that Ron mimicked Leon Panetta and laughed when he used the words “slow pedal”?
A: Well, he did a pretty good Leon Panetta.
A: (Nods head affirmatively.)(187)
Ms. Hill’s testimony indicates that the President was personally aware of this unlawful obstruction. She would later testify that, shortly after she saw Commerce Department correspondence indicating that trade mission seats were being sold in exchange for political contributions, Secretary Brown and the President had a meeting. This meeting occurred just before Brown took his fateful trip to Croatia:(188)
Q: What did he tell you was the reason he went to see the President?A: . . . It concerned the independent counsel investigation.
Q: Ron was also concerned about the situation at the Commerce Department; correct?
A: He was very concerned about the attempt by Congress to shut down the Commerce Department.
Q: And he was also concerned about this lawsuit; correct, Judicial Watch’s lawsuit?
A: He was concerned about it, yes, sir.
Q: And you had actually suggested to him that he go see the President, didn’t you?
A: I suggested to him that that – yes, I did.
Q: And Ron relayed to you — there was a meeting between Ron and the President at that time, Ron told you; did he not?
A: Ron told me that there was.(189)
The evidence thus shows that key White House officials, acting on the likely command of the President himself, ordered Secretary Brown to obstruct the lawsuit and defy Court orders. This obstruction of justice would involve the use of perjury, the destruction of documents and threats and intimidation of witnesses and investigators.”
- “False Sworn Declarations.
Secretary Brown himself submitted a sworn statement, which Judicial Watch later learned was patently false and misleading. In his March 14, 1996 declaration, Secretary Brown testified:
1. I did not direct, supervise, or otherwise participate in determining, the scope of the Department of Commerce’s search for and/or preparation of response to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests made the basis of this suit. 2. I do not maintain documents responsive to the FOIA requests made the basis of this suit, nor at the time of the FOIA requests did I maintain any such documents.(190)
In reviewing this declaration, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth remarked about its obviously careful wording:
Well, unfortunately, the Secretary died before his deposition, but that statement from the Secretary raises more questions than it answers. . . . He didn’t say there were no such documents or that he never had any such documents . . . which would have been the logical thing to say . . . .(191)
Ms. Hill would later testify that, not only did Secretary Brown maintain responsive documents in his office, but he even showed her clearly responsive documents on Clinton Commerce Department letterhead, under Melissa Moss’ signature, which he kept in an ostrich skin portfolio.(192) These documents have never been produced to Judicial Watch despite Ms. Hill’s advice to Secretary Brown that they be produced immediately,(193) and were likely destroyed after Secretary Brown’s death.(194)
Ms. Hill also later testified that Secretary Brown told her that his declaration was purposely misleading:
A: He felt like the wording was truthful, but it was crafted very carefully.
Q: How was it crafted very carefully?A: The words “in determining.” He felt like he could truthfully say that he didn’t determine the scope of the search.
Q: Why was that important?
A: I don’t think I understand.
Q: In other words, he didn’t want to be part – he didn’t want to be implicated in the aspect of actually searching? He didn’t want to have to swear to that; correct?
A: That’s right.
Q: Because of the sensitive nature of some documents, showing the involvement of the White House in selling trade missions?
A: He just didn’t want to be involved.
Q: Dealing with the White House, the sale of trade missions; correct?
A: He didn’t want to be involved with the FOIA issue.
Q: Because of the legal ramifications; correct?
A: He was under investigation by independent counsel.
Q: So the answer is yes?
Secretary Brown carefully crafted a misleading affidavit to the Court and unlawfully withheld responsive documents. He personally showed Ms. Hill “smoking gun” Commerce Department documents under Melissa Moss’ signature detailing the sale of the taxpayer-financed trade mission seats for political contributions to the DNC.(196) He obviously complied with his orders from the White House, and in doing so obstructed justice.
In addition, the Clinton Commerce Department touted Anthony Das, the Executive Secretary in the Executive Secretariat of the Office of the Secretary of Commerce, as the person charged with overseeing the search for and production of documents responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request. In a sworn declaration dated March 10, 1995, Mr. Das testified that, as Executive Secretary, he had “been delegated authority to initially respond to the requests for records of the Executive Secretariat,” and that, upon receipt of such a request, it was the job of the Executive Secretariat to “direct all other Department offices which might have responsive records to conduct searches for records.”(197)
Contrary to his sworn declaration, at his March 27, 1996 and October 9, 1996 depositions, Das made it clear that his role in the search for responsive documents was minimal, if not non-existent. First, Das testified that he never reviewed Judicial Watch’s FOIA requests.(198) Das also testified that he never discussed the document search with Secretary Brown, although he had frequent contact with him.(199) He also testified that he didn’t know of anyone searching Secretary Brown’s office.(200) Upon reviewing these obvious inconsistencies between Das’ declaration and his deposition testimony, the Court asked Clinton Justice Department counsel:
Don’t you think it’s rather curious that you would file with me an affidavit from Das saying the Secretary had no records and then admit in his deposition he never asked the Secretary?(201)
Clinton Justice Department lawyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Hegyi, responded that Das somehow knew Brown did not keep records in his office. Thirty-eight (38) subsequent depositions showed no one asked about or searched Secretary Brown’s office for responsive documents.
Additional evidence of false, sworn declarations arose when Judicial Watch deposed Mary Ann McFate, Director of the Office of Organization and Management Support at the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (“ITA”). Ms. McFate submitted no less than eight (8) sworn declarations claiming responsibility for the search for and production of responsive documents throughout the Clinton Commerce Department.(202) However, at her October 15, 1996 deposition, Ms. McFate testified that her search for documents was limited solely to the ITA, although the ITA was clearly not the only branch of the Clinton Commerce Department possessing responsive documents.(203) Ms. McFate also testified at her deposition that she was not involved in searching any other bureaus or offices of the Clinton Commerce Department.(204) Accordingly, the declarations of Ms. McFate, submitted by the Clinton Commerce Department’s Office of General Counsel, were clearly false and misleading.(205)”
- “Destruction of Evidence.
The letters Ms. Hill reviewed, which detailed the unlawful sale of seats on Commerce Department trade missions in exchange for campaign contributions, were never turned over to Judicial Watch or the Court.(206) This alone constitutes evidence of obstruction of justice. In addition, however, Ms. Hill testified that Secretary Brown kept documents in his office that were responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request and which the Court had ordered to be produced:
A: I became aware that [late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown] kept documents related to this [Judicial Watch FOIA] lawsuit. He had some in his office . . . .
Q: And what types of documents were they?
A: The ones that I know about were documents relating to Commerce Department activities that had been subpoenaed.Q: And ordered by the Court to be produced?
A: Yes, sir.(207)
Depositions taken by Judicial Watch revealed the likely fate of these and other likely responsive documents that were never produced to Judicial Watch.
Although Judicial Watch’s lawsuit seeking production of documents concerning trade missions was pending, and although the Clinton Commerce Department was under a Court order to produce all responsive documents, several witnesses testified about the wholesale shredding of documents in the Office of the Secretary after Brown’s death. In a sworn affidavit volunteered by Mr. Robert Adkins, a former Commerce Department employee who worked with Clinton fundraiser and Commerce Department appointee John Huang, Mr. Adkins testified that there was so much shredding of Clinton White House and DNC documents at the Clinton Commerce Department that the shredder broke. “Among the documents which I personally saw shredded,” Adkins said, “were … documents bearing the logo of the Executive Office of the President as well as documents bearing the logo of the Democratic National Committee.”(208)”
In addition to the perjury committed by Secretary Brown and others in the submission of false declarations to the Court, a host of other Clinton Administration witnesses perjured themselves under oath.
Prominent among these is Melissa Moss, the key Clinton fundraiser at the Commerce Department. Moss falsely testified at her October 10, 1996 deposition that fundraising was not a factor in selecting participants for Commerce Department trade missions, and that she did not conduct fundraising out of the Commerce Department for the DNC.(237) Ms. Hill reviewed Moss’s videotaped deposition testimony and swore in her affidavit that Moss did not tell “the truth in response [to] a number of questions concerning Commerce Department trade missions, as well as other representations she has made under oath.”(238) In addition to having seen letters on Commerce Department stationary under Moss’ signature concerning the sale of seats on Commerce Department trade missions,(239) Ms. Hill testified:
Q: Okay. Now, Melissa Moss worked with the White House, based on your discussions with Ron, over the trade missions; correct?
Q: So when she says that trade missions weren’t a factor in terms of getting campaign contributions, that’s false, isn’t it?
Q: When she says that she was not engaging in fundraising, based upon what you know, having seen those documents, that’s false isn’t it?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And when she says that she didn’t know of criteria to choose trade mission participants other than the ones she listed, which she claimed were based on economic considerations, that’s false, isn’t it?
A: Yes, sir.(240)
Further evidence of Moss’ illegal fundraising activities on behalf of the DNC and the President’s re-election campaign(241) came from the files of the Clinton Commerce Department. A series of letters from prospective and actual trade mission participants, and internal memoranda from top Commerce officials show that political contributions were indeed a factor.(242) On April 8, 1994, businessman Ko Saribekian, a participant in the Clinton Commerce Department trade mission to Russia, wrote Secretary Brown to thank him. Obviously referring to the expected political contributions, Saribekian wrote:
Again I thank you and your exceptional team for the opportunity to participate and I look forward to repaying the generosity of Department of Commerce in some way in the months ahead. Melissa and I are keeping in touch about the latter.(243)
It thus seems quite clear that Moss was using the Commerce Department trade missions for political fundraising to benefit President Clinton. It also seems quite clear that Moss continuously lied about this activity and worked to cover it up.”
“E. Intimidation and Tampering With Witnesses and Investigators.
As it has done to contain its numerous other scandals, the Clinton Administration went to extreme lengths to cover-up the sale of the taxpayer-financed trade mission seats for campaign contributions, even attempting to intimidate and retaliate against witnesses and Judicial Watch itself.
Foremost among these apparent efforts was the indictment of Ms. Hill on fraud and tax evasion charges only a week before she was to testify at the March 23, 1998 evidentiary hearing.(256) When Judicial Watch uncovered Ms. Hill and obtained an affidavit from her in January 1998, the affidavit was presented to the Court. In her affidavit, Ms. Hill testified that she feared retaliation from the Clinton Administration:
I would like to come forward and tell this court everything I know about the failure to produce documents to Judicial Watch and this court. I am concerned, however, that if I do so, the Clinton Administration, and more particularly its Justice Department, will try to retaliate against me. As a result, I look to this court for guidance on how I can come forward and tell all I know in the interest of justice.(257)
Consequently, on February 4, 1998, the Court ordered Ms. Hill’s affidavit be kept under seal, specifically because Ms. Hill was concerned about retaliation.(258)”
“Even Secretary Ron Brown was fearful of crossing the Clinton White House. Ms. Hill testified that one of the reasons Secretary Brown did not want to turn over incriminating documents to Judicial Watch was because he needed the support of the Clinton White House as he faced his own Independent Counsel investigation:
A: [Secretary Brown] was concerned about the independent counsel investigation that he was under, and the potential for how he was going to – not the potential, but the catch 22, because he didn’t want to be put in the position that he was in, of appearing to be non-responsive, while at the same time he felt the support of the White House during the pendency of the independent counsel investigation.
Q: So he was concerned that he needed the support on the independent counsel side, and the White House needed his support with regard to the sale of trade missions and exposing that; correct?
A: (No response.)
Q: In other words, he was between a rock and a hard place. He didn’t want to have to turn the White House in for selling trade missions?
A: He didn’t want to do anything that would rock the boat.
Q: So the answer is yes?
A: I think the answer is what I said. He didn’t want to do anything that would rock the boat –
Q: With the White House?
A: — with the White House.
Q: With the White House?
Indeed, it was about his own independent counsel investigation, and the “catch-22” he was in over the illegal sale of seats on Commerce Department trade missions and cover-up, that he went to see President Clinton shortly before he was killed.(275)”
“A. John Huang, Accused Spy, Had A Role in Commerce Trade Missions and Other Clinton Fundraising Schemes.
While investigating the sale of taxpayer-financed trade mission seats by the Clinton Commerce Department, Judicial Watch uncovered John Huang, the Clinton fundraiser/Commerce operative believed by many to be an agent for the Chinese Government.(325) To date, only Judicial Watch has deposed Huang under oath.(326) This deposition uncovered Huang’s lies and sparked the Clinton controversy called “Chinagate.” Not surprisingly, the Clinton Administration and its allies at the DNC did their best to prevent Huang from testifying under oath, and Huang himself went into hiding from federal agents trying to serve him with a deposition subpoena.(327) In attempting to learn of Huang’s whereabouts, DNC officials later lied to the Court.(329)
Indeed, Judicial Watch has learned that, not only was Secretary Brown ordered by the White House to sell seats on Commerce Department trade missions, but he was also forced to hire Huang. Ms. Hill testified that Mrs. Clinton was involved in Huang’s placement at the Clinton Commerce Department:
Q: And he told you, Secretary Brown, did he not, that John Huang was forced into the Commerce Department by the Hillary Rodham Clinton Arkansas group at the White House? He told you that, didn’t he?
A: Yes, sir.(330)
Indeed, as we now know, Huang was the “top priority for placement” in the new Clinton Administration by the Lippo Group, the Jakarta-based business conglomerate that has substantial dealings and joint operations with the Chinese Government, and is headed by the Riady family.(331) James and Mochtar Riady have been longtime friends and strong financial supporters of the Clintons dating back to when President Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas. Mochtar and James Riady are believed by U.S. authorities to “have had a long-term relationship with a Chinese intelligence agency.”(332) Before being placed at Commerce, Huang was the top U.S. executive for Lippo, and “the political power that advise[d] the Riady family on issues and where to make contributions.”(333)”
“A reasonable analysis of the documentary and testimonial evidence unearthed by Judicial Watch would indicate that President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton were heavily involved in the theft of government resources to sell for contributions for President Clinton’s re-election bid. This fundraising push, to the degree it involved individuals such as Clinton-hire John Huang and policies such Clinton-approved hi-tech transfers to China through Commerce, compromised our nation’s security. The President’s two White House deputies, then-Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta, ordered the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown to cover-up these crimes. Clinton’s agents at Commerce and the Department of Justice did their level best to accomplish this.
If it were not for Judicial Watch’s exposure of John Huang; if it were not for Judicial Watch’s refusal to walk away with $2 million in taxpayer dollars offered by Clinton’s agents; if it were not for Judicial Watch’s investigations that have uncovered key documents and witnesses such as Nolanda Hill, and if it were not for a diligent and alert Court, then the President, his appointees, and agents might have gotten away with this criminal enterprise.”