Citizens for Honest Government
Citizens for Honest Government (CHG) is "an example of the practical linkage among the Republican Party, the conservative Christian Right, Christian Right theocrats, and hard right conspiracism," Political Research Associates wrote on its The Public Eye website.
President Bill Clinton smear campaign
Citizens for Honest Government, based in Orange County, California, between 1994 and 1996 "covertly paid more than $200,000 to individuals who made damaging allegations" about President Bill Clinton's "personal conduct," as "part of a covert and sophisticated political propaganda effort to influence public opinion against President Clinton," Murray Waas reported March 1998 in Salon. Documentation of the payments "detailed in the organization's confidential accounting ledgers and other internal records" were said to have been obtained by the journalist.
In March 1995, for example, "the Arkansas represenative of Citizens for Honest Government signed a contract agreeing to pay two Arkansas state troopers who had made questionable allegations supporting the theory that the late White House Counsel Vincent Foster had been murdered. The troopers, Roger Perry and Larry Patteson, who had previously told news organizations about Clinton's alleged extramarital affairs, had provided information about Foster's death to Kenneth Starr, the Whitewater independent counsel.
"The drug smuggling and Vincent Foster allegations were prominently featured in The Clinton Chronicles, a video produced by Citizens for Honest Government and co-financed, publicized and distributed by" Jerry Falwell, Waas wrote. "The notorious 1994 video also insinuated that Clinton's political adversaries often met untimely and suspicious deaths."
"Almost all of the people named as recipients of Citizens for Honest Government funds in the group's accounting ledgers confirmed to Salon that they had been paid by the organization. The ledgers listed them as 'expert witnesses'," Waas wrote. "A spokesman for Falwell, Mark DeMoss, said in an interview that Falwell was unaware of the payments made by Citizens to its 'expert witnesses'."
However, DeMoss and CHG president Patrick Matrisciana "gave conflicting accounts of Falwell's relationship with Matrisciana and Citizens for Honest Government. Initially, he said, 'The Rev. Falwell and Pat Matrisciana have had a relationship for over 20 years, and Rev. Falwell thought that there might be merit to what Pat had produced.' But in a subsequent interview, Demoss said that Falwell and Matrisciana had only 'met each other about twice' in their lives.
"According to Demoss and Matrisciana, the two men agreed that Falwell would promote The Clinton Chronicles on Falwell's 'Old Time Gospel Hour' television show, as well as for a special half-hour infomercial," Waas wrote.
"However," Waas wrote, "a direct-mail fund-raising appeal by Falwell suggests that Falwell was indeed involved with the video much earlier than he has acknowledged. The fund-raising appeal also shows that Falwell subsidized the production of the video as well. In the August 1994 direct-mail solicitation, Falwell asked supporters to 'help me produce a national television documentary which will expose shocking new facts about Bill Clinton.' The letter stated that Falwell was ready to make it available 'as soon a I can raise approximately $40,000 needed to produce this video.'"
In 1996, according to CHG records, Matrisciana and Christopher Ruddy, a "conservative, conspiracy-minded journalist" who was then a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a newspaper owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, "maintained a joint bank account in the name of Jeremiah Productions that made modest payments to critics of the president." Scaife has "financed numerous investigations" of President Clinton, Waas wrote. Additionally, "internal records of Jeremiah Productions" obtained by Salon showed that, as of September 1997, "the bank account controlled by Matrisciana and Ruddy had 'total assets of $3.069 million' and no liabilities."
- Patrick Matrisciana, president
In 1998, Jeremiah Productions and Citizens for Honest Government shared the same offices in Hemet, California, and Matrisciana "headed both entities."
Related SourceWatch articles
- Profile: Citizens for Honest Government - Pat Matrisciana, Public Eye, undated.
- Murray Waas, "The Falwell connection," Salon, March 1998.
- The death of Vince Foster, Wikipedia.
- Clinton Chronicles, Wikipedia.
- Jeremiah Films, Wikipedia.
- Fred Clarkson, "The Clinton Chronicles Video," The Public Eye, undated.
- Robert Parry, "The Clinton Scandals: Where to Put Blame," The Consortium, 1996.
- Robert Parry, "Big Media & The Slush Fund Mysteries," The Consortium, 1998.
- Murray Waas, The Falwell Connection," March 11, 1998.
- Terry Krepel, "Paying Money For Political Dirt? We're Shocked -- Shocked! In attacking Larry Flynt, NewsMax conveniently forgets how handsomely the purveyors of Clinton sleaze were paid (not to mention the money it's making off of them)." ConWebWatch, September 29, 2000.
- Murray Waas, "Executive Director of Group That Produced Rev. Wright Television Ads Worked on the Infamous Clinton Chronicles," personal blog, Nov. 3, 2008.
- Citizens for Honest Government, NNDB.com.