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THE FALWELL CONNECTION | PAGE 2 OF 4
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Another key player in the Citizens for Honest Government anti-Clinton scheme was an Arkansas state trooper, Larry Patterson, who in December l993, along with two other former members of Gov. Clinton's personal security detail, first made salacious allegations regarding the private life of the president to the American Spectator magazine and the Los Angeles Times. The American Spectator's "Troopergate" story, which included a reference to a woman named "Paula," was the root of the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones against Clinton.
In the April issue of Esquire magazine, David Brock, the author of the American Spectator story, casts doubt on Patterson's and the other troopers' accounts. Admitting that he had an "ideological motive" for writing the original story, Brock says he now wonders whether the troopers "took me for a ride," and accuses them of being "greedy" and having "slimy motives."
One of those troopers, Roger Perry, told Salon that he still believes the stories he told to Brock four years ago are true. But he has also become critical of the operation conducted by Citizens. "I came to believe that what they were up to was wrong," Perry told Salon.
Trooper Patterson was closely associated in the anti-Clinton scheme with Larry Nichols, a disgruntled former Arkansas state employee who has waged a relentless campaign against Clinton ever since the then-governor fired him from an Arkansas state agency for malfeasance in 1987.
In l994, Nichols joined Citizens for Honest Government. Beginning sometime in early l995, he opened up a joint bank account with Patterson. Out of the account, the two made modest payments to at least six other individuals who made allegations about the president, financial and other records indicate.
Patterson and Nichols confirmed the existence of the bank account and details of the payments in separate interviews after Salon learned about them from other sources.
The largest single recipient of funds from Citizens for Honest Government was Nichols, who received more than $89,000. Nichols, who narrated "The Clinton Chronicles," has repeatedly said in interviews that he has never received any money for his appearance in the video or his other anti-Clinton efforts. But according to records obtained by Salon, Nichols received more than $89,000 in l994 and l995 from Citizens for Honest Government and a film company called Jeremiah Productions.
Jeremiah Productions shares offices with Citizens for Honest Government in Hemet, Calif. Matrisciana heads both entities. According to Citizens' records, beginning in 1996 Matrisciana and Christopher Ruddy, a conservative, conspiracy-minded journalist, maintained a joint bank account in the name of Jeremiah Productions that made modest payments to critics of the president.
Ruddy is a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a newspaper owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, the reclusive billionaire and vociferous critic of Clinton who has financed numerous investigations of the president.
According to the internal records of Jeremiah Productions, which also were obtained by Salon, as of Sept. 1997 the bank account controlled by Matrisciana and Ruddy had "total assets of $3.069 million" and no liabilities.
Scaife and Ruddy did not return numerous calls for comment. Matrisciana asserted in an interview that neither Citizens nor Jeremiah Productions had ever received money from Scaife. "I wish that was the case," he said. Matrisciana said the two organizations earn their income through an aggressive direct-mail campaign and by sales of their various films and videos.
Three former employees of Citizens for Honest Government told Salon that Nichols received far more than the $89,000 he was paid by the organization. The former employees say that Nichols boasted of earnings as high as $200,000 from selling copies of "The Clinton Chronicles" and other anti-Clinton videos produced by Jeremiah Productions.
In l995, Nichols, in turn, also began to make payments to other individuals who have made allegations about Clinton's personal life, according to banking records and sources familiar with the transactions. The payments were drawn from the joint bank account Nichols maintained with Patterson, the Arkansas state trooper, the documents show.
In separate interviews with Salon, both Nichols and Patterson acknowledged they made at least a half dozen payments from the joint bank account to individuals in Arkansas who have made allegations about President Clinton's private life.
Matrisciana denied in an interview with Salon that he or Citizens for Honest Government were behind the payments made by Nichols and Patterson: "We gave Larry Nichols an awful lot of money, but it does not follow that we directed him how to spend it," Matrisciana said. "He was not our cut-out. He was not our front. And we, in turn, were never a front for Rev. Falwell or anyone else."
N E X T+P A G E+| The Wall Street Journal and the Clinton-cocaine stories