SEPTEMBER 14, 2007
Hillary Clinton swears she didnâ??t know about the criminal histories of at least two recently exposed donors, but she canâ??t possibly say the same about a Texas oilman who cut big checks after being federally indicted in New York for fraud, conspiracy and violating U.S. sanctions laws.
Clinton and many of her fellow lawmakers from both parties, continued accepting hefty donations from Oscar Wyatt after federal prosecutors charged him in Clintonâ??s very own backyardâ??Manhattanâ??in 2005.
The millionaire oilman is accused of bribing Iraqi officials with millions of dollars to illegally win oil contracts as part of the corrupt United Nationsâ?? oil-for-food program. Prosecutors say Wyatt met personally with Saddam Hussein and funneled illegal kickbacks to the deceased dictator in order to secure contracts for his companies.
Wyattâ??s trial is actually taking place this week in New York and he could face seven decades in prison. The serious federal charges evidently did not deter Clinton and other politicians, including Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson, from accepting Wyattâ??s money. Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Sam Brownback have also accepted Wyattâ??s cash since his arrest.
When Clinton returned nearly $1 million in campaign donations from fugitive Chinese fundraiser Norman Hsu this week she denied knowing about his criminal past even though she had been warned about Hsuâ??s renowned illegal enterprise. Claming to be startled over the evidence, her campaign has vowed to do thorough background checks on donors.
Earlier this year the New York senator also said she had no idea that a Pakistani businessman (Abdul Rehman Jinnah) who gave her thousands of dollars in illegal contributions was a fugitive on the FBIâ??s Most Wanted list. Jinnah fled the country after being charged with conspiracy and making illegal campaign contributions to several top Democratic lawmakers.
Even if Clinton was truly ignorant about those two mega donorsâ?? shady pasts, itâ??s difficult to imagine that the senator didnâ??t know about Wyattâ??s serious federal indictment filed in the very area she represents in the U.S. Senate. Perhaps she hasnâ??t heard about his trial, even though it is splattered all over the media.
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