Sex, Lies, and Audiotape

We commented here and here on a criminal investigation involving Hillary Clinton’s former finance director, David Rosen, who has been indicted for violation of federal campaign finance laws. The charges grow out of a Hollywood fundraiser in August 2000, at which stars like Cher and Melissa Etheridge performed. The investigation took a lurid turn when it developed that Ted Kennedy’s brother-in-law, Ray Reggie, was cooperating with federal investigators and had secretly taped some of his conversations with top Democratic operatives, including Rosen.
Louisiana’s Times-Picayune has now obtained a partial transcript of Reggie’s taped conversation with Rosen over dinner in Chicago. The transcript is damning, in that it appears to support the government’s claim that Rosen knowingly mis-accounted for the event’s expenses, so as to maximize “hard money” raised via the event, and minimize “soft money.” But the conversation between Rosen and Reggie ranged into topics far more entertaining than campaign finance:

The chitchat ranges from speculation that a wealthy Clinton donor was using cocaine to lusty remarks by Rosen about the donor’s young daughter. Rosen does not hesitate to disparage President Clinton, noting that he began calling regularly — once a week — after Rosen went to work for Hillary Clinton. “Go screw yourself , Mr. President,” Rosen says, pretending to pick up one such call.
The salaciousness reaches its pinnacle with Rosen’s rambling anecdote about a fat cat Clinton donor who said after a night of partying that he sent prostitutes to the hotel rooms of two top Clinton loyalists.
“So the next day, (one of the loyalists) calls (the donor) from the golf course with Clinton,” Rosen told Reggie. “Clinton gets on the phone, he goes, I just wanna tell you something. . . . The day I’m outta office, I’m going out with you.”

And I thought this anecdote about Al Gore was revealing:

Rosen added that he’ll never work for Gore again. The former vice president, whom he thought he knew well, failed to recognize him at an event.
“I won’t cross the street for that guy,” he said. “I was willing to get talked back into another round with his ass. And I went to an event, and he was there. And I’m with him one-on-one a hundred times. At least. And he thought I was the valet parker.”

I can’t help wondering why none of this constitutes a “scandal.” It’s not that campaign finance is too boring a topic for the mainstream media; consider the newsprint that has been devoted to the indictment of several of Tom DeLay’s aides on campaign finance charges. If the indictment of DeLay’s aides by a long-discredited Democratic activist in Travis County, Texas, is a big news story, then why isn’t the indictment of Hillary Clinton’s finance director by the Justice Department an equally big story? It’s often said that newspapers focus on lurid stories to boost circulation; if that’s true, why aren’t they jumping all over a story that features, as the Times-Picayune’s headline put it, sex, lies and secret tape recordings? Not to mention the Kennedys, the Clintons, and a supporting cast of Hollywood stars. Hmmm. I can’t think of any explanation for the mainstream media’s sudden reticence.
Via the all-seeing Lucianne.


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