- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 16, 2001

For some, it is the warm, sweet smell of cut grass. For others, the crumble of a madeleine. Then there are those who sink into a poignant wallow of nostalgia at the sight of a headline like this one "Scam Suspect: I Gave Hil 2M."

Sigh. Remember the Clintons? Thanks to the New York Daily News, they were back in the news this week, Mr. and Mrs. both, to take the nation on a sentimental journey, if not a ride. First, there was that "scam suspect" mentioned above, talking about $2 million in unreported campaign contributions to Mrs. Clinton´s Senate campaign. To be sure, this "scam suspect," a Hollywood promoter named Peter Paul who staged last year´s "Hollywood Tribute to Bill Clinton," is trying to cut a deal with prosecutors to take the sting out of the government´s case against him for monkeying around with $25 million worth of stock, so you never know. But his story has that je ne sais quoi to tickle the olfactories of veteran Clintonologists, particularly his allegations that a senior Democrat asked him for $150,000 after Mr. Paul sought a presidential pardon for two prior convictions. Still more intriguingly, Mr. Paul is being represented by Judicial Watch´s Larry Klayman, who reports that his client is able to document his contributions with canceled checks and personal thank-you notes from Bill, Hillary and, weirdly enough, Chelsea Clinton. Looking forward to it.

And there´s more. Just for old times´ sake, Bill Clinton interrupted his busy tour of the French Open, the winner´s circle at Belmont and a Lakers-76ers game in Philly to squeeze in a little time to rub "elbows with a man wanted on fraud charges in India during a posh fund-raiser."

Fraud charges … fund-raiser … the legacy lives. It may be true that anybody can rub elbows with someone wanted on fraud charges in India or Indiana, for that matter but nobody can do it like Bill Clinton.

A little background: Said elbow-rubbing took place at a Manhattan fund-raiser for victims of the recent Indian earthquake with Sant Singh Chatwal, an Indian-born naturalized U.S. citizen and major Clinton donor. You might say that where India is concerned, Mr. Chatwal has been the Clintons´ constant companion, having accompanied Mr. Clinton and daughter Chelsea on their fun-filled Indian odyssey last year, and having reportedly arranged and also traveled on Mr. Clinton´s most recent Indian excursion. Indeed, while accompanying Mr. Clinton to India in April, the Indian press later reported that Mr. Chatwal was actually on the lam from Indian police, and, as the Daily News wrote, used "his political connections and role as a Clinton companion to elude a top cop hot on his trail." Mr. Chatwal "boasted to the Indian Express that he has been a Clinton friend for 10 years, since holding his first fund-raising dinner in New York." (One, two, three: Awww.) "He told the newspaper he refused an offer from Clinton to bail him out of jail were he arrested by Indian authorities."

It was all very touching at least until Bill Clinton let loose with the punchline. When asked about all the charges against his pal this week, Mr. Clinton told the Daily News, "I don´t know anything about that."

Seems like old times.

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