The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Election Crimes Bulletin
The story I’m about to tell you is not to do oppo research for Trump’s campaign. It’s so you know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but – about your candidates. I’ve been following the Clintons for longer than they’ve been running for President. I wrote about Clinton’s ‘tour business’ originally for The Guardian.
Read the full story in my book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Listen in and inform yourselves.
Dennis J Bernstein: Welcome to the Election Protection Bulletin, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, with noted investigative reporter and bestselling author Greg Palast. This episode stars Bill and Hillary, the Entergy company, an ex-con named Webster Hubbell, and an ethnic Chinese billionaire from Indonesia.
Welcome Greg. Let’s start with this ex-con who is also a former associate attorney general, Mr. Webster Hubbell.
Greg Palast: Yes, Webster Hubbell is very important. He was basically a council to a lawyer for Bill Clinton. And before he went to the White House, he was one of the heads of the Rose Law Firm, and his associate, his assistant, was a woman who went by the name Hillary Rodham at the time. Now, why is this important? Because you’d rather hear it from me than from Trump.
So, I did an investigation for the Guardian some years ago, and here’s what we found. Webster Hubbell went from the White House and the Justice Department to federal prison. He did it because he was charged with, and he pled guilty to, faking his billing records at his firm. He made up hours that he didn’t actually work.
Now, since his associate was Hillary, and he has said cryptically “all lawyers cheat on their hours”…did he mean also his associate? And in fact, if you’re going to cheat on your hours, one of the things that you do is you make up, say billing time with your assistant.
So was Hillary also involved in the go to jail crime of faking your law firm billing records? Interestingly, it was hard to find out because Webster Hubbell pled guilty, and instead of turning in the first lady, suddenly the billing records went missing. And they were only found later, just outside Bill and Hillary’s White House bedroom, in the West Wing, after Hubbell was safely ensconced in federal prison.
The question becomes – Why in the world wouldn’t Hubbell save his own skin, obviously, by turning in Hillary Clinton as part of his billing co-conspiracy? What happened to these billing records and what were they about? And it might have something to do…so go ahead Dennis, what’s on your mind?
DB: I was going to say that’s where the Riady family comes in. Very interesting family. Talk a little bit about them, and what that had to do with Hubbell’s silence and willingness to go to jail.
GP: Yes. The Riady family is a family of billionaires from Indonesia, Chinese ethnics. And they wanted to open up a whole power plant operation in China, using our money, U.S. Treasury money from the Export-Import Bank. Now, the Riadys are somewhat more important than you or I, Dennis, because they met, according to White House records, listen to this, 98 times with the president, with Bill Clinton. So the Riadys met 98 times with Clinton. I got those records in my investigation. And, interestingly, it was the week of June 22nd through 27th. What happened is that the Riadys were bouncing back and forth between the Export-Import Bank where they were looking for U.S. Treasury money and the White House, back and forth. And, in between, also meeting with Webster Hubbell. And Hubbell was already on his way to the hoosegow, to prison. And they hired Hubbell. Imagine they hired a confessed felon on his way to prison, as a consultant, for $100,000. And altogether, Clinton Associates hired Hubbell on his way to prison to be their consultant, from federal prison, for a half a million dollars.
So his time in federal prison was made a little more comfortable by the half a million dollars that was sent his way while he was serving his time for faking his billing records, at the Rose Law Firm. The question is – was this a payoff, for Hubbell’s silence, and did the president and Hillary know about the payments? He told, just so you know, he told Mike Isikoff, the president told Mike Isikoff, of Newsweek, that he did not ever speak with the Riadys, in all those meetings, about Webster Hubbell. But when he was questioned by the F.B.I., Bill Clinton under oath, he said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if James Riady had told me about the payments to Hubbell.”
DB: By the way was Riady staying in the White House at the time? Cause another big player in this is former Commerce Secretary, the late Ron Brown. Being that he was there 98 times you would think he had a room in the White House.
GP: Well, you don’t get that…the Motel 6 in the Lincoln bedroom would cost you… Hillary Clinton according to Ron Brown, who was head of the Democratic party and then became Commerce Secretary, came up with the idea of charging $100,000 a night to stay in the Lincoln bedroom. And probably $120,000 if you got companionship. No, I made that up. So it’s $100,000 to check into the Hotel White House. And it was $10,000 to have a cup of coffee with the president.
Ron Brown, the Commerce Secretary was very upset about this deal because also in the deal was he would take the Riady family, and others, to China on his trade missions for $50,000 a pop. And he said, oh, I can’t use this on a family radio show, he said: “I’m not Hillary Clinton’s mother blanking tour guide.” Because he was upset that she was only charging $50,000 to go along with the Commerce Secretary on his China trips. So, this is part of the deal there. So you have to ask why did Ken Starr, right?…who was sniffing at Bill Clinton’s zipper and looking at stains on green dresses, and doing all this
DB: He just lost his job, we should point out.
GP: But you have to ask like why would the Republicans go after something like stains on a dress, and funny business under the oval office’s desk when they had something involving obstruction of justice? That is the apparent look of a payment to keep a criminal silent about his co-conspirator, Hillary Clinton. Okay, if that’s what happened. That’s what it looks like. Why didn’t they go after that obvious thing? And the answer is Koch.
DB: The Koch brothers, and by the way they’re a new sponsor of NPR. I don’t know if you knew that.
GP: National Petroleum Radio.
DB: They are now listed in their little commercial breaks, in non-commercial radio, the Kochs are contributors.
GP: News goes better with Koch, and for them, too. So, what’s happened
is… here’s how the Kochs got involved, in this whole business with
Riady and Hubbell…this is Greg Palast, by the way, giving you all this story of the billionaires which is all going to come back, which is all going to come back. And so what happened was is that, here’s where the Kochs jump in. In 1994-96 they were using a cut-out group called Triad to make contributions from Koch Industries to Republican Congressional candidates.
This is how Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House. He was running these smear campaigns, this operation Triad, was using a front – keep track of this people. They were using a front called Committee for Our Children’s Future to attack vulnerable Democrats, in 25 districts. All those Democrats lost because they’d never seen anything like this. This onslaught of vicious ads just a week before the mid-term elections, including one Democratic Congressman who was accused of beating his wife. It was true, but you know, it’s not nice to mention that on the air.
And, also, in Kansas they were doing push polling, saying Joe Docking was running against the Republican Brownback, whose governor now. He was running for Senate then. And they asked people “Would you vote for Joe Docking, if you knew he was Jewish?” This was all funded by the Koch brothers, okay?
The result was that 25 Democrats went down, unexpectedly, in the mid-term elections. It was funded by Koch Industries, through a cut-out called Triad. By the way, this is before Citizens United. That meant this was a felony crime. So this is how the Koch brothers get involved, because you now have billionaires illegally funding the Republican candidates and getting Newt Gingrich elected Speaker.
So, on one hand we have the Kochs, who have illegally funded Congressional attack ads, Congressional campaigns, through their corporation Koch Industries through a cut-out called Triad, which was giving money to something called Campaign for Our Children’s Future, or Committee for Our Children’s Future. And that elected Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House.
On the other hand, you have Clinton, who is panicked about the Riadys giving $100,000 to Webster Hubbell to be a consultant on his way to federal prison. And, he’s astonishingly silent about his former law associate, Hillary Clinton, and the fake billing hours, which is a felony crime.
So, now you’ve got Republicans in trouble for taking illegal money. You’ve got Democrats in trouble for paying what could be hush money, obstruction of justice. So all the makings of a deal, Dennis.
What happened was, is a… I got the information from the people at these meetings, by the way. And I published this in the Guardian. According to the people in the room, Trent Lott, Senator Trent Lott, who was the majority leader of the Senate, Republican, went to the
White House representatives and said, “Let’s make a deal.” We don’t touch your billionaires, you don’t touch our billionaires. This is the quote, a truce. “You don’t do Triad, and we don’t do the Clintons.” In other words, you don’t go after the Koch brothers and we don’t go after Riady. And that was the deal that was made. So in other words, they…both parties are happy to protect each others billionaires. And that’s the game that’s played in Washington. It was to me…I almost fell out of my chair. I kind of suspected it, but sure enough.
DB: The perfect marriage of convenience. Amazing.
GP: This is a problem.
DB: Alright, so then what happened December 31st, that fateful day, in 1998?
GP: So, you know, how do you shake a hand on a deal, that, you know, the Republicans said we won’t go after your illegal, filthy money from the Indonesian-Chinese billionaires, you don’t go after the Koch brothers, and we’re all happy? There was one problem, a guy named Senator Fred Thompson, the Republican from Tennessee. And he played a prosecutor on television so often, that he actually thought he was one.
And so he had actually issued subpoenas to the Koch brothers. You have to understand, he wanted to drag Charles and David, and all their retinue, into the Senate…a government investigations committee and grill them on their funny money into Triad and all their other fake Koch fronts, and basically set them up for real hard time.
At the same time, he wanted to go after the money coming from this
Indonesian-Chinese family. And then he was told by Trent Lott, “Your committee on December 31, 1998, your committee is now shut down, buddy.” And the subpoenas were all quashed. The Kochs said, “We’re not appearing.” And Trent Lott said “You didn’t have to. And don’t worry about Fred Thompson, he’s had all his powers stripped from him.” And that’s why, people were wondering why Fred Thompson resigned from the Senate. Because basically they castrated him, as Chairman of the Investigations Committee. He didn’t blow the whistle, he just said: “I’m outta here.”
DB: I”m going to ride into some serious law and order, on television.
So if people want to find out more about this story or related stories, what’s the best way to go?
GP: Well, always go to www.gregpalast.com for the latest of investigative material. Keep tuned to these podcasts, which we’re going to be doing every week, our Election Crimes Bulletin. And the story of the Riadys and the Kochs, the real story that you don’t get on National Petroleum Radio, you can get at…in the book “Billionaires and Ballot Bandits” by Greg Palast, Bobbie Kennedy and with comments by Ted Rall. And we’ll be talking about those investigations every week.