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   Clinton fundraiser says he thought use of Porsche was personal gift

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5/26/2005 9:00 am

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Entered 6/4/2005, Updated 6/4/2005

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Jurors must decide whether the former national finance director for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton deliberately deflated the cost of a Hollywood fundraiser or simply didn't understand the law on reporting certain contributions. David Rosen, 38, is charged with making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, which oversees campaign contributions. Deliberations were to begin Thursday. Rosen testified Wednesday that he may have used bad judgment when he failed to report that a campaign donor paid his $10,000 Beverly Hills hotel bill and let him use a Porsche. But he said he never tried to hide anything. Federal prosecutors allege Rosen deliberately lied to regulators by claiming that "in-kind" contributions for a lavish Hollywood fundraiser he helped organize totaled $401,000. They say Rosen knew the contributions were worth more than $1.1 million, but he claims he relied on other people to document the costs. Prosecutors say Rosen was trying to duck federal financing rules so Clinton's campaign would have more money to spend on her 2000 U.S. Senate race, but they have said the New York Democrat was unaware of any wrongdoing. The hotel cost and use of the Porsche were provided by Aaron Tonken, another organizer of the fundraiser who is now serving a 63-month prison sentence on separate charges of defrauding charities of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rosen testified that he thought the use of the Porsche was a personal gift.


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