To see where Money and Politicians meet, climb into the Catbird Seat!
The Catbird Spots Democrats
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Al Gore – Vice President of the United States of America (1993-2001). Loser Democratic candidate for President – 2000.
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From Red Mafiya – How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America: Until the Bank of New York fiasco, the top rungs of the U.S. foreign policy establishment refused to acknowledge the Russian government’s staggering corruption. In 1995, the CIA sent Vice President Al Gore, who had developed a “special” relationship with then Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, a thick dossier containing conclusive evidence of his widespread corruption.
Gore’s friend had become a multibillionaire after he took over Gazprom, the giant natural gas monopoly, with holdings in banking, media, and other properties. The CIA said it cost $1 million merely to gain entry into Chernomyrdin’s office to discuss a business deal. [By way of comparison, it only cost $10,000 to get into Clinton’s oval office or the Lincoln bedroom.]…
Gore angrily returned the report, scribbling a barnyard epithet across the file … and declared that he did not want to see further damning reports about Russian officials….
“The bottom line is that Clinton and Gore had lots of warning about Russian corruption under Yeltsin’s banner of reform,” wrote political columnist David Ignatious in the Washington Post.
“And the question continues to be: Why didn’t the administration do more to stop it?“
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From Year of the Rat: . . . In 1988 Huang, Riady, Democratic activist Maria Hsia, and others formed the Pacific Leadership Council in an effort to attract Asian-Americans to the Democratic Party. Huang and Hsia are credited with organizing the April 1988 Democratic fund-raiser at James Riady’s home in Los Angeles.
They were also tour guides for a January 1989 trip to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia by Senator Al Gore and California Lieutenant Governor Leo McCarthy. The later-famous Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple paid for Gore’s trip….
On April 29, 1996, Vice President Al Gore attended a luncheon at the Hsi Lai Temple, which describes itself as the largest Buddhist monastery in the United States. When the media first questioned Gore about the luncheon, the vice president claimed that it had simply been a “community outreach event,” not a fund-raiser….
In the two years since the press discovered the temple luncheon, Vice President Gore has been between a rock and a hard place:
If he and his supporters admit that he was aware it was a fund-raiser, then he opens himself to having knowingly participated in something illegal. If Gore denies that he was aware it was a fund-raiser (when everyone else around him knew), people will wonder if anyone this incompetent is fit to be president….
Today, it is much harder for Gore and his associates to claim ignorance because everyone knows that Gore’s 1996 visit to the temple was not a one-time happening. Gore’s relationship with the temple, and the illegal fund-raising, went back eight years. This is just one of the reasons that the temple fund-raiser was far worse than “inappropriate.”
The Hsi Lai Temple has been used to launder campaign funds for the DNC. Moreover, the April 1996 luncheon Gore attended was awash with Chinese Communist agents….
CAMPAIGN FINANCE: The Clinton-Gore record of campaign finance abuses is staggering:
. . . The bottom line: CLINTON AND GORE GOT AWAY WITH IT!~ ~ ~
AL GORE’S SILENCE: Special attention needs to be given to the role of V. P. Al Gore and the issue of Chinese cruise missile sales to Iran….
The Chinese have a particularly deadly anti-shipping cruise missile designated the C-802. . . . in 1992 then-Senator Al Gore (D-TN) joined with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to pass the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act.
The legislation placed severe sanctions on foreign countries that exported advanced conventional weapons, including cruise missiles, to Iran or Iraq. At the time of passage in 1992, Senator Gore addressed the president of the Senate as follows: “It is abundantly clear that we need to raise the stakes high, and we need to act without compunction if we catch violators.”…
Although the State Department has admitted to Congress that there is “evidence” of the Chinese shipments of C-802s to Iraq, and fifteen thousand American servicemen and women are within range of these weapons, the administration has refused repeated congressional demands to enforce American sanctions. The vice president has been totally silent on the issue and has made no effort to enforce or defend his own legislation….
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From If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates:
GORE FITS IN . . . While George W. was born to the manor and summered at the family compound on Walker’s Point … Al Gore was born the son of a well-to-do but decidedly maverick U.S. senator from Tennessee….
But Al Junior is hardly a chip off that old block of in-your-face populism. Far from it — his own mom, Pauline, has described her second child as “a born conformist.”
Unfortunately, that fits him like a black suit on an undertaker. As he has confirmed from childhood all the way through his vice presidential years, this is not a fellow who’s comfortable coloring outside the lines, much less challenging the corporate order….
Anyone who thinks Gore is about to leap out in a pair of tights and a red cape to crusade as The People’s Champion needs (1) to get professional help if you really fantasize about Al Gore in tights, and (2) to explain why he’s been spending such an inordinate amount of time in the company of Rattner, Tisch & Kramer….
Steve Rattner is chief executive of the investment banking house Lazard Freres; John Tisch is scion of the multibillionaire Tisch family, with major holdings in everything from Loews hotels to the New York Giants; and Orin Kramer owns the megabucks money-management firm of Kramer Spellman.
These three gentlemen of the Street have become Al’s best pals during the past three years, touting him as hot political stock and working furtively to bring him into the inner sanctums of America’s most powerful brokers, bankers, and bond dealers.
RT&K’s objective has not been merely to introduce him to the conservative (and genetically Republican) world of these high-level money changers but to have them really get to know Al, trust him, teach him, and– dare I say it? — bond with him.
According to the Washington Post, the trio of Rattner, Tisch, and Kramer has put together dozens of what they refer to as “cultivational” meetings between Gore and a who’s who of America’s financial heavies, including top executives from Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, J.P. Morgan; Citigroup; AIG Inc., and Bankers Trust.
Gore has been courting them like a boar in heat ever since he and Clinton were reelected in ’96. He has lunched in Manhattan hotels with them, held tete-a-tetes with them in his Executive Office Building hideaway, had breakfast brainstorming sessions with them in Washington and New York, brought them in for White House coffees (some people just never learn), and even threw three intimate Christmas parties at the Vice President’s mansion in 1997 especially to host his new Street buddies and their spouses.
The bonding is complete. Rattner, Tisch, and Kramer have been harvesting bales of campaign dollars from the fertile fields of Wall Street for Gore’s presidential run. By midsummer of ’99, Kramer was already on record as having baled up more that $100,000 for Gore, and executives from Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, and many more are known to have bought stock in Al.
Check by check, event by event, private meeting by private meeting, Gore has steadily forged and fitted the links of his own Wall Street shackles.
What do they get? A good boy. One who’s well trained, properly grateful, eager to have their continuing approval, and a born conformist. . . .
For example, the Gore2000 model has toned down considerably the enviro-protecto persona that only a few years ago was his political hallmark. Instead, he now emphasizes a remarkably Republican-like approach that advocates balancing any environmental action with the absolute need to assure that America’s “good business climate” (including the stock prices of polluters) is not harmed in any way….
As Al himself put it, “I believe that anybody who aspires to lead this nation in the 21st century needs to be fully conversant with the business environment.” Save the Dow, man!
Likewise, Gore2000 has come to the altar of the high church of free-market orthodoxy, becoming almost evangelical in lecturing leaders of developing nations– as he did in Malaysia in 1998– on the imperative of throwing open their borders and their people to the holy whims of Wall Street investors.
Never mind that this orthodoxy is crushing the aspirations of those people, even as it drains the life out of the aspirations of America’s middle class, Al’s focus is on campaign check writers.
Jon Corzine, co-CEO of Goldman Sachs, is one of those check writers, as well as one of Gore’s tutors … In a telling understatement about the reelection of Democrat Gore, Corzine told Washington Post reporter Ianthe Jeanne Dugan: “The Vice President has tried to understand how the global economy works from the eyes of someone sitting in Wall Street.”
Swell. When’s the last time Gore tried to understand how the global economy works form the eyes of someone on your street? But, then, unlike Mr. Corzine, you and your Goldman Sachs colleagues haven’t written more than $76,750 worth of checks to him, have you?
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To keep Gore from getting his streets confused, his pals Rattner, Tisch, and Kramer continue to surround him with the right kind of people. Various Wall Street executives regularly confer with him behind closed doors to explain global financial issues and to counsel him on his economic policies (“Don’t touch that Dow!”) — and they even vet his speeches. . . .
Not to worry, say some Gore strategists, explaining that Wall Street itself is sort of “populistic” now that so many Internet-browsing, Starbucks-sipping Americans are, like, you know, really into the market in a Third Millennium kind of way, and they see CEOs as celebrity studs, so seeing Big Al rubbing shoulders with them really has its own grassrootsy appeal.
Really. None other than Roger Altman, the New York investment banker who first introduced Bill Clinton to Wall Street and later helped shape Clinton’s elitist economic policy as deputy treasury secretary, embraces both Gore and his “SmartPolitics” identification with wealth.
As Altman told Post reporter Dugan: “With a third of American households invested in Wall Street, and mushrooming millionaires made there, Wall Street is more important than ever.”
Not that Gore means any harm to us non-mushrooming millionaires or to the two-thirds of us who are not immersed in the thrill of the Dow, but– hey — he’s taken the money and kissed the devil square on the lips, so what do you expect him to do?
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Al Gore has a PAC, too … renamed Leadership 98, apparently oblivious to the fact that the name had a built-in Y2K problem. What the hell, said one of Gore’s political operatives in the New York Times, “We’re more concerned with the purpose than the name.”
Fair enough. The purpose is to bag as much special interest cash as quickly as possible, and Leadership 98 has bagged $4 million, including $5,000 each from the top executives of Netscape, 3Com, Bell Atlantic, Lucent Technologies, Lazard Freres, SunAmerica, AT&T, Disney, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Dow Jones, Travelers, Cablevision, Prudential, Dreamworks, Rite Aid, Playboy, Merrill Lynch, Northwest Airlines, Bear Stearns, Qualcomm, America Online, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Genetech, Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank), Fleet Bank, Morgan Stanley, Long Term Capital Management, BankAmerica, Solomon Smith Barney, Smith Kline Beecham, Enron, Pfizer, Lockheed Martin, Miramax, Lehman Brothers, and BellSouth….
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From The Buying of the President (1996 ed): . . . The Telecommunications Companies — Of course, the financial industry has not been the only business group to capitalize on the Clinton Washington bonanza….
During the 1992 campaign and as vice president-elect, Al Gore advocated a nationwide fiber-optic “information highway” as a public investment project….
A year later, on Dec 21, 1993, Gore outlined a completely different vision: “Unlike the interstates, the information highways will be built, paid for, and funded by the private sector . . . And so I am announcing today that the administration will support removal, over time, under appropriate conditions, of judicial and legislative restrictions on all types of telecommunications companies: Cable, telephone, utilities, television, and satellite.”…
Gore’s dramatic reversal got little media play, but did not go unnoticed by the telecommunications industry. On the exact date of his speech, Gore’s Democratic party received $92,000 in soft-money contributions from key industry players….
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From The Buying of the President 2000 :
On Sept 7, 1995, Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., stood on the White House lawn and talked in sweeping terms about ending the era of big government. He touted a list of recommendations formulated by the National Performance Review, an initiative Gore directed that, he claimed, streamlined the federal bureaucracy, cut unnecessary waste, and helped make the government “work better and cost less.” Gore said that his report, delivered to President Clinton that day, would continue the drive to “reinvent government.”
Gore did not mention that his recommendations to the President included a plan to give oil companies access to thousands of acres of oil-rich, publicly owned land that the U.S. Navy has held as emergency reserves since 1912. Ever since the federal government earmarked the reserves for military emergencies, the oil industry had tried and failed to pry them away from the Navy.
In 1922 a couple of oil men– Edward L Doneny and Harry Sinclair– bribed Albert Fall, the Secretary of the Interior in the Harding Administration, for secret leases to drill on two of the fields, the Teapot Dome field just outside of Casper, Wyoming, and the Elk Hills field in Bakersfield, California. Doheny and his Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company (later Atlantic Richfield Company or ARCO), paid $300,000 to Fall in exchange for the rights. When the bribes were uncovered the ensuing Teapot Dome scandal forced the resignations of Fall (who later went to prison) [and who forever gave his name to the colloquialism: “fall guy”] and Edward Denby, the Secretary of the Navy.
In 1973, during the Arab oil embargo, the Nixon Administration tried to lease Elk Hills to boost domestic oil production. In 1984, 1986, and 1987, the Reagan Administration proposed selling Elk Hillsfor a lump sum payment of $1.5 billion that would go toward reducing the federal budget deficit. Each time, Congress wisely blocked the sale of Elk Hills.
But where Fall, Nixon, and Reagan had failed, Gore succeeded. … President Clinton took Gore’s advice and approved a deal to let oil companies buy some of the reserves. The White House then pushed to have language authorizing the sales inserted in the 1996 defense authorization bill, which Congress ultimately approved.
Oil companies bid on the field and, finally, on Oct 6, 1997, the Energy Department announced that the government would sell its interest in the 47,000-acre Elk Hills reserve to Occidental Petroleum Corp for $3.65 billion. It was the largest privatization of federal property in U.S. history, one that tripled Occidental’s U.S. oil reserves overnight. . . .
Although the Energy Dept was required to assess the likely environmental consequences of the proposed sale, it didn’t. Instead, it hired a private company, ICF Kaiser International, Inc., to complete the assessment. The general chairman of Gore’s presidential campaign, Tony Coelho, sat on the board of directors.
Just hours after the announcement of the Elk Hills sale, Gore stood across town on the campus of Georgetown University and delivered a speech to the White House Conference on Climate Change on the “terrifying prospect” of global warming, a problem he blamed on the unchecked use of fossil fuels such as oil. . . .
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[Occidental Petroleum] has been a steady supplier of campaign funds to Gore and to the Democratic Party, though its relationship with Gore goes far deeper. Armand Hammer, who built Occidental Petroleum into the behemoth it is today and who’s been described as “the Godfather of American corporate corruption,” liked to say that he had Gore’s father, Senator Albert Gore, Sr., “in my back pocket.” When the elder Gore left the Senate in 1970, Hammer gave him a $500,000-a-year job as the chairman of Island Coal Creek Company, an Occidental subsidiary, and a seat on Occidental’s board of directors. By 1992, Gore owned Occidental stock valued at $680,000. . . .
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Consider the lineup:
Tony Coelho . . . resigned in disgrace from the House of Representatives amid charges that he was involved in a sweetheart deal with Michael Milken, the notorious junk-bond dealer.
Nathan Landow . . . investigated for trying to influence the testimony of Kathleen Willey, the White House volunteer who alleged that President Clinton groped her in a corridor outside the Oval Office.
Franklin Haney . . . indicted on 42 counts of making illegal contributions to Tennessee politicians and investigated by Congress for financial irregularities in the lease of a Washington office building that is now home to the FCC.
Maria Hsia . . . indicted for making improper campaign contributions.
Howard Glicken . . . convicted of persuading a foreign national to contribute to a campaign.
Mark Jimenez . . . indicted for making illegal campaign contributions, and currently a fugitive from justice living in the Philippines.
What do they all have in common?
Albert Gore, Jr.
Some are currently employed by, or otherwise involved in, Gore’s presidential campaign. Others are past associates that Gore would like the public and the press to forget as he pursues the highest office in the land. . . .
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Albert Gore, Jr.’s Top 10 Career Patrons
1. Ernst & Young International
2. BellSouth Corp.
3. Goldman Sachs
4. D.E. Shaw & Co./Kohliner families
5. Citigroup, Inc.
6. Viacom, Inc.
7. Mattel, Inc./The Learning Co.
8. Eskind family
9. Walt Disney Co.
10. Olan Mills family
See also: Tony Coelho; William J. Clinton
Bill Bradley – From The Buying of the President 2000: On Jan 24, 1989, members of the Senate Finance Committee, then
chaired by Democrat Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, held a hearing to discuss the wave of hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts
that had sent shock waves through the American Economy.
“In 1981, the total value of leveraged-buyout transactions in this country was $3 billion,” Bentsen explained to his fellow committee members. “By 1987 that had increased over ten times, until last year alone, in the acquisition of Kraft and RJR-Nabisco, that acquisition by itself- those acquisitions- were shown to be at $36 billion.”
Even more troubling, Bentsen explained, were the rivers of red ink that leveraged buyouts were adding to the bottom lines of so many American companies. “The net result of all these transactions is that you’re seeing a corporate debt burden that is being tied to a reduction in corporate equity,” he said. “Over the period of 1984 to 1987, the non-financial corporations in this country retired a net of $313 billion in equity, and at the same time borrowed a net of $613 billion in debt.“
The surge in corporate debt wasn’t the only reason for concern. The leveraged-buyout spree of the 1980s brought an unprecedented wave of bankruptcies, layoffs, plant closings, and financial frauds. A few got fantastically rich. Hundreds of thousands of others- ordinary Americans who’d worked for years for companies that were part of their communities- lost their jobs, their pensions, and their standards of living.
Appearing before the Senate Finance Committee the same day, Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady discussed the effects that the wave of leveraged buyouts and the growing pile of junk debt had on federal tax revenues. “Since interest payments are deductible but corporate dividends are not, there is a substantial tax advantage that accrues to LBOs and other transactions that effectively substitute corporate debt for equity,” Brady testified.
In other words, a company that generated profits and issued dividends to shareholders also paid taxes, a company whose profits went to paying off mountains of junk bond debt paid no taxes at all.
It was just the arcane issue that typically fascinated the cerebral second-term Senator from New Jersey, Bill Bradley. As one of the key architects of the Tax Reform act of 1986, Bradley was familiar with the intricacies of corporate finance. . . . He was acutely aware of the vast assortment of loopholes, shelters, and other devices that wealthy individuals and corporations used to avoid paying federal income taxes. If anyone was qualified to understand the implications of the shift from equity to debt, it was Bill Bradley.
But rather that address the issue of the unlimited deduction for corporate interest that, as Treasury Secretary Brady described it, allowed the junk bond dealers “to change the rules of the game,” Bradley decided to focus on the short-term. Brady suggested that interest deductions be limited to prevent the abuses of the leverages-buyout artists; Bradley preferred to accentuate the positive. He noted that those who sold companies to corporate raiders earned capital gains, which were subject to income taxes.
The bottom line, to Bradley at least, was this: “And well- and so, it’s a wash to the federal government in terms of tax revenues.”
In this case, however, Bradley, an Ivy Leaguer and Rhodes scholar, was wrong in a big way.
In 1994, the most recent year for which complete statistics are available, total corporate deductions for interest came to $611 billion. The sum of long- and short-term capital gains- that is, the amount of money all individual taxpayers earned by selling stocks, real estate, art, and so on – totaled just $150 billion. And the revenue produced by that $150 billion was far less. The maximum tax rate on capital gains in 1994 was 28 percent, meaning that at most the capital gains tax raised was $42 billion- less than a tenth of the value of the corporate interest write-off.
For the record, the $611 billion in total interest deductions that year also dwarfed the $173 billion in total federal income taxes paid by corporations.
Debt had indeed produced a new set of rules, but Bradley preferred to think of it as “a wash.”
Nine months after the hearing, in Oct 1989, the Washington Post reported that takeover artists had flooded Congress with contributions the year before. The top recipient was none other than Bradley, who received $96,000 in contributions- mostly from executives of two firms, Wesray Capital Corporation and Hambrecht & Quist– in a year he wasn’t even running for reelection….
In 1992, in an interview with a writer for the New Republic, Bradley said that he opposed any attempt to use the tax code to rein in hostile takeovers….
Over the course of his political career, Bradley has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from officers and executives of firms in the corporate-takeover business. Some highlights: at least $50,000 from Wesray Capital Corporation; at least $65,500 from Hambrecht & Quist; at least $84,250 from Skadden, Arps, Meagher and Flom, a New York firm that made millions advising corporate raiders, at least$102,601 from Prudential Securities, Inc. (formerly Prudential Bache Securities) and Prudential Insurance Company of America; $148,800 from Goldman Sachs, and at least 4228,000 from Solomon Smith Barney (now a subsidiary of Citigroup, Bradley’s No. 1 career patron).
Before it collapsed in 1990, Bradley took in nearly $20,000 from the notorious Drexel Burnham Lanbert, Inc. In 1986, Bradley even attended Drexel’s Predators’ Ball, a lavish party at which Carl Icahn, Victor Posner, Nelson Peltz, and other corporate raiders could rub elbows with junk bond king, Michael Milken, savings-and-loan operators, and favored politicians.
Few of their endeavors could be described as “good.” Consider:
Wesray Capital all but invented the leveraged buyout. The firm was started by William E. Simon, who was Treasury Secretary under President Gerald Ford, and Raymond G. Chambers, a tax accountant. It made its first big killing in 1982 when it bought Gibson Greeting Cards, Inc. To buy the company, Wesray put down $1 million of its own money and borrowed another $80 million. A year later Wesray arranged an initial public offering for Gibson, and sold it off for $290 million. Simon’s personal profit was estimated at $66 million. As for the $80 million in debt, that stayed with Gibson; the newly public company had to repay the loan.
In 1986, Wesray bought out Simmons Mattress Company, which manufactured the Beautyrest mattress and the Hide-A-Bed convertible sofa, for some $120 million. Wesray sold off the company’s overseas operations, slashed its workforce from its peak of 4,000 to 2,500 in 1988, and then sold it for $249 million to new investors.
The new investors were Simmons’ own employees, most of whom were not even aware of the terms of the deal. Wesray cancelled the workers’ 401(K) pension plan and put an employee stock ownership plan in its place. The ESOP then borrowed $249 million, mostly from banks, the proceeds of which ended up in the pockets of the Wesray investors. The employees of Simmons, as the new owners of the company, would pay the debt off over ten years. In return for their retirement nest eggs and the debt they were taking on, the workers got shares in the new company valued at roughly $10 each.
By 1990 the shares were worth about 50 cents apiece. . . .
By 1990, Simon had moved on to other investment endeavors . . . . And six years later, Bradley left the Senate, leaving a trail of scorn in his wake.
He blamed “the power of money in politics” for the public’s mistrust of government. Once out of office, he pledged to “energize movements in states to send Washington a message for radical campaign-finance reform.”
But Bradley chose an odd way to follow through on his pledge. A month after his retirement from the Senate, he was pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from the same Wall Street brokerages whose practices he defended form the Senate. Instead of toiling in the grass roots, he took a job with J.P. Morgan Services, Inc., that paid him $100,000 for consulting work. Morgan Guaranty Trust of New York, a J.P. Morgan subsidiary, paid him a $200,000 fee, again for consultations. And Van Beuren Management, Inc, a New Jersey firm closely tied to Raymond Chambers, hired Bradley as well. Bradley has not disclosed what he did for the company or how much he was paid.
What Bradley’s financial disclosure statement shows is that after he left the Senate, he wasn’t building a movement for reform. Rather, he was doing what he’s done best for more than twenty years, chasing down cash. . . .
In Dec 1998, he went public with the news that he would seek his party’s nomination in 2000. . . .
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“I want to give people a sense of where we’re headed in the midst of all this change that we’re experiencing now on multiple levels,” he explains on his campaign’s Web site. “And I want to do that in a way that allows people once again to regain some faith in their democracy- that their participation actually counts. You don’t have to give money. That’s important, but your participation also counts. The key to this campaign is going to be to get more and more people who have not been a part of campaigns to get involved because they recognize that something is different.”
If the advisory board he’s chosen for his campaign is any indication, Bradley hasn’t been very successful in reaching out beyond his base of well-heeled contributors. He’s surrounded himself with Wall Street insiders, corporate raiders, and high-powered attorneys.
His campaign treasurer, Theodore V. Wells, Jr., is a partner in the New Jersey law firm Lowenstein, Sandler, Kohl, Fisher and Boylan, Bradley’s No. 12 career patron. Wells made a name for himself defending James Regan, a general partner of Princeton/Newport Partners, L.P., who was indicted and convicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for insider trading. Four other partners of Princeton/Newport, and a trader with Drexel Burnham Lambert, were also found guilty in the case. All six convictions were later overturned on appeal.
Wells has defended a host of other high-profile clients. He represented Exxon Corporation in 1990 when the government launched three separate criminal probes into the company’s involvement in an oil spill in the waters that separate Staten Island and New Jersey. Exxon eventually pleaded guilty to reduced charges and paid $15 million in fines.
Wells defended Salim “Sandy” Lewis, a Wall Street trader who pleaded guilty to manipulating the share price of Fireman’s Fund Corporation in concert with Ivan Boesky, the notorious arbitrageur, who also pleaded guilty to charges of insider trading.
More recently, Wells successfully defended Mike Espy, the disgraced former Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration who accepted more than $35,000 in gratuities from companies his department regulated.
Wells is hardly an anomaly. Bradley’s top advisers and fund-raisers include Joseph H. Flom, an attorney with Skadden, Arps and a major fund-raiser for Bill Clinton; Louis B. Susman, a partner in Salomon Smith Barney, the Wall Street investment firm; and John W. Jordan II, whose firm, Jordan Industries, Inc. deals in junk bonds and leveraged buyouts. All are among Bradley’s most generous career patrons.
Bradley has also added Raymond Chambers, the “Ray” in Wesray, to his board of advisers. Chambers jumped on President Bush’s “thousand points of light” bandwagon in 1990 and formed the Points of Light Foundation.
Another not-for-profit organization, the Points of Light Initiative, shared the same Morristown, New Jersey, mailing address as Wesray Capital and Van Beuren Management– the same company that hired Bradley as a consultant for an undisclosed sum a month after he left the Senate. Since 1990, Van Beuren has given Republican Party committees more than $190,000 in soft money. . . .
Bradley’s campaign chairman is Douglas Berman, who as a teenager met Bradley when he was still a star for the New York Knicks. Berman managed Bradley’s 1978 and 1984 Senate races; he also managed James Florio’s successful 1989 New Jersey gubernatorial campaign. Berman spent one year as the state’s treasurer, then went on to work for Wall Street financier Jerome Kohlberg, a former partner of Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, which made millions managing the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. . . .
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“The choice of tax reform is that you get lower rates in exchange for giving up certain credit exclusions or deductions,” Bradley said on the Senate floor on June 11, 1986. “You give up those loopholes which only some people use, so that the tax rates on everyone can be lowered dramatically.”
That was the theory behind the Tax Reform Act of 1986. By closing the loopholes that allowed millionaires to pay no taxes, all Americans could enjoy a huge reduction in their tax rates. The particular loophole that Bradley wanted to close that day was the deduction for contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts, a provision in the Internal Revenue Code that overwhelmingly benefitted not the wealthy, but the middle class.
Passed in 1981, the IRA deduction was hailed by members of both political parties as a tool to provide additional retirement savings for the middle class. Journalists Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele reported in their 1994 book, America: Who Really Pays the Taxes, that the tax break did just that. Some 90 percent of taxpayers taking the deduction earned less than $75,000 a year – hardly the wealthy. But Bradley didn’t see it that way.
He brandished a chart that had a different take on the numbers. “It says that the upper income,” Bradley told his colleagues, referring to his visual aid, “those making more than $40,000- 15 percent, the top 15 percent of the American taxpayers- take 40 percent of the deductions, contribute 50 percent of all money contributed to IRAs, and realize 60 percent of all tax savings.”
In other words, those earning as little as $40,000 a year are in the upper-income bracket. Under Bradley’s scheme, they would be treated just like someone earning $400,000 or $4 million. … Whereas before the top tax rate of 50 percent applied only to the wealthiest, the plan Bradley crafted lowered it to 28 percent. That new top rate kicked in for married couples earning more than $29,750, and single filers earning more than $17,850. So by Bradley’s reckoning, $40,000 was a little too high an income to qualify as middle class.
While Bradley fought to close the IRA “loophole,” he chose to leave alone another retirement plan that got special treatment in the tax code. Known as Keogh plans, they can be used only by self-employed professionals such as lawyers, doctors, and investors, and by partnerships such as law firms. Keogh plans allow these better-off individuals to shield up to 30 percent of their incomes from taxes- a far greater amount than the maximum $2,500 that a factory worker or a secretary could save tax-free in his or her IRA. In 1994 those earning more than $100,000 a year shielded $5.7 billion in income by paying it into Keogh plans- and realized, to use Bradley’s language, 70 percent of the tax savings.
Of course, even without the tax advantages, one can still open an IRA. But without the tax advantage, it’s less desirable. In 1985, before Congress eliminated the deduction, 16.2 million taxpayers took advantage of the tax break to save for their retirements. By 1994 that number had fallen to 3.9 million. . . .
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Preserving the Keogh tax break for wealthy professionals while killing the IRA deduction for the middle class wasn’t the only favor Bradley did for the well-off during his three terms in the Senate. While Bradley may have eschewed constituent services for the many, there were a few New Jerseyans whom he was willing to go to bat for. They just happened to be multinational pharmaceutical companies.
Bradley often pointed to the fact that pharmaceutical companies were one of the largest employers in the state as his motive for protecting their interests. But more than once, his favors for drug makers, who contributed large sums of money to his campaigns, flew in the face of the public interest. On two occasions Bradley even abandoned the public stand he took against tax breaks for special interests to save the pharmaceutical industry’s biggest boondoggle, Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Under Section 936, companies that shift manufacturing jobs to Puerto Rico receive as much as a 100 percent tax break on revenues earned in the territory. The purpose of the tax credit, which first took effect afer World War II, was to encourage U.S. companies to invest in Puerto Rico, thus creating jobs and raising wages on the impoverished island. While the standard of living in Puerto Rico remains far below that of the United States, the tax break has proven to be a lucrative way for U.S. companies to boost their profits.
Although any industry that operates in Puerto Rico can benefit from the tax credit, drug makers benefit more than any other. A 1992 report by the General Accounting Office estimated that from 1980 to 1990 the Possessions Tax Credit generated a $10.1 billion windfall- about 56 percent of the tax benefit- for 26 pharmaceutical companies. Drug companies not only have factories on the island, but they also shelter income earned in the United States there by transferring patents for highly profitable drugs to their Puerto Rican subsidiaries.
Little wonder that one of Bradley’s colleagues in the Senate, Democrat David Pryor of Arkansas, branded Section 936 “the mother of all tax breaks.”
Bradley first saved the Possessions Tax Credit in 1986, just as Congress was hammering out the details of the Tax Reform Act. By that time, it had become clear that Section 936 was doing little to improve conditions in Puerto Rico, and was costing the Treasury billions. . . .
The drug industry, understandably, moved to save its lucrative subsidy. In a letter to Bradley, the chief executives of nine drug companies made a thinly veiled threat to move their operations to foreign countries if Section 936 was repealed. Bradley later told the Center that he didn’t remember the letter, adding that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. He fought to save Section 936 and won. “The pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest employers in New Jersey [50,000 jobs], and I didn’t need a letter from the companies to know the importance of the industry to my state and my constituents,” Bradley told the Center. The sweeping Tax Reform act of 1986 left the provision alone.
When “the mother of all tax breaks” came under assault a few years later, Bradley once again came to the drug industry’s rescue. On March 11, 1992, Pryor introduced an amendment to do away with Section 936. It was the first step in a larger effort to force drug makers to contain the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs. (Prescription drug prices have increased 146 percent in ten years- triple the rate of inflation.) Closing the Section 936 loop-hole would have saved the nation’s taxpayers more than $7 billion over five years. But the pharmaceutical industry’s allies immediately took to the Senate floor to block the proposal. First up on the podium was Bradley.
Bradley was the second-ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, the tax-writing panel that had jurisdiction over Pryor’s amendment. He was soon followed by Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, the committee’s chairman, who made it clear that Pryor’s amendment was going nowhere. . . .
Those weren’t the only special tax breaks Bradley sought for special interests. From 1986 to 1993, Bradley introduced at least 45 bills on behalf of chemical companies seeking a reduction or suspension of the taxes they pay on imported chemicals used in a variety of products, from pesticides and drugs to dyes and resins.
Bradley explained away the contradiction between his effort to close tax loopholes embodied in the 1986 Tax Reform Act and doling out corporate welfare to chemical companies by saying, “I think the distinction is, if you believe in open trade, you believe in as low a tariff as possible. You want to get to a world where there are no tariffs.”
Bradley was so enamored of free trade that he even tried to eliminate tariffs for the benefit of foreign companies. He cut tariffs for Dutch and French firms as well as American corporations, all with dire consequences for the environment and public health.
Among the substances Bradley repeatedly sought tariff exemptions for are highly toxic pesticides, ethyl parathion, methyl parathion, and malathion. All three belong to a class of chemicals known as organophosphates, which were originally developed during World War II by the Nazis for use in chemical warfare. The EPA lists all three pesticides as a danger to birds, mammals, and aquatic life.
Bradley won the duty suspensions on the pesticides for Cheminova, Inc., a Danish chemical giant whose U.S. subsidiary is based in Wayne, N.J.
When inhaled or absorbed through the skin, ethyl parathion attacks the nervous system, causing nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, sweating, drooling, muscle spasms, and, in some cases, coma and death. It has been linked to the deaths of at least 70 people and illnesses in thousands of farm workers. In 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of ethyl parathion on nine crops in the United States. Cheminova still manufactures compounds containing ethyl parathion in the United States for sale abroad.
Methyl parathion is an agricultural pesticide that has found its way into urban areas with disastrous results. In 1996 an exterminator sprayed methyl parathion in houses and buildings in Pascagoula, Mississippi, causing the evacuation of dozens of families and homes and a $50 million federal cleanup. A similar incident led to the contamination of more than 200 homes in Ohio in 1994.
The third pesticide that Bradley won tariff exemptions for, malathion, can cause nausea, sweating, and muscular weakness in people even at low levels of exposure. In 1999, health authorities in New York City ordered the spraying of all five boroughs with malathion in an effort to wipe out disease-carrying mosquitoes. In 1998, a similar effort in Florida to eradicate Mediterranean fruit flies led to a class-action lawsuit by residents in the sprayed areas who complained of headaches and respiratory problems.
The duty suspension Bradley won for malathion in 1993 alone was worth $1.1 million annually. The tax break on all three pesticides was worth $2.5 million annually. . . .
In 1993, Bradley won Biocraft Laboratories of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, tariff suspensions for six chemicals. In the mid-1990s Biocraft was responsible for more than half the industrial air pollution in Bergen, New Jersey, releasing nearly 500,000 pounds of dichloromethane, a solvent that can be breathed in or absorbed through the skin, potentially causing cancer and liver and kidney damage. It was the fourth-biggest source of toxic emissions in the state. In 1994 the Food and Drug administration and the Justice Dept also forced Biocraft to recall nine major drugs and to stop making five drugs because the company failed to meet testing, quality-control, record-keeping, and manufacturing standards.
Bradley handed out pork to another New Jersey polluter, Merck & Company. In 1992 he won Merck tariff suspensions that are worth $10 million annually. In July 1991 New Jersey Citizen Action listed Merck among ten companies responsible for nearly half of the toxic waste dumped in New Jersey.
Also making the top ten polluter list was Givaudan Corporation, of Clifton, New Jersey, a subsidiary of Roche Holding, Ltd., the Swiss multinational. A month later, Bradley won Givaudan a tariff exemption for ethanon-1,2-naphthyl, a chemical used in making scents.
Bradley even won pork for Rhone-Poulenc, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the French pharmaceutical giant, which only a year earlier had leaked methyl isocyanate– the same gas responsible for the deaths of thousands in Bhopan, India, in 1984– from its plant in West Virginia. Rhone-Poulenc didn’t report the leak for three days.
Rhone-Poulenc is also the world’s only producer of aldicarb, which the Natural Resources Defense Council has called “the most acutely toxic pesticide registered for use on food.” It is responsible for the largest case of food-borne pesticide poisoning in U.S. history: more than a thousand people fell ill in 1986 for aldicarb-tainted watermelons. Because of the health risks, eleven countries have banned or deregistered the pesticide, but the company still sells it in more than 70 countries.
In all, Bradley won at least $100 million worth of tariff suspensions for drug and chemical makers. Little wonder that the pharmaceutical industry rewarded its most valuable player on Capitol Hill with record amounts of campaign money. . . .
~ ~ ~
After leaving the Senate, Bradley became an outspoken advocate of campaign-finance reform. But while he was in office, he was one of the Senate’s most prolific fund-raisers. In 1984 and 1990 he built huge war chests even though he faced weak opponents. In 1984 his campaign even cooked its own books so that it could raise more money for the general election.
Under federal election law, individuals can give a candidate up to $1,000 for a primary election and another $1,000 for the general election. After a primary election is over, candidates can raise money for it only if they still have debts incurred for that election. In 1984, Bradley’s campaign operatives created the illusion of a leftover debt from his primary campaign by redesignating money spent for the general election as having been spent for the primary. This enabled them to let individuals “max out” with $2,000 contributions- and PACs max out at $10,000- long after the primary election was over.
That wasn’t the only irregularity Bradley’s campaigns have been accused of. In 1990, contributions from Wall Street made him “the king of bundled contributions,” according to the Center for Responsive Politics. “Bundling” refers to donations given to a candidate on the same day by many employees of one company. That year, Bradley collected bundles of at least $20,000 from Salomon Brothers, Smith Barney, and Shearson, Lehman, Hutton (all three firms are now part of Citigroup, Bradley’s No. 1 career patron); Merrill Lynch (his No. 2 career patron); Goldman Sachs (his No. 3 career patron); Morgan Stanley (No. 4); Time Warner (No. 5); and Prudential Securities (now part of Prudential Insurance Company of America, his No. 6 career patron.)
Some time later, the bundled donations from Prudential caught the eye of FEC lawyers. In 1994, they determined that the securities firm had violated federal campaign-finance laws when its president, George Ball, instructed employees and vendors to donate to Bradley and other candidates. Prudential-Bache, which raised $140,000 for Bradley from employees, vendors, and other securities firms, eventually paid a $550,000 fine, the largest ever levied by the FEC. Bradley immediately announced that he would return Prudential’s money. But he kept the bundles he received from other Wall Street patrons.
As a presidential candidate, Bradley has resumed taking money from Prudential. Employees of the company gave him more than $27,000 in the first half of 1999, bringing their total contributions to Bradley over his career to more than $100,000….
Before he left the Senate, Bradley sided with Wall Street in supporting legislation- now law- to insulate securities firms from class-action lawsuits. In 1994, Orange County, California, had gone broke, making the record books as the biggest local-government bankruptcy in U.S. history. The county lost $1.6 billion and at least 1,200 county employees lost their jobs. Within weeks, the county sued its investment manager. Merrill Lynch eventually agreed to pay the county $437 million to settle the suit and $30 million to end a criminal probe by the county’s district attorney. The securities industry wasted no time in pressing Congress to limit such lawsuits, and Congress passed the Securities Litigation Reform act. Bradley voted for the bill and voted to override President Clinton’s veto of the legislation. . . .
~ ~ ~
During his brief retirement before he ran for President, Bradley raked in millions in speaking and consulting fees. In addition to the $300,000 in consulting fees he got from J.P. Morgan and its subsidiary, Morgan Guaranty, he was paid $131,250 by the Gartner Group, Inc., a consulting company in Stamford, Connecticut, during the same period. Neither J.P. Morgan, the Gartner Group, nor Bradley’s campaign would tell the Center what he did to earn those fees.
Whatever he did for the more than $400,000 they paid him, neither was a full-time job. He still had time to be a visiting scholar at no fewer than four universities, from East Coast (the University of Maryland) to West (Stanford University).
His traveling around the country as an itinerant scholar also proved lucrative. Private companies were willing to pay $30,000 a pop for a chance to hear the ex-Knick and ex-Senator. One company, KeyCorp, a Cleveland-based bank and financial services firm that ranks among the Fortune 500, paid him an estimated $300,000 to $400,000 to speak at thirteen of its branches. . . .
For more on Goldman Sachs, GO TO > > > Dirty Gold in Goldman Sachs?
For more on Prudential, GO TO > > > Prudential: A Nest on Shaky Ground.
For more on Wall Street, GO TO > > > Wall Street
Dan Harmon – From The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: . . . Sharlene Wilson had been the bartender at Le Bistro, a Little Rock
nightclub where Roger Clinton used to play with his rock band Dealer’s Choice. Big Brother would come by from time to time
with one or two of his State Troopers. . . .
“Roger had all the pretty girls and drugs and the fast life, and Bill was pretty envious of this,” she said. On one occasion “Roger the Dodger” came back to the bar and said he needed two grams of cocaine right away. They carried out the deal near the ladies room. The Dodger then borrowed her “tooter,” … and handed it to the governor….
“I watched Bill Clinton lean up against a brick wall. He must have had an adenoid problem because he casually stuck my tooter up his nose,” she said. “He was so messed up that night, he slid down the wall into a garbage can and just sat here like a complete idiot.”…
Afterward they went back to the Governor’s Mansion and partied into the early hours of the morning. “I thought it was the coolest thing in the world that we had a governor who got high.”
That was not the only time she snorted cocaine with Bill Clinton. She claimed to have been present with him at a series of “toga parties” at the Coachman’s Inn outside Little Rock between 1979 and 1981. “I was, you know, the hostess with the mostess, the lady with the snow,” she said. “I’d serve drinks and lines of cocaine on a glass mirror.” . . .
People shared sexual partners in what amounted to a Babylonian orgy. They were elite gatherings of two to twenty people, mostly public officials, lawyers, and local notables, cavorting in a labyrinth of interconnected rooms with women that included teenage girls. Bill Clinton was there at least twice, she said, snorting cocaine “quite avidly” with Dan Harmon.
She gave a graphic description of the sexual activities that Bill Clinton preferred. She remembered seeing a distinctive mole at the base of his stomach. “It’s darned me that he’s managed to get elected through all this,” she said. . . .
Sharlene was surprisingly frank about her job at the Mena Airport in the mid-1980s. The cocaine was flown in on twin-engine Cessnas, sometimes as often as every day. “I’d pick up the pallets and make the run down to Texas. The drop-off was at the Cowboys Stadium. I was told that nobody would ever bother me, and I was never bothered”. …
“If there was a problem I was to call Dan Harmon… A lot of the cocaine that came into Mena was taken up to Springdale in northwest Arkansas,” she said, “where it was stuffed into chickens for reshipment to the rest of the country.” . . .
But she had another job, which she revealed to me two years later when we were allowed to meet and talk in relative privacy at the prison library. This time she was trembling with emotion, giving free rein to the terrible remorse that had been eating at her for nine years. She used to pick up cocaine deliveries on the railway tracks near the little town of Alexander, thirty miles south of Little Rock. . . .
“Every two weeks, for years, I’d go to the tracks, I’d pick up the package, and I’d deliver it to Dan Harmon, either straight to his office, or at my house. … Sometimes it was flown in by air, sometimes it would be kicked out of the train. A big bundle, two feet by one and a half feet, like a bale of hay, so heavy I’d have trouble lifting it … Roger the Dodger picked it up a few times.”
But in the summer of 1987 one of the drops disappeared. Furious, Harmon brought out some of his men to watch the delivery on the night of August 22. They were expecting a delivery of 3 to 4 pounds of cocaine and 5 pounds of “weed.”
Sharlene was supposed to make the pickup that night but she had been “high-balling” a mixture of cocaine and crystal and was totally “strung-out.” They told her to wait in the car, which was parked off Quarry Road. It was around midnight.
“It was scary. I was high, very high. I was told to sit there and they’d be back. It seemed forever. … I heard two trains. Then I heard some screams, loud screams.”
“When Harmon came back, he jumped in the car and said, ‘Let’s go.’ He was scared. It looked like there was blood all down his legs.”
She later learned that a group of boys had been intercepted at the drop sight. According to Sharlene some of them had managed to get away, but Kevin Ives, 17, and Don Henry, 16, were captured. Harmon’s men interrogated them as they were lying on the ground, face down, hands tied behind their backs.
They were kicked and beaten, and finally executed. One of the boys was stabbed to death with a “survival knife.” The bodies were wrapped in a tarpaulin, carried to a different spot on the line, and placed across the railway tracks so that the bodies would be mangled by the next train.
The following day Harmon told Sharlene that she would have to ditch her car. He gave her $500 in cash and told her to deliver a packet of cocaine to an address in Rockford, Illinois. … from there she fled to the obscurity of Nebraska. . . .
I have Sharlene’s signed confession, which she gave to the narcotics detail of the Little Rock Police Dept. on May 28, 1993. The FBI has is, so does the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The whole damn government has it. . . .
See on the Net: The Crimes of Mena; Arkansas Justice; Big News from Arkansas
Recommended Books: The Boys on the Tracks; The Secret Life of Bill Clinton; Compromised.
Dan Lasater – From: The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: . . . Dan Lasater — the Dixie Godfather, and the friend of and provider for the Clinton brothers. . . .
PATTY-ANNE SMITH was sixteen years old when she fell under the ruinous influence of Dan Lasater, friend and patron of the Clinton brothers. … Her nicknames were Muffin and Precious. She was still a child, but not for long.
“I was a virgin until two months after I met Dan Lasater. He plied me with cocaine and gifts for sexual favors and I finally gave in and slept with him,” she said in a police statement . . . At the time Lasater was 40 . . . Under his tutelage she soon became addicted to hard drugs….
Lasater arranged for a corrupt doctor to give her “a pelvic examination and prescribe birth control pills.” Once on contraceptives, she was made available to Lasater’s business colleagues, including Arkansas State Senator George Locke. In the end Patty-Anne fled Arkansas after it was explained to her that he planned to use her as a semi-prostitute to “entertain.”…
~ ~ ~
Dan Lasater is a talented entrepreneur. . . . By the time he was 30 he was the owner of the Ponderosa steakhouse chain in Ohio and Indiana, with annual sales of more than $300 million. Cashing in his equity for around $15 million, he turned to horse racing and soon became the most successful breeder and racer of thoroughbreds in the world.
With stables of 80 horses in Florida and Kentucky, he was the leading money winner three years in succession — 1974, 1975, and 1976 — netting a total of $10 million in prizes . . . But according to a police statement by one of his employees, Lasater’s success with the horses was achieved by “putting in the boot” — fixing the races.
It was at the Oaklawn Race Track in Hot Springs that Lasater first befriended Virginia Kelley, the mother of Governor Clinton, and began to close his vice around the First Family of Arkansas.
Collecting governors was one of his business specialties. In early 1983 he bailed out Governor John Y. Brown of Kentucky with $300,000 cash in a paper sack at the Lexington airport. At the time Brown was desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the IRS. He had withdrawn $1 million out of a Florida bank without a “cash transient” report.
“I just took care of John Y.’s money problems,” Lasater told his colleague Michael Drake. . . .
~ ~ ~
Lasater moved into the bond business in 1980. A brief business partnership with Senator George Locke was dissolved, because of enveloping SEC violations, before Lasater embarked on his own as Lasater & Company. One former broker told me that he never witnessed enough authentic business to justify the existence of Lasater’s office . . .
He suspected that Lasater was “shuffling money.” By the mid-1980s, Little Rock was a hub of petty racketeering and fly-by-night securities trading. The target: small, deregulated thrifts that had been neglected by the big firms on Wall Street. “You have no idea how crazy it was here in the mid-eighties,” said Ron Davis, a former Lasater broker.
“At one point there were 54 investment houses in Little Rock. There were 4,000 brokers working in this city. In 1987 we did more institutional sales than any other city in the world, and that includes New York, London, and Tokyo. You had used car dealers signing up making a $1 million a year in commissions.”
For investigators attuned to the methods of organized crime, the Lasater empire looked suspiciously like a laundromat for tens of millions of dollars of drug profits. Nor was this an idle hunch. In 1977 Lasater had lost a Lear jet in Santa Marta, Columbia, after it was confiscated by the Colombian authorities on suspicion of narcotics trafficking….
Among the passengers on the jet was Jamiel “Jimmy” Chagra, viewed as one of the most dangerous mob bosses in the United States….
~ ~ ~
Lasater had his own agents in the State Police. One of them was a narcotics investigator named Mike Mahone, whom he had befriended at the Oaklawn Race Track in the box of Virginia Kelley — Governor Clinton’s mother. Lasater spotted easy prey. The subsequent courtship offers a revealing insight into his methods of corrupting law enforcement.
First he invited Mahone to spend the July 4th weekend, in 1985, in one of his condominiums at the Angel Fire Ski Resort. Having broken the ice, the bribery began.
It was disguised, of course. What Lasater did was to instruct one of his subordinates to buy a run-down property belonging to Mahone. The price was inflated, netting the State Trooper a windfall profit. Lasater also paid off $7,500 of a delinquent loan that Mahone had taken out in his sister’s name.
In return for these little favors, Mahone was generous with police intelligence. In the early summer of 1986 he met with Lasater and Senator Locke at a hotel in Chicago to brief them on the status of the investigations into their drug activities. . . .
In the end, U.S. Attorney George Proctor offered Lasater a plea agreement that charged Lasater with a conspiracy to distribute cocaine for “recreational use.” It was a slap on the wrists. Lasater was paroled after one year, most of it spent at a halfway house in Little Rock. The prosecutor was later appointed to be head of the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs by President Clinton. . . .
~ ~ ~
Governor Clinton gave Lasater a state pardon in 1990, purportedly so that he could regain his hunting license. The pardon was of dubious validity, because Lasater had been sentenced by a U.S. federal court, not a state court. But it sent a signal to the Arkansas authorities that Lasater should be allowed to resume his financial and broking activities without hindrance. . . .
~ ~ ~
Lasater & Company was deeply involved in the demise of thrifts in Illinois. One of them, First American Savings and Loan of Oak Brook, Illinois, fired back with a lawsuit against the firm in October 1985, alleging that Lasater had transferred “unprofitable investments from his personal account the account of the Plaintiff” after trading was closed.
The suit was taken over by the government’s Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation in April 1986, after First American was seized by regulators.
It hired the Rose Law Firm to handle the case. The attorneys were Hillary Clinton and Vincent Foster. They settled for a modest $200,000 in a sealed agreement that drew a veil over the reasons for the collapse of the S&L.
The Chicago Tribune ran a blistering series on Hillary Clinton’s role. It accused her of a “glaring conflict of interest” for negotiating “a secret, out-of-court settlement” that ended a suit “against a family friend and an influential benefactor of her husband.”
Patsy Thomasson handled the case for Lasater, who was by then in prison. She was more than just an executive vice-president. She was also a “financial and operations principal” of the brokerage firm, with direct liability for criminal misuse of client accounts. . . .
* * *
From: The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: . . . Dan Lasater also tried to befriend Governor Tony Anaya of New Mexico, offering him a consulting job at the end of his term. Anaya never took up the offer, but he did use taxpayer funds to construct an 8,900-foot runway at the Angel Fire Ski Resort owned by Dan Lasater.
The governor was viewed by his opponents as naive but honest. However, the Attorney General’s Office in Sante Fe was later to investigate Lasater for suspected “narcotics trafficking via aircraft with possible Organized Crime ties” operating out of Angel Fire.
At the time of the alleged drug trafficking, Angel Fire was managed by Patsy Thomasson, later to become Director of the Office of Administration at the White House. “I put Patsy in as the assistant chairman, and she pretty well ran that project for me,” said Lasater.
But the show trophy of his collection was undoubtedly Governor Clinton, who seemed to require more favors than most. . . .
* * *
From: Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA – . . . Lasater was a major investor in a ski resort named Angel Fire near Taos, New Mexico; where Governor Bill Clinton vacationed at Lasater’s expense. Lasater later sold the resort to a Savings and Loan that eventually failed and was taken over by the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC).
In an article headlined “Probe of Clinton Pal Shut Down Early, Ex-Cop Says,” Mike Galagher of The Albuquerque Journal revealed on Sept 20, 1994, that an Arkansas State Police investigator probing allegations of narcotics shipments by Lasater to the resort claimed his investigation was stonewalled by federal prosecutors. This left the clear suspicion that Lasater’s money-laundering activities for the Agency gave him carte blanche to do what he pleased without law enforcement interference. . . .
See also: Patsy Thomasson
Diane Feinstein – Democratic Senator from California; former mayor of San Francisco.
From Washington on $10 Million a Day: Foreign Lobbying . . . But the China lobby’s biggest friend in Congress is Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.
Feinstein’s romance with China dates to the 1970s, when she was mayor of San Francisco and became close friends with Jiang Zemin, then mayor of Beijing and now China’s president. In explaining her interest in U.S.-China relations, Feinstein has said, “In my last life I was Chinese.”
It’s not possible to confirm this but even if true, Feinstein’s passion for Beijing is more likely linked to the fact that her husband in her current life, merchant banker Richard Blum, has substantial business and real estate interests in China. Blum manages $750 million in investments for about 70 companies, with a large chunk of that amount tied up in China.
Blum is also a director of Shanghai Pacific Partners, a major import-export firm. In 1994, Feinstein led the effort to renew MFN for Beijing at a time that her husband was preparing to invest $150 million of his clients’ money, along with $2 million of his own, in China.
The China lobby has augmented its firepower by deploying a fleet of lobbyists to directly pressure Congress. … In addition to Hogan & Hartson, the China lobby has retained Patton, Boggs— which assigned eight lobbyists to the MFN campaign, including Tommy Boggs and Michael Brown, son of late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown; Hill and Knowlton, headed by Howard Paster; and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, past home to ex-Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor. These four firms alone took in at least $160,000 in 1996 to lobby on the MFN issue.
Donald J. Tyson – a/k/a “Chicken Man” – In his book, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton, investigative reporter Ambrose
I had been given comprehensive intelligence files from the Criminal Investigations Division of the Arkansas State Police, going back as far as the early 1970’s . . . I was scarcely able to believe what I was seeing. Among the famous names of the Arkansas oligarchy that jumped out from page after page of criminal intelligence files was Don Tyson, the billionaire president of Tyson Foods and the avuncular patron of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton….
A gruff barrel-chested man with a cropped beard and a reputation for ruthless business practice, Don Tyson is one of the great characters of Arkansas. He presides over the biggest chicken processing operation in the world from his “Oval Office” — a replica of the real one — with dooor handles in the shape of eggs….
The family business, based in Springdale, has grown at an explosive rate since the 1960;s, swallowing up rival companies in a relentless quest for market share….
The documents I was looking at made me wonder about the origins of his liquidity. Here were files from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, marked DEA SENSITIVE, under the rubric of the “Donald TYSON Drug Trafficking Organization.”
One was from the DEA office in Oklahoma City, dated December 14, 1982. It cited a confidential informant alleging that “TYSON smuggles cocaine from Colombia, South America inside race horses to Hot Springs, Arkansas.” It cited the investigation tracking number for Don J. Tyson, a/k/a “Chicken Man,” as Nadis 470067.
A second document from the DEA office in Tucson, dated July 9, 1984, stated that “the Cooperating Individual had information concerning heroin, cocaine and marijuana trafficking in the States of Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri by the TYSON organization.” The informant described a place called “THE BARN” which TYSON used as a “stash” location for large quantities of marijuana and cocaine.
“THE BARN” area is located between Springdale and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and from the outside the appearance of “THE BARN” looks run down. On the inside of “THE BARN” it is quite plush. . . .
~ ~ ~
A memo by the Criminal Investigative Section, dated March 22, 1976, states that Don Tyson “is an extremely wealthy man with much political influence and seems to be involved in most every kind of shady operation, especially narcotics, however, has to date gone without implication in any specific crime . . .”
The memo was triggered by a dispute between Tyson and the Teamsters Union over allegations of drug dealing and prostitution at a Teamsters-owned hotel leased by Tyson. Two sets of documents refer to alleged hit men employed by Tyson to kill drug dealers who owed him money. Another report alleged that Tyson was using his business plane to smuggle quart jars of methamphetamine. All told, it was a staggering portrait of a drug baron.
None of the allegations led to criminal charges, and it would soon become clear why. Police officers who tried to mount a case against Tyson were destroyed by their superiors in the State Police. The first to try was Beverly “B.J.” Weaver, then an undercover narcotics officer in Springdale. Working the streets and bars of northwest Arkansas, disguised as a deaf woman, she collected detailed intelligence on Tyson’s alleged smuggling network….
“There were loads going out with the chickens,” she explained. “They’d put the coke in the rectums of the chickens, live chickens. That’s how they’d move it.“…
As the allegations from her informants mounted, she requested the intelligence files on Don Tyson. That is when her problems began. Her colleagues in the Springdale office — who she now believes were “on the take” from the Tyson machine — put out the word that she was “not stable,” that she had “flipped out.” Then it got rough. “They started passing out my photo on the streets, which put my life in danger. I became paranoid. I didn’t trust my phone line. There was nobody I could really trust.”…
By 1987 her position was untenable. Her career in ruins, she resigned from the police and found a job as a security guard in the Bahamas….
* * *
To Don Tyson, who has reportedly again become disenchanted with Clinton and is giving money to Bob Dole in the 1996 campaign, the business of politics has never been particularly complicated.
It consists of “a series of unsentimental transactions between those who need votes and those who have money…a world where every quid has its quo.“…
For more on Tyson Foods, GO TO > > > Down on the Factory Farms
Edward Mezvinsky – Democratic ex-Congressman from Iowa.
EX-CONGRESSMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO PYRAMID SCHEME
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 28, 2002 (AP) – Former Rep. Edward Mezvinsky pleaded guilty yesterday to defrauding friends and family members out of millions of dollars in a pyramid scheme.
The former Democratic congressman from Iowa had blamed his involvement in the scheme on manic depression and the effects of an anti-malaria drug he took while in Africa.
Mezvinsky, 65, pleaded guilty to 31 counts of fraud, admitting he bilked investors who handed over more than $10 million for deals he claimed to be arranging in Africa.
Gary Condit – U.S. Representative (D) from California; member of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee.
JOHN FUND’S POLITICAL DIARY
THE CONDIT CASE ISN’T JUST ABOUT ADULTERY. IT’S ABOUT PUBLIC TRUST AND NATIONAL SECURITY.
July 30, 2001
Last week, I asked a senior House member why Rep. Gary Condit was still on the Intelligence Committee. Mr. Condit himself describes the committee as concerned with “very sensitive issues of immediate and long-term national security.” I reminded the lawmaker that Mr. Condit’s behavior has clearly made him a prime candidate for blackmail. “Well, with all this coverage he no longer looks to be blackmailable,” this Condit colleague said before quickly changing the subject.
That abdication of responsibility won’t do. Mr. Condit has more to hide about his double life. That became clear when, just hours before police were to search his apartment, the California congressman was spotted throwing away a watch case another erstwhile paramour had given him. Presumably Mr. Condit’s affairs are no longer news to his wife, so from whom was he trying to hide?
It’s true that whether Mr. Condit can continue to be an effective representative is for the people in Modesto to decide. But it’s clear he has abused the public trust in the course of a criminal investigation by withholding evidence and allowing himself to be compromised in ways that are far more serious than having a discreet affair. Mr. Condit should resign his membership on the Intelligence Committee. If he won’t, it’s up to House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, who named the Democratic members of that committee, to remove him. But there’s “no reason to act now,” Mr. Gephardt says.
Victoria Toensing, who served as chief council for the Senate Intelligence Committee in the 1980s, begs to differ. Mr. Condit is a “classic national-security risk,” she says. There must be “a marriage-like trust” between the intelligence agencies and congressional intelligence committees.
Back in 1995 President Clinton made known his concerns about the danger of blackmail against high-ranking officials. In August of that year he signed Executive Order 12968, which states that individuals eligible for access to classified material must have “strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion, and sound judgment, as well as freedom from conflicting allegiances and potential for coercion.”
Of course, three months later Mr. Clinton began his relationship with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He later told her he feared their phone sessions had been monitored by a “foreign embassy.” In the end the president escaped accountability for his reckless disregard of national security. But that bad precedent is no reason for Congress to let Mr. Condit off the hook, as some of his colleague appear more than willing to do.
The House Ethics Committee has already received two separate complaints asking it to look into Rep. Condit’s behavior. The first was by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group. The second was by Rep. Bob Barr, the Georgia Republican who was the first member of Congress to call for an impeachment inquiry of President Clinton.
Mr. Barr’s complaint notes there is “already substantial evidence” that Mr. Condit obstructed a law-enforcement investigation and has brought discredit to the House. He clearly misled police during their first two interviews about Ms. Levy’s disappearance, confessing to their relationship only when cornered. In addition, stewardess Anne Marie Smith claims that Mr. Condit pressured her to deny their yearlong affair. Mr. Condit’s law firm has admitted it e-mailed a “draft” statement to her that claimed she had not had a “romantic relationship” with him. If Mr. Condit encouraged perjury, that alone merits the close attention of the House Ethics Committee.
Unfortunately, the committee has a spotty reputation. Mort Kondracke of Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, calls it a “Keystone Kops outfit” that too often will “take endless years to come up with a conclusion.”
Certainly, neither the committee nor House leaders are eager to act. Ethics Chairman Joel Hefley, a Colorado Republican, told National Public Radio: “Far as we know, Congressman Condit has not violated any laws. . . . I would hope I wouldn’t have handled it quite that way, but who knows?”
Just last Wednesday, Mr. Gephardt actually told Alan Colmes of Fox News Channel that “Gary, as far as I know from reports I’ve read, is cooperating fully with the police.” Lanny Davis, an erstwhile Clinton spinner, was “just dumbfounded. . . . He now knows that for two months, Mr. Condit misled and withheld material evidence from the police concerning his relationship, including that his wife was in town the last weekend.”
Congress is allowing its desire to protect one of its own to override its responsibility to police its own ranks. Obviously, some members of Congress have strayed from their wedding vows. Mr. Condit, though, has engaged in reckless behavior and compromised the public trust. It’s imperative that the House remove him from the Intelligence Committee and initiate an Ethics Committee probe that doesn’t interfere with the police search for Chandra Levy.
For more, GO TO > > > WHO’s Guarding the Hen House?
Gene and Nora Lum – Democratic fund-raisers.
Lum Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
Tulsa, Okla (AP) 8/13/98 – Democratic fund-raiser Gene K.H. Lum changed his plea in a tax fraud case to guilty Thursday as part of an agreement that seeks his cooperation in other investigations.
Lum, who pleaded guilty in 1997 to making illegal donations to Democratic campaigns, admitted he filed tax returns that claimed more than $7.1 million in false deductions for him and his wife.
Lum, 59, faces up to six years in prison and $500,000 in fines at a Nov 23 sentencing. . . .
Under the pleas agreement, the government agreed not to seek indictments against his wife, Nora, or their corporations….
The Lums, who operated a Tulsa-based gas pipeline company at the time of the violations, pleaded guilty last year to a charge of felony conspiracy for laundering $50,000 in illegal donations to 1994 congressional campaigns.
Their daughter, Trisha C. Lum, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation in a separate campaign finance incident.
Gene and Norn Lum each received 10 months in prison and $30,000 fines in that case.
The tax charges stemmed from information uncovered by independent counsel Daniel S. Pearson during his investigation of Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown. Pearson closed his inquiry when Brown was killed in an airplane crash.
He transferred his findings about other people to the Justice Dept for continued investigation and prosecution.
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Comments in the freerepublic forum: . . . Of some interest to me was the fact that the golf course Michael Brown (son of Ron Brown) was given a membership to (and which Bill Clinton often uses …) in suburban Virginia was owned by the Bishop Estate of Hawaii. . . . Bishop put close to 100 million into a company called McKenzie Methane Gas a few years before Dynamic. Bishop also bought into a Red Chip bank with Mochtar Riady’s brother in law. Bishop hired as its Washington law firm Verner Liipert and whose lobbyist is ex Gov. John Waihee. Waihee appointed 4 of the 5 Bishop Trustees. Waihee attends Clinton coffees. Waihee appointed Sen. Akaka. Verneer Liipert has another big name partner ex Sen. George Mitchell. Mitchell’s son in law was president of Lum’s company Dynamic Energy. Bishop owns 11% of Goldman Sachs. Sec of Treasury Robert Rubin’s blind trust managed by Bishop, etc, etc. (abwehr, 8/13/98)
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From PBS Frontline: Interview with Charles Chidiac – Charles Chidiac is a financier-developer who knew the Lums in Hawaii. He was also involved in Asian Pacific Advisory Council-Vote, a Los Angeles Democratic fund-raising group once headed by Nora Lum. He has a checkered past. He was an unindicted co-conspirator in the BNL financial scandal.
Q: Give me an example of corruption in Hawaii in the 1980s.
Chidiac: Well, if you want to do business in Hawaii, you go and you apply for a zoning. You get a call from an attorney. And he says, “I want to see you.” “About what?” “Oh, I want to talk about your application.” . . .
“But I already have an attorney.” “It’s necessary to see you anyway.” So he comes over and he says, “Listen, you applied. This attorney of yours is no good. If you don’t hire me, you’ll never get your zoning. . . .”
So, that’s how they do it. It’s called in Hawaii, “law firming,” instead of laundering. “Law firming” is laundering money through law firms.
Q: In other words, bribery?
Chidiac: Pure, pure bribery, under the cover of being legal work.
Q: Describe Nora Lum.
Chidiac: Well, she is a Japanese woman … And she’s very smart. … Her husband is an attorney. … She knew all the tricks of raising money …
Q: You had a very close relationship with them for awhile.
Chidiac: . . . I had everything ready and this thing was dragging on and on and on. And I didn’t realize that the state of Hawaii, to extort half a million or a million dollars from a developer, would go to the extent of destroying a project that would create 3,000 to 4,000 jobs for the poorest part in the islands, where you have 30% unemployment. The sugar cane industry is collapsing, and they just didn’t care. . . . We were planning to build three hotels …
Q: Big money?
Chidiac: The project was going to cost somewhere around $800 million.
Q: Did Nora and Gene have access to Governor John Waihee?
Chidiac: All the time, any time. Any time….
Q: What was her stock in trade?
Chidiac: Power pimping … and greed. She pays for power; she buys power.
Q: Did she ever have big success in Hawaii?
Chidiac: I think I was her biggest success. . . . She introduced me to late Commerce Secretary Ron H. Brown in Honolulu. … and she only boasted about her power….
Q: Did she have many businesses?
Chidiac: She had no business. She was just acting as a power peddler. And raised money for different councilmen and politicians….
Q: What motivated them?
Chidiac: They told me that … their only interest was to make money.
Q: How did the Lums and Ron Brown meet?
Chidiac: I think she met him through John Waihee because … as the governor, he met Bill Clinton….
Q: Was she talking to big wigs on the phone all the time?
Chidiac: Yeah, — We had calls from Hillary Clinton. . . . I heard her talking to Ron Brown….
Q: Does it surprise you that a woman who owns a souvenir shop and her part-time lawyer-husband can go in and out of the White House 13 times and accompany the president to Jakarta . . . Does it surprise you that their daughter ends up working for Ron Brown? That Gene almost gets on Amtrak’s Board of Directors? That Nora can come and go with Bruce Lindsey, who helps them do an oil deal in Oklahoma?…
Chidiac: Well, I mean, if the President is corrupt, everything’s possible….
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From a Frontline interview: Anthony P. Locricchio is an attorney who represented Hawaiian farmers in a lawsuit against Japanese golf course developers. Locricchio and others also alleged in a 1989 Federal Elections Commission complaint that foreign nations made illegal contributions to local politicians. Five years later, FEC investigators found more than 100 violations of federal election campaign law….
Q: What was the money game here?…
Locricchio: The game was possible … because of the huge imbalance between the yen and the dollar. One of the most beautiful places on earth suddenly became a bargain place, and Hawaii, a very tiny place, vied with California and New York for … the largest investment of Japanese dollars … It was for sale, it was cheap, and you found willing collaborators. The takeover of Hawaii economically and the loss of the environmental protections and protections for our people only occurred because lawyers, accountants, and political beings, were ready, willing and able to help sell their birthright.
Q: For a buck.
Locricchio: No, they were very smart. It was for several bucks.
Q: Where would you see Japanese investment?
Locricchio: It started with the tourist industry, with hotels, resorts, golf courses, and then started to move into restaurants, office buildings, really through the entire fabric of the economy. And the usual economic rules were thrown overboard. For example, a hotel might sell to a Japanese interest for $30 million. Two months later, it would sell for $60 million. In four months, it would be $120 million. … You would have had to … rented out rooms at $500 a day and 100% occupancy to meet the debt service. . . . Hawaiians couldn’t afford to live in Hawaii. We had, during this period of time … a huge outflow of people at the bottom of the economic sector, especially native Hawaiians….
Q: Where does golf course development fit in this? . . . Did Hawaii have any regulations in place governing land acquisition for golf development?
Locricchio: It should have been very difficult, because Hawaii is the only state in the country which has a constitutional protection for agricultural land. You were required, before you changed the use of agricultural land, to have a two-thirds vote to approve those kinds of changes by constitutional amendment. . . . For the Japanese, not only was the land a great bargain, but buying the politicians was a great bargain. They used to joke about how little money … it took to buy influence. They were able to change the law and to get the Constitution ignored….
The people who were involved in agricultural subsistence farming then became the targets, and the Japanese land owners were getting them thrown out and buying up the land, so they had no place to farm. In this very short period of time, within five years, you went from a predominantly agricultural-supported economy to literally a disappearance of agricultural land for local farmers.
Q: . . . So what your need to do along the way, you’re telling me, is first gain influence with the politicians. That turns out to be easy enough. Who else do you need?
Locricchio: You need to hit all the levels of politics. … getting the state law changed was not enough. You then had to go to the local mayor. And he told you to hire his attorney and to give contributions to his campaign. And again, that was fairly easy….
Q: And when push came to shove, how would it play out? How would people be literally removed from the land they’d be farming?
Locricchio: We had situations where the police were actually used to help threaten and terrorize the farmers on these lands. They would come in with false eviction notices, with a policeman in uniform, and these farmers were uneducated, didn’t know they were false evictions. …. The left because they were told, “You’d better get out, or we’ll carry you out.”
Q: You mean the police were privately employed for these purposes?
Locricchio: We have a unique situation here, where police are permitted to work on their off hours for private land owners and private businesses. They’re permitted to wear their uniforms, to carry their guns, and to have many of the police powers they have as public officers. … Or, it they didn’t use the police posse and used somebody else, you’d go to make a criminal complaint, and absolutely nothing would happen. Whether cattle were shot, cattle were stolen or you had eye witnesses, absolutely no police action would be taken….
Even though we lived here and experienced it, we got numbed by our Americanism. We kept thinking, “This will work out. We will be able to stop this.” Because Americans are ultimately optimistic . . . Even though we’re angry at our government, we still believe deep down the American democratic system will prevail. And that was our stupidity.
Q: One of the things you observed during this Japanese economic invasion of Hawaii was the willing participation of all levels of Hawaiian residents (as opposed to native Hawaiians.) This was presumable motivated by what?…
Locricchio: Money. Hawaiian professionals … had never seen anything like the Japanese invasion. Law firms overnight moved into marble-encrusted quarters because suddenly their Japanese clients were paying huge legal bills. Middle men who had operated in political arenas and gotten mediocre money for it suddenly saw opportunities to make tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars….
Q: So Nora and Gene Lum present themselves to these money people as fixers. They can work one end of the political machine to the other and help get things done, help clear the way. Can you give us an example?
Locricchio: There are three key examples of when the Lums really used their fixer skills: One that affects a project outside of Hawaii, and two here in Hawaii….
Mount Olomana is one of Hawaii’s scenic treasures. It’s Japanese-owned, and we believe … Nora Lum … was partially responsible for bringing the Japanese land buyer to this valley and buying 1,090 acres of land here in Hawaii for only $7 million. In Hawaii, that’s an incredible bargain. . . . After they were able to buy the state legislative vote change, that land became worth $40-$50 million overnight….
Finally, there is a golf course. It was delayed for several years while we fought against it. . . . They actually built a golf course on the side of a mountain. It is a ridiculous location for a golf course, but in Japan they were selling memberships at $250,000 per membership. That did not even give the owners of the membership a piece of the land. They just got a membership, and then they would have fees over and above that….
Q: Who were the people with the money who connected with the Lums?
Locricchio: That spectrum of people was everyone from legitimate Japanese established businesses and the largest corporations in Japan to the criminal yakuza, which is the Japanese Mafia…
Q: What is the interest of the yakuza in Hawaiian golf development?
Locricchio: The incredible amounts of money . . . there were reservations for thousands of memberships at $250,000 each, which was hundreds of millions of dollars before the golf course would even be built….
Q: What became of the Wongs and the other ranchers who were dislocated by the developers?
Locricchio: . . . The houses of the “bad” farmers, who refused to buckle under, were bulldozed. The Wongs’ children were shot at, the 93-year-old Filipino guy who had lived there for years and years had a SWAT team of 10 police officers pull him out of his house. He ended up in the emergency room and in the hospital for months and months. He had to have a tracheotomy, he was so petrified. 54 state and local police officers, sheriffs, helicopters, submachine guns with SWAT teams, moved little old ladies and elderly people and children, ripped them out of their houses with full governmental support … and the area was sealed off so the press couldn’t get in and take pictures. They had massive bulldozers….
My associate learned that two of the children were so panicked by what was going on … they had hidden under their house, and the mother, who was off the land, was not allowed to go back on and find her children. She went ballistic, because she knew they were going to bulldoze the house. She couldn’t get the police to go in and get the kids out of there. … Tom Levine, an attorney, went around the police lines, ran in to try to get the kids out of there. He was arrested. He was booked. He was tried for criminal trespass.
Q: Arrested by this hired police force?
Locricchio: By the police, who on their off hours worked for the golf course owners.
Q: Were the children there?
Locricchio: The children turned out to be under the house. Tom finally convinced the guys who were dragging him off for booking to please go in and look under the house. … sure enough, minutes before the house was bulldozed down, these frightened to death children were pulled out.
Q: What is there now?
Locricchio: It sits there, bulldozed today, and there was no need to do it. . . . And you’d see this opulent golf course now, which has lost lots and lots of money….
Q: Are Nora and Gene Lum typical or atypical . . . Are they low-level fixers who just got lucky?
Locricchio: I guess I have to say that their greed is exceptional….
Q: Should Ron Brown have known better than to tie in with these people, or did he see what he wanted to see?
Locricchio: . . . Putting on the shoes of the guy who’s got major funding responsibility is a very difficult situation. I think you become blinded by the need . . . And whoever takes his place … whether it’s Democrat or Republican, is going to find the same pressures, and need to find the Genes and Noras.
This is our electoral process. Our whole system is so stupid that we now have a population that expects its politicians to be corrupt because that’s the only way they can get elected. And something is very wrong.
Q: Where do people like the Lums fit into that?
Locricchio: They take advantage of history. They build a profession and a lifestyle based on this horrible deviation from democracy, and they make a living, and a very good living from it.
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From The Reagan Information Interchange , 10/17/97:
Reno Blocks Couple from Testifying about Foreign Money to Clinton
by Mike Reagan
I was going through one of my papers today and saw an article. It was the tiniest of articles. . . .
It says, “The Justice Department opposes giving convicted Democratic Fund Raisers Nora and Gene Lum immunity from further prosecution in exchange for their congressional testimony about a scheme to funnel foreign money to Democrats in 1992. The Dept said immunity would cause irreparable harm to its investigation.”
Well, I saw that and I thought I better go back because I’ve got a couple of stories I just haven’t had time to get to. Because, there is probably a very good reason these people are not able to get immunity. So, let me share with you a story by Bob Novak. . . . What he said in his article … is: “Two former high level Democratic Fund Raisers are ready to swear that the foreign leader … [to whom] Bill Clinton’s 1992 Campaign for President returned $50,000 was South Korea’s President Kim Young-sam.
“The alleged $50,000 payment is the most shocking of many eyebrow lifters in the offing that is proposing to sing like canaries to win immunity from further prosecution for Democrat insiders Gene and Nora Lum. . . .”
“The Lums say DNC Ron Brown who met the Hawaii-based Lums in 1991 asked them at the 1992 National Convention to go to California to help promote the Democratic party to Asian Americans there. They created a PAC. The Lums would testify to this . Working with the DNC in fund-raising they would testify they used conduit contributions – money disguised from its real illegal donors with the knowledge of the DNC personnel.”
They also offer to tell about John Huang’s links with the Indonesian billionaire Moshtar Rhiady and his son James, and Clinton friend and fund-raiser Charlie Trie’s influence with the Chinese government.
Now that you have all that information … who is it that is stepping in the middle and not allowing these people to have immunity to testify? And if you guessed Justice Dept Janet Reno you are 100% on target!
Janet Reno is a joke! She is a joke to the office.
But the problem is, no one, except the Clintons, are laughing. . . .
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From The N.Y. Times, 5/24/98 (AP): FBI Documents Suggest Help for Clinton Donors in ’92 Inquiry . . .
The FBI gathered evidence as early as 1992 that a Democratic couple who helped start Asian-American fund-raising efforts for President Clinton were engaged in wrongdoing, Justice Dept documents show.
The fund-raisers, Nora and Gene Lum, were not prosecuted for making illegal donations to Democrats until 1997, well after the controversy over the party’s campaign financing efforts broke open.
Now investigators have gathered testimony that accuses the Lums of getting help during the earlier investigation from Ronald H. Brown, who was the chairman of the Democratic Party at the time, and Webster L. Hubbell, a longtime Clinton friend who became an official at the Justice Dept in Clinton’s first term, according to documents and interviews.
Brown was killed in a plane crash in Croatia on April 3, 1996.
Among FBI memorandums obtained by The Associated Press, a 1993 document relying on information from a cooperating witness says that “Nora Lum once stated to him that she transported $150,000 in cash in a travel bag to the mainland to be delivered as campaign contributions on the national level.”
Two years later, a former business associate of the Lums, Stuart Price, told investigators that Lum “brought the two suitcases of money back to the United States and turned the money over to the DNC,” documents say. In 1997, Lum denied that such an incident had occurred. . . .
The advisory council was the start of what would become a much larger Asian-American fund-raising effort for Clinton. It brought the Lums together with John Huang, who later emerged as a central figure in the 1996 fund-raising controversy.
According to documents released recently by Congressional investigators, bank statements and canceled checks showed that the Lums had transferred $159,000 raised by the advisory council, some at an Oct 1992 fund-raiser in Clinton’s name, to their own accounts.
The emergence of FBI files on the Lums comes as pressure is mounting on Atty Gen Janet Reno to name an independent counsel to take over the fund-raising investigation.
In a public statement, the Justice Dept said the decision to shut down the inquiry was made by career prosecutors and there was “not a scrap of evidence or inference that Hubbell ever attempted to inquire about or influence any matter concerning the Lums.”
Hubbell was the No. 3 official at the Justice Dept in the first 15 months of Clinton’s Presidency.
Hubbell was indicted on tax charges this month and remains under investigation by Whitewater prosecutors. . . .
After their 1997 conviction, the Lums admitted to other infractions that the FBI had been investigating in 1992, including bringing in $10,000 in donations to Hawaii’s governor from “Japanese clients” and laundering thousands of dollars in contributions to another candidate.
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From Free Republic, 10/14/97, by Linda Franklin (AP): Death of Man Investigated; He Recorded Fund-Raisers . . .
The state medical examiner’s office is investigating the death of an Oklahoman who tape-recorded business dealings with a controversial husband-wife team of Democratic fund-raisers.
Ron Miller, 58, of Norman died Sunday at Integris Baptist Medical Center, where he had been taken last week after becoming ill at home Oct 3.
Kevin Rowland, chief investigator for the state medical examiner’s office, said the case was turned over to the state because the hospital said the death was not fully explainable….
Miller owned Gage Corp, an energy company that was sold in 1993 to Dynamic Energy Resources, Inc in a transaction studied by federal and state investigators.
Nora Lum, the chief executive of Tulsa-based Dynamic Energy, and her husband, Gene, were sentenced last month to 10 months confinement and $30,000 fines apiece after admitting to using “straw donors” to conceal their $50,000 in illegal contributions.
The money went to the re-election effort of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass, and the unsuccessful congressional candidacy of W. Stuart Price of Oklahoma in 1994 and 1995.
Miller tape-recovered phone conversations he had in recent years involving his business dealings with the Lums and their associates. More than 150 tapes have been given to the FBI.
J. Dell Gordon, president of Mid-America Lamborghini, said Miller had turned over boxes of material to a congressional government oversight committee. . . . Miller and Gordon were partners in Mid-American Lamborghini….
The state Corporation Commission studied an Oklahoma Natural Gas contract that Dynamic received after it bought the assets of Gage and Creek Systems, a Gage subsidiary. Transcripts from a 1995 civil case said a condition of the sale was that Creek Systems settle disputes with ONG….
Gordon said Miller’s death was surprising.
“He went from being healthy to dying in a week,” Gordon said Monday.
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On 3/19/98, five months after his mysterious death, Oklahoma’s Medical Examiner’s Office quietly ruled that Ron Miller died from “natural causes.”…
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See also: Ron Brown
For more, GO TO > > > Broken Trust; Dirty Money, Dirty Politics and Bishop Estate
George Mitchell – From the ABA Journal – The Lawyer’s Magazine – April 1999, by Terry Carter:
The Mitchell File
When former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell left capitol Hill to become a lobbyist in early 1995, he ended a lengthy career in public service or so it seemed when he joined a big Washington, D.C., law firm.
But it wasn’t long before he was more statesman than lobbyist: the president’s special envoy brokering the Good Friday agreement to bring peace to Northern Ireland, a member of a blue-ribbon panel looking at the have-and-have-not-economics of Major League Baseball, and the head of a panel investigating corruption in the selection of Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics.
He also had been President Clinton’s first choice to give the closing speech in the Senate impeachment trial. (He declined for lack of time and the more silver-tongued former Sen. Dale Bumpers made one of the most praised speeches in recent history.)
And, oh yes, Mitchell did bring in more than $10 million last year for Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. While much of it was a one-shot deal in the tobacco talks, the former democratic Senate majority leader is said to be bringing in plenty of clients.
Through it all, Mitchell appears to be fashioning a new wrinkle in the Washington lobbying game. In the 1940s, 50s and 60s, so-called “wise men” such as John McCloy, Dean Acheson and Clark Clifford moved deftly in and out of presidential cabinets and advisory positions, and the term “superlawyer” was coined for their work as lobbyists.
But in the past decade or so, lobbying has evolved beyond mere reliance on name and access, the most basic coins of the realm that permitted Clifford’s legendary bill of $10,000 for making a single phone call. “Now it’s name, access and substance,” says law firm headhunter Charles W. Garrison III. “It’s no longer just a matter of who you know and what you know. There has to be a willingness and ability to apply it.”
Master of the Deal:
Mitchell was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his efforts in Northern Ireland. But the prize ultimately went to the two Irish political leaders, one Protestant and one Catholic, he led to compromise….
“He’s turning into what used to be called in Washington the wise man or one of the wise men, though now increasingly you have to include some women in that group,” says Stephen Hess, senior fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution and formerly an aide to Republican Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon.
“They are people for whom doors are opened and who know all the players. They have a reputation for integrity – no scoundrels need apply – because all they have is their word. T hey move information and ideas around, and they create back channels in doing that.”
New Terms for a New Breed:
But don’t call it lobbying or public relations. With more carefully spun silkiness, Mitchell’s former counterpart in the Senate, Bob Dole, now his fellow senior counsel at Verner Liipfert, prefers the term “strategic adviser.”
Mitchell, who also is special counsel to Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios of Portland, Maine, has helped the 185-lawyer Verner Liipfert move quickly to the top of Washington lobbying. The firm went against prevailing wisdom and committed heavy outlays of cash to bring heavyweight names to its letterhead.
Before Mitchell joined, it had signed on former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard and former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee. Then came former Sen. and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, and former Texas Gov. Ann Richards (a non-lawyer).
As often happens in big lobbying firms, the lineup was tilting decidedly in one direction, this one Democratic. But in 1997 Verner Liipfert snared another big name to help balance the equation: former Republican Senate Majority Leader Dole. . .
Last fall, Fortune named Verner Liipfert the top lobbying firm, the one with the most power and access.
“It has become a huge lobbying engine,” says Hess of the Brookings Institution. “I was amazed to see them jump to No. 1 so suddenly.”
Mitchell had a lot to do with it. Most notably, he brought in five tobacco companies wanting help fashioning a universal settlement of claims against them. They paid more than $2 million each.
But along with the cash came criticism from those who believed the firm was doing the devil’s work.
“We satisfied ourselves that the industry was prepared to accept dramatic change, and we also became convinced that a comprehensive settlement of the issues would serve the nation’s interest,” Mitchell says.
But the effort failed to bring Congress on board, and Verner Liipfert has been criticized for that.
“I understand and accept the fact that some people are critical of any effort in this regard, and that’s part of the political process,” Mitchell says, talking just weeks after Clinton declared that the Justice Department would begin looking at possible litigation against tobacco companies….
What the Future May Hold:
Most observers believe there is only one public service job Mitchell would go for full time: chief justice of the United States.
He was on the shortest of lists for the Court in 1994 but was occupied in other ways. For one, six years after being divorced he married a 25-year-old Canadian sports promoter, and they now have a 17-month-old son, which makes Mitchell a young 65….
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Comments in the freerepublic forum: . . . Of some interest to me was the fact that the golf course Michael Brown (son of Ron Brown) was given a membership to (and which Bill Clinton often uses …) in suburban Virginia was owned by the Bishop Estate of Hawaii. . . . Bishop put close to 100 million into a company called McKenzie Methane Gas a few years before Dynamic. Bishop also bought into a Red Chip bank with Mochtar Riady’s brother in law. Bishop hired as its Washington law firm Verner Liipert and whose lobbyist is ex Gov. John Waihee. Waihee appointed 4 of the 5 Bishop Trustees. Waihee attends Clinton coffees. Waihee appointed Sen. Akaka. Verneer Liipert has another big name partner ex Sen. George Mitchell. Mitchell’s son in law was president of Lum’s company Dynamic Energy. Bishop owns 11% of Goldman Sachs. Sec of Treasury Robert Rubin’s blind trust managed by Bishop, etc, etc. (abwehr, 8/13/98)
For more, GO TO > > > Dirty Money, Dirty Politics and Bishop Estate
Henry Cisneros – Convicted (and pardoned) Housing Secretary in the Clinton administration.
Clinton’s final day includes pardons . . .
WASHINGTON (CNN), 01/20/01 — President Clinton, just hours before leaving office, pardoned more than 130 people, including Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, ex-CIA chief John Deutch and publishing heiress Patty Hearst.
The president pardoned his brother, Roger Clinton, who had been convicted on a cocaine charge in the 1980s after cooperating with authorities, and former Gov. Fife Symington of Arizona, a Republican whose conviction for bank and wire fraud was overturned on appeal. Prosecutors had sought a rehearing in the case. . . .
Cisneros, former San Antonio mayor, Clinton’s closest friend among his early Cabinet appointees and a rising political star when his career was unhinged by scandal, was convicted in a cover-up controversy involving payments he made to his ex-mistress.
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Hillary Rodham Clinton – From Boy Clinton by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.:
On July 20 (1993), Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster was found dead, an apparent suicide. . . .
On July 20, the day the FBI acquired permission to search the office of David Hale, a member of the Arkansas “political family” suspected of Small Business administration fraud . . .
Mrs. Clinton, who was in Little Rock visiting her mother, expressed her sadness. The White House reported that she and Foster were very close and that Foster had overseen matters of personal finance for her. In fact, as was suspected in Washington and would soon be substantiated by disgruntled former Clinton bodyguards, the two had been lovers. . . .
~ ~ ~
That August, Clinton’s troopers were talking to two reporters from the Los Angeles Times and one from the American Spectator, Brock. . . .
Following up on several leads, by the time of Vince Foster’s death, I had enough on him and Mrs. Clinton to report their affair in the American Spectator, but it was not until the next month, when Brock met with the Clintons’ former bodyguards, that we developed sufficient sources to chronicle irrefutably the Clintons’ Big Chill marriage. . . .
In August (1993) Clinton’s longtime foe, Arkansas lawyer Cliff Jackson, approached our Brock with a project. He had four of the Clintons’ security men who wanted to talk. Their motives were not wholly public spirited. Two were miffed that the Clintons had passed them over when choosing cronies for their new government. The other two would most probably have remained silent had the Clintons provided them with jobs, but the immediate provocation for their disloyalty was nothing more dramatic than a typically reckless Clinton snub. After all the irregular demands he had made on them in his pursuit of parties and security for his illicit liaisons, he ignored their request for autographed pictures. That stung both officers, Roger Perry and Larry Patterson, and their retaliation did him enormous injury. . . .
All four troopers had acquired a bland disrespect for the Clintons, for Mrs. Clinton because of her bitchiness and hypocrisy, for Clinton because of his lechery, childishness, and hypocrisy. Their grotesque behavior was unusual even for a political couple. . . .
After Jackson’s meeting with Brock all four troopers allowed themselves to be taped by him . . . From August through October Brock taped more than thirty hours of interviews, covering the Clintons from early 1970 to January 16,1993 . . .
According to my calculations (in November) we had the story ready to go. It revealed sexual irregularities by both Clintons — in the case of the male Clinton, irregularities of rather gargantuan proportions. It previewed the angry, devious, arbitrary Hillary Clinton that came out from behind the arras in late 1995 when her billing documents suddenly appeared in the White House residence after being under subpoena for two years. What is more, the troopers’ testimony revealed abuse of authority, misuse of state property, and now blatant lies to the national press. It was a most important story. . . .
Our piece was in the galleys and being polished for a December publication. It contained the most devastating sketch of a sitting American president ever written, and Hillary did not come off looking all that homey either. The information was about character, precisely the issue Clinton had hornswoggled the press into avoiding during the campaign and precisely the source of his administration’s present failures . . . I decided to publish the piece. . . .
~ ~ ~
(On Tuesday, December 21) Mrs. Clinton denounced the Spectator piece as “outrageous, terrible stories.” She perceived conspiracy. “I find it not an accident,” she told the Associated Press, “that every time he [her husband] is on the verge of fulfilling his commitment to the American people … out comes yet a new round of these outrageous, terrible stories that people plant for political and financial reasons.” The interview led the evening news. That day the Los Angeles Times also came out with its piece corroborating our story. . .
~ ~ ~
At least one of Clinton’s trysts had taken place in the Governor’s Mansion since his election to the presidency, making a mockery of his promise on 60 Minutes to err no more. Wednesday brought more distress for the president. During three interviews that day, questions about Troopergate flew at him. An Associated Press interview broadcast on the evening news caught him glassy-eyed and stammering, “I have nothing else to say. We …we did, if, the, the, I, I, the stories are just as they have been said. They’re outrageous, and they’re not so.” . . .
Apparently, the “personal” problem persisted, for after the election, Clinton had the aforementioned nocturnal meeting with the woman in the basement of the Governor’s Mansion, a trooper standing lookout as Mrs. Clinton snoozed soundly upstairs (the consensus among the troopers is that Mrs. Clinton could have slept through the San Francisco earthquake.) . . .
~ ~ ~
Wherever I went in New York or Washington, piquant intelligence reports came my way. When Mrs. Clinton read our piece her violent screams alarmed the White House staff and sent the president scrambling down the elevator from the family quarters in a state of dreadful agitation
Brock’s story held historic consequences. The corruption of the First Family was revealed in vivid American lingo, and it prefigured many of the scandals that embroiled that First Family in late 1995 and 1996. Brock’s troopers had seen the Lady MacBeth in Mrs. Clinton. In front of the Governor’s Mansion in 1991 she exploded. “I thought something was terribly wrong, so I rushed out to her,” trooper Perry asserts, “she screamed, ‘Where is the goddam fu*king flag?’ It was early and we hadn’t raised the flag yet. And she said, ‘I want the goddam fu*king flag up every fu*king morning at fu*king sunrise.’“
~ ~ ~
In 1996 the press began to report her coarse treatment of the president, but it had begun back in Arkansas in front of the troopers of the president when she would call the governor to his face “a motherfu*ker, cocksu*ker, and everything else,” according to trooper Patterson. “I went into the kitchen,” after one such outburst, Patterson told Brock, “and the cook, Miss Emma, turned to me and said, ‘The devil’s in that woman.‘“
~ ~ ~
Clinton is portrayed as nicer but no more civilized. He was carrying on several affairs at a time, using government personnel to cover for him and to expedite meetings with the women and with various pick-ups.
He bragged of his sexual gymnastics in crude language, for instance telling Perry that Gennifer Flowers “could suck a tennis ball through a garden hose.”
He engaged in sex in parked cars, frequently oral sex about which he was obsessed, once telling Patterson that “he had researched the subject in the Bible and oral sex isn’t considered adultery.”
The troopers described violent assaults by Mrs. Clinton on her husband and whatever property she could lay her hands on in the family quarters.
~ ~ ~
Another of the rhythms one discovers in Rodham’s public life in Little Rock and in Washington is corruption, sometimes quite serious. . . .
The Sunday Times of London reported in 1994 that in the late 1980s “Hillary Clinton…and two senior members of the Clinton administration have been implicated in a multi-million dollar deal to profiteer from the sale of old people’s homes. As a senior partner in the Arkansas law firm which oversaw the transactions, she received thousands of dollars from a share out of legal fees.
Earlier in the decade Rodham engaged in repeated conflicts of interest, for instance, by representing the government in cases involving such friends as Clinton’s crony, Dan Lasater, the convicted drug distributor, and against Frost & Co., the accounting firm that had handled her taxes.
In 1978 Rodham and her husband entered into their Whitewater partnership with the McDougals. . . . In 1980 she began her shadowy bank dealings by putting her name on a questionable loan for $30,000. For the next decade this loan was refinanced by friendly banks just a few paces ahead of federal bank examiners.
Several of the bankers Rodham dealt with, of course, were receiving favors from Rodham’s husband, the governor, and one was the state bank commissioner.
In 1985 as First Lady of Arkansas she began taking a $1,000 monthly retainer from McDougal’s Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, though the trust was under the scrutiny of federal examiners skeptical of its solvency. According to McDougal, her husband leaned on him for the arrangement.
In 1995 House Banking Committee hearings introduced reports from the Inspector General of two federal regulatory agencies lambasting Rodham’s Rose Law Firm for its failure to disclose conflicts of interest in its relations with seven of the seventeen failed savings and loans on which it did legal work for the federal government. One of Rodham’s clients, of course, had been Madison.
Two others were Illinois thrifts that charged they were defrauded by the Clintons’ friend, Lasater. The record was so egregious that House Banking Chairman Jim Leach said the review of the Rose Law Firm is likely to be “a case study of legal impropriety at law schools for decades to come.”
Yet the revelations were not over. In late 1995 during the Senate’s Whitewater hearing it was revealed that, as a Rose Law Firm lawyer, Rodham had handled the Castle Grande development project, which bank examiners discovered involved in part a series of fictitious transactions devised to inflate profits. . . .
* * *
From No One Left to Lie To: . . . The late Les Aspin, Clinton’s luckless and incompetent secretary of defense, once told me that he had planned to make a brief personal appearance in Sarajevo, in order to keep some small part of the empty campaign promise made by Clinton to the Bosnians, but had been ordered to stay at home lest attention be distracted from “Hillary’s health-care drive.” . . .
Perhaps you remember the highly successful “Harry and Louise” TV slots, where a painfully average couple pondered looming threats to their choice of family physician. As Mrs. Clinton put it in a fighting speech in the fall of 1993: “I know you/ve all seen the ads. You know, the kind of homey kitchen ads where you’ve got the couple sitting there talking about how the President’s plan is going to take away choice and the President’s plan is going to narrow options, and then that sort of heartfelt sigh by that woman at the end, ‘There must be a better way’ . . .
What you don’t get told in the ad is that it is paid for by insurance companies.” . . .
It is fortunate for the Clintons that this populist appeal was unsuccessful. Had the masses risen up against the insurance companies, they would have discovered that the four largest of them — Aetna, Prudential, Met Life, and Cigna — had helped finance and design the “managed-competition” scheme which the Clintons and their Jackson Hole Group had put forward in the first place. . . .
Dr. David Himmelstein, one of the leaders of the group, met Mrs. Clinton in early 1993. It became clear, in the course of their conversation, that she wanted two things simultaneously: the insurance giants “on board,” and the option of attacking said giants if things went wrong.. . . .
The “triangulation” went like this. Harry and Louise sob-story ads were paid for by the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA), a group made up of the smaller insurance providers. The major five insurance corporations spent even more money to support “managed competition” and to buy up HMOs as the likeliest investment for the future.
The Clintons demagogically campaigned against the “insurance industry,” while backing — and with the backing of — those large fish that were preparing to swallow the minnows.
This strategy, invisible to the media . . . was neatly summarized by Patrick Woodall of Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen:
“The managed competition-style plan the Clintons have chosen virtually guarantees that the five largest health-insurance companies — Aetna, Prudential, Met Life, Cigna, and The Travelers — will run the show in the health-care system.”…
And Robert Dreyfuss of Physicians for a National Health Program added:
“The Clintons are getting away with murder by portraying themselves as opponents of the insurance industry. It’s only the small fry that oppose their plan. Under any managed-competition scheme, the small ones will be pushed out of the market very quickly.” . . .
Having come up with a plan that embodied the worst of bureaucracy and the worst of “free enterprise,” and having seen it fail abjectly because of its abysmal and labyrinthine complexity, the Clintons dropped the subject of health care . . .
Since they had been gambling with other peoples’ chips, the First Couple felt little pain. . . .
The same could not be said for the general population, or for the medical profession, which was swiftly annexed by huge HMO’s like Columbia Sunrise.
Gag rules for doctors, the insistence on no-choice allocation of primary “care givers,” and actual bonuses paid to physicians and nurses and emergency rooms that denied care, or even restricted access to new treatments, soon followed.
So did the exposure of extraordinary levels of corruption in the new health-care conglomerates.
Until the impeachment crisis broke, no comment was made by the administration about any of these phenomena, which left most patients and most doctors measurably worse off than they had been in 1992….
* * *
From Year of the Rat: . . . On June 18, 1997, PrimeTime Live aired [Brian Ross’s] interview with the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown’s mistress, Nolanda Hill. … Ross asked her how John Huang came to be appointed to the Commerce Department:
Hill: Ron told me that the White House put him there, and it was Ron’s opinion that the White House meant Hillary in this instance.
Ross: That she put him there.
Hill: He believed that she was the person that made the call.
Initially, we were skeptical, but after our extensive research we now believe that the weight of motivation, opportunity, and evidence points directly to Hillary Clinton’s intervention. And we further believe that her reasons for intervening were corrupt.
The story begins in Nov 1992, right after her husband’s election. Like many Democratic activists, Huang was thrilled that after 12 years of Republican rule the Democrats would be back in the White House. Huang and his sponsors, the billionaire Riady family of Indonesia, immediately began pressing the Clinton transition team to appoint Huang to an important post.
For the Clinton administration, it should have been an easy call. According to his American colleagues at the Riady-owned LippoBank, Huang knew the president from Arkansas days. He would proudly tell people that he was an FOB. Huang had personally raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Clinton-Gore team and the Democrats.
More importantly, the Riadys, family friends of the Clintons, were the number one source of funds for the Democrats in the 1992 election cycle. Lippo consultant and Democratic activist Maeley Tom sent a gentle reminder to Bruce Lindsey, then head of White House personnel, that the Riadys had “invested heavily” in Clinton’s campaign. . . .
Huang had letters of recommendation from Democratic Senators Paul Simon Of Illinois … and Tom Daschle of South Dakota (the current Senate minority leader). Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota wrote to Bruce Lindsey: “This country would be fortunate indeed to have a man of John’s caliber and integrity in the Executive Branch.”…
On his employment form Huang listed as references Joe Giroir, former chairman of the Rose Law Firm, where Hillary had been a partner; and Curt Bradbury, president of Little Rock’s Worthen Bank, a crucial source of Clinton campaign funds during the primaries. . . . But for some reason it took Huang eighteen months to gain his position. And the position he did take– principal deputy assistant secretary of Commerce– was a job best described as mid-level….
During the delay, the Clinton administration was having more than its share of disasters.
First, there were a series of embarrassments involving high-level appointees (i.e., Nannygate). In the summer of 1993 Vince Foster, deputy White House counsel and the first lady’s former law partner, was found dead by gunshot.
By Jan 1994, a 3-judge panel had named an independent counsel to start poking around in the Clintons’ Arkansas affairs. Around the same time, the Los Angeles Times and The New Republic ran major stories on corruption in Arkansas, featuring longtime friends and associates of the first family.
In the spring of 1994, White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum resigned under fire.
Also in the spring of 1994, it became known that the Senate Banking Committee would hold serious hearings on Clinton land deals in Arkansas, and a number of Clinton appointees at the Treasury Department would leave under a cloud.
In that same spring, Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell, Mrs. Clinton’s former law partner and President Clinton’s close friend, resigned amid accusations of stealing from his clients in Little Rock.
With regard to the Riadys’ wish to place Huang in the government, Clinton’s advisers were not blind. They knew he was trouble, and they had had enough of that already. Even if they did not know of the Riadys’ long-term relationship with Chinese intelligence– and they could have simply asked the CIA to perform a background check on the Riadys– Huang’s Arkansas connection itself was enough to send up red flags.
Months before Huang arrived at Commerce, his supervisor-to-be, David Rothkopf, was worrying about his links to Arkansas’ Worthen Bank, which was then the subject of an unfavorable cover story in The New Republic.
Clinton’s advisers’ strategy was simple: Stall Huang and hope he would lose interest. He completed the paperwork in Jan 1994, but throughout the spring his appointment was still going nowhere.
Then, mysteriously, everything came together in one week.
In the middle of June 1994, Clinton’s close friend Webb Hubbell ran out of money. … Having resigned from Justice under a cloud, he had no job; his legal and other debts, including back taxes and penalties, were skyrocketing; and he was on his way to jail. What’s more, the Clinton White House could not afford to have another disaster of the sort that had plagued the administration until that point.
With this in mind, consider the very interesting sequence of events that took place over an 8-day period toward the end of that month:
On Mon, July 18, Huang started at Commerce.
~ ~ ~
It is no secret that the White House has been very worried about what Hubbell might reveal to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr about Arkansas business deals and other matters….
They had reason to be concerned. Hubbell’s office at the Rose Law Firm was next to Mrs. Clinton’s. Boxes of Whitewater files made their way to Hubbell’s basement during the 1992 campaign and just sat there, away from prying eyes. In Dec 1994, just before Hubbell was sentenced to prison for stealing from the law firm, Deputy White House Legal Counsel Jane Sherburne made a list of potential legal problems for the Clintons, and Hubbell’s possible cooperation with Starr featured prominently.
By the spring of 1997, Starr had concluded that Hubbell’s failure to cooperate with prosecutors was related to possible “hush money” payments, and the White House was directed to produce any information it had relating to Lippo Insurance Group, Stephen Riady, and Riady consultants Mark Grobmeyer and Joe Giroir, old friends of the Clintons from Arkansas….
On April 30, 1998, Hubbell, his wife, his lawyer, and his accountant were all indicted for income tax evasion-related offenses….
~ ~ ~
The deal may have been more complex than a simple exchange of a Commerce job to Huang for a bail-out of Hubbell. The billion dollar Entergy-Lippo project in China needed a political boost. Commerce Secretary Brown would later complain to Nolanda Hill that the White House forced him to promote the project on his Aug 1994 China trip. Lippo consultant Joe Giroir was on Brown’s 1994 trade mission, and Mrs. Hill has now given a signed affidavit in which she stated that Commerce’s foreign trade missions were corruptly used to elicit campaign contributions and to raise funds for the DNC….
In the legend of Dr. Faustus, the protagonist sells his soul to the devil for a promise of earthly knowledge and power. The available evidence here points to a reckless exchange between the Clintons and associates of Chinese intelligence. The warning signs were all there; the Clintons chose to ignore them in order to eliminate a threat to their power….
See also: Vince Foster
Ira Sockowitz – DNC fundraiser involved in the Clinton/Brown/Lippo/Loral encryption technology scandals.
From: Free Republic, 9/23/98, by Charles Smith, Dead Men Tell No Tales:
Vince Foster and Ron Brown were both involved in the Clinton/China encryption scandal. One known event took place in May, 1993 when Vince Foster, Webster Hubbell and Bernard Nussbaum paid the National Security Administration (NSA) a visit.
These three fine gentlemen, with close connections to Hillary Clinton and the Arkansas Rose Office Law Firm, were tasked by President Clinton to help develop policy for U.S. communications technology. . . .
Hubbell was convicted in 1994 for fraud at the same time he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Indonesian billionaire Mochtar Riady. Riady and his Lippo Group had a great deal of interest in advanced U.S. technology. Riady’s man inside the Clinton administration was John Huang at the Brown Commerce Department. . . .
The CIA briefed Huang 37 times on satellite encryption technology while at Commerce.
Huang’s co-worker, former DNC fundraiser Ira Sockowitz, walked out of the Commerce Dept in 1996 with over 2,000 pages of top secret information on satellite encryption, space launch and earth imaging technology.
Sockowitz was supposed to fly with Brown on the fatal trade trip but he took an advance flight ahead of the Secretary instead. Sockowitz identified Ron Brown’s body at the crash scene.
Sockowitz left Commerce with the secrets only days after Brown’s death. He was never prosecuted nor investigated. . . .
Janet Reno – Former Clinton Attorney General of the United States of America.
From If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates:
No Limits, No Fear — Raw political cynicism is Clinton’s lasting legacy. By his careless use of soft money, he has authorized all future presidential and congressional candidates to disregard the law and treat public office as a commodity to be retailed for unlimited sums of campaign money.
It turns the political clock back to the utterly corrupt days of Nixon, who literally kept wads of corporate cash stashed around the White House.
One of those stashes included $25,000 from Archer Daniels Midland CEO Dwayne Andreas — money used to pay the Watergate burglars. A quarter of a century later, there was Bill Clinton with his 1996 unregulated stash of political money, including $295,000 from Andreas.
Oh, the soft-money prohibitions still are on the books, but they’re now like one of those quirky old laws that occasionally pops up in news features: “A 1913 Iowa statute makes it illegal, even today, for a farmer to be naked in the cow barn at milking time.”
There was a chance to clamp the lid (if not the cuffs) on those who so openly broke the law in 1996, both in the Clinton and Dole campaigns. To their credit, the gutsy staff auditors of the Federal Elections Committee tried to do just that, concluding that Clinton’s campaign spent $45 million more than was legal and that the Dole campaign was $17 million outside the law – nearly all of which had been spent on their bogus “issue advocacy advertising.”
The auditors were gutsy because their bosses, the six FEC commissioners, are political appointees (three appointed by the Democrats, three by the Republicans). The commissioners are appointed to prevent trouble for the parties, not cause it, and they’ve shown that they’d sooner try sandpapering a bobcat’s butt than to stand in the way of the free flow of this illegal money into the coffers of their parties.
Unhappy to see this ugliness suddenly surface and be dumped in their laps, the commissioners were angrier at their auditors than at the outlaws. When the report hit the media, David Mason, who had been an aide to Republican leader Trent Lott before being named to the FEC, snapped: “It’s a virtual certainty that these things won’t be adopted.” He was right. A week later, the commissioners voted 6-0 against any punishment for the Clinton and Dole campaigns.
This left Janet Reno as the last sheriff in Dodge.
~ ~ ~
The attorney general’s office had subpoenaed an early draft of the FEC auditors’ report and was considering whether its charges warranted the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate Clinton’s unlawful spending.
Since she had proven to be a mighty slow draw on other Clinton-Gore fund-raising violations, there were very low expectations that General Reno would do anything this time, and she actually underperformed on the expectations.
Just before Christmas of ’98, Reno delivered a nice stocking stuffer for Clinton, ruling that there should be no further legal inquiries into his soft-money sleight of hand because there was “clear and convincing evidence that the President . . . lacked the criminal intent to violate the law.”
Clinton was known to have been intimately involved in the whole scam — raising the money for it, developing the ad strategy, critiquing and changing the content of the ads themselves. The law plainly says that a candidate can’t do this.
What part of “can’t” had the lawyer-president not understood? Maybe Reno discovered that Clinton had said “Kings X” or had his fingers crossed behind his back while plotting with [Dick] Morris, or that he hadn’t inhaled the whole time. But, no, it was nothing so logical as that.
Her ruling was that (follow the bouncing ball here): (1) while the President might have violated the law, (2) he didn’t intend any violation, as proven by the fact that (3) his lawyers told him his actions were legal, so (4) he “lacked the criminal intent,” and (5) ergo, ipso facto, habeas corpus delecti and dipsy doodle, Bill Clinton can walk. . . .
The new legal standard on soft money, then, is that candidates may violate the law with impunity as long as their lawyers tell them it’s OK. And every lawyer will say it’s OK, because the Clinton precedent now exists, having been sanctioned by the FEC and the Justice Department. . . .
* * *
From: Free Republic, 9/23/98, by Charles Smith, Dead Men Tell No Tales:
Vince Foster and Ron Brown were both involved in the Clinton/China encryption scandal. One known event took place in May, 1993 when Vince Foster, Webster Hubbell and Bernard Nussbaum paid the National Security Administration (NSA) a visit. These three fine gentlemen, with close connections to Hillary Clinton and the Arkansas Rose Office Law Firm, were tasked by President Clinton to help develop policy for U.S. communications technology. . . .
Foster’s attendance at Ft. Meade also confirmed that Attorney General Janet Reno tasked Hubble to encryption policy. Hubble had access to Top Secret material on U.S. encryption. This fact was confirmed by a series of 1997 interviews with Democratic and Republican staff members in the House. . . .
The CIA briefed Huang 37 times on satellite encryption technology while at Commerce. Huang’s co-worker, former DNC fundraiser Ira Sockowitz, walked out of the Commerce Dept in 1996 with over 2,000 pages of top secret information on satellite encryption, space launch and earth imaging technology. Sockowitz was supposed to fly with Brown on the fatal trade trip but he took an advance flight ahead of the Secretary instead. Sockowitz identified Ron Brown’s body at the crash scene. Sockowitz left Commerce with the secrets only days after Brown’s death.
He was never prosecuted nor investigated. . . .
John Huang – From Year of the Rat – How Bill Clinton Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash:
John Huang The Magician
The late CIA Director William Colby once said that the ideal spy is “the traditional gray man, so inconspicuous that he can never catch the waiter’s eye in a restaurant.”
John Huang, the Riadys’ man in America, fits the profile.
We don’t know where he was born, or even when. His U.S. government employment and security forms list his place of birth as China’s costal province of Fujian. Fujian is also the Riady family’s home province. But another account of Huang’s life … lists his birth in the Chinese province of Zhejiang. And whereas on his employment form he lists a birth date of Apr 14, 1945, on visa applications for China and Korea he claims to have been born in 1941….
In 1969, after his required military service in Taiwan’s air force, his family managed to send him to the University of Connecticut . . . He became an American citizen in 1977….
Huang’s first known contacts with the Chinese government began in the late 1970s. He had begun his banking career in Washington with an entry-level position at the American Security Bank. He was the bank’s principal contact with the Chinese Liaison Office, and took Chinese dignitaries to visit American business facilities, such as Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrows Point plant outside Baltimore.
From American Security he rose to a higher position with the First National Bank of Louisville. While there he accompanied its chairman to China for meetings with the Bank of China….
In the early 1980s, Huang received two lucky breaks. First, in 1980 he met Mochtar and James Riady in Little Rock at a Harvard-sponsored seminar.
Nest, he signed up with the Union Planters Bank of Memphis, which by coincidence happened to have a correspondent relationship with LippoBank and other business ties to the Riadys. Union Planters sent Huang to Hong Kong in Sept 1983 to open a representative office. While stationed in Hong Kong he traveled widely in Asia, broadening his contacts with officials in China, Japan, and Korea.
Much as Huang tried, there was not enough agricultural trade business to sustain the Union Planters office in Hong Kong. When it closed a little more than a year later, Huang was adrift in Hong Kong without prospects. He needed a lifeboat– and the Riadys picked him up. . . .
Huang had found his patrons. But there is a downside to having a patron: it creates a strong dependency and a constant need to please one’s benefactor.
Huang spent the next two years with Lippo’s banking operations in Hong Kong, holding several titles, including vice president and Far East manager of the Worthen Bank of Little Rock, then under the management of the Riadys. . . .
In March 1985, Huang pointed out the sights of Hong Kong to Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, who was by then a Riady family friend. He would meet the governor again in 1988 when he escorted Riady clients to the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.
In late 1986, the Riadys transferred Huang to their banking operations in California. He spent a couple of years there, then two more years looking after Riady interests in New York, returning to California by the beginning of 1990.
Huang the Fund-Raiser
The Huang story hit the public in Sept 1996 with a Los Angeles Times story about his illegal fund-raising. By early October, Huang was on the front page of every newspaper, every day….
Just a week before the presidential election, a conservative legal foundation called Judicial Watch took the only deposition ever given by Huang. Under intense pressure, he answered a number of tough questions, but two stand out.
He was asked if he had done any significant fund-raising for the Democrats before he went to the DNC in 1995, and he was asked if he had had any relationship with the president before being appointed to the Commerce Department in 1994. He denied both….
But the Democratic members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee later concluded, “He [Huang] raised money for President Clinton’s campaign in 1992.” Actually, he began as a Democratic activist and fund-raiser on his return to the U.S. eight years earlier. In 1988 Huang, Riady, Democratic activist Maria Hsia, and others formed the Pacific Leadership Council in an effort to attract Asian-Americans to the Democratic Party. Huang and Hsia are credited with organizing the April 1988 Democratic fund-raiser at James Riady’s house in Los Angeles. They were also tour guides for a Jan 1989 trip to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia by Senator Al Gore and California Lt Gov Leo McCarthy.
The later-famous Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple paid for Gore’s trip. . . .
* * *
Late in the 1992 election cycle, Huang began to demonstrate the fund-raising talents that would prove to be so crucial for Clinton and Gore.
On Aug 12 he directed that a $50,000 check from Hip Hing Holdings be sent to the “DNC Victory Fund.” Hip Hing was a Riady-owned shell company under Huang’s control. Five days later, Huang requested reimbursement from Jakarta, and inside of a few weeks it arrived.
This check was only the beginning of a cascade of Riady money flowing to the Democrats. Within days, hundreds of thousands of dollars came in from family members and employees in Hong Kong and other places, ultimately making the Riadys the leading source of money for the Democrats in 1992. . . .
Between March 15, 1993, and his first day at Commerce (7/18/94), John Huang entered the White House at least 47 times, according to Secret Service records. Nine of the visits were listed as with the president– most in the first family’s quarters in the White House. Copies exist of letters to the president signed by Huang that discuss meetings and visits that took place well before July 1994.
What is so significant about Huang’s 1992 fund-raising and his relations with Bill Clinton that he would risk a charge of perjury to deny them? What was he really doing for the Riadys that was so valuable it had to be kept secret?
By the summer of 1994, John Huang was living the good life in California. His U.S.-based compensation was more than $200,000 per year plus bonuses. And Lippo gave him a luxury model Mercedes Benz 560 as a company car. When he went to Commerce he reported a total severance package of almost $900,000, including the car. Huang traveled around the world in the highest political and financial circles, including the Oval Office. . . .
* * *
Whatever Huang was doing, it wasn’t traditional banking. His Lippo colleagues viewed him as James Riady’s “man in America” and a political “fixer.”
The Riadys themselves never took their American business interests too seriously. They were mostly vanities designed to promote the Riadys’ personal and political agendas. John Huang oversaw these enterprises, all of which were consistent money-losers. But no one seemed to care that they weren’t profitable– hardly the usual response from hard-nosed bankers and businessmen. Whenever Huang was low on money, his secretary would send a memo to Jakarta for “capital injection,” and fresh money would magically appear.
All indicators force the conclusion that Huang’s real job in the 3 to 4 years before he went to Commerce was overseeing the Riadys’ political and financial investment in the Democratic Party in general, and Governor Bill Clinton in particular. . . .
* * *
But the Riadys had higher ambitions for Huang. Soon he would go from being the Riady’s “man in America” to their “man in the American government.”
But for this, Huang would need a security clearance.
Of all the mysteries surrounding John Huang, his access to American classified materials is certainly among the most controversial.
Answers are still needed to the questions of how he received his security clearance, when he had it, how long he kept it, what he saw, what he heard, and, most importantly, with whom he may have shared classified information.
First, the facts regarding his security clearance, as we know them:
Huang’s legal access to American intelligence, first as a Lippo executive and later as a Democratic Party official, is totally unique. A Commerce Department security officer testified before Senator Fred Thompson’s (R-TN) Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that “no other consultant on the Department of Commerce payroll was ever granted a top secret security clearance.” . . .
But what justification could Huang show for a continuing clearance after he left Commerce for the DNC?
He certainly campaigned hard for it. According to the Thompson committee’s report, he pressured his immediate superior, Asst Secretary Charles Meissner, to massage the system at Commerce so that he could become a consultant to Commerce and receive a new Top Secret clearance. When this idea was ridiculed by his higher officials, Meissner went up the chain of command to Secretary Ron Brown’s chief of staff.
Huang also visited White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes, who oversaw the running of the DNC from his position at the White House and who certainly would have wanted one of his top fund-raisers to have all the tools he needed.
Huang’s consultancy was never approved– but his new clearance was. Such was the overall destruction of Commerce’s security clearance system that the department awarded Huang the new clearance on Meissner’s mere request to Commerce’s security office.
Meissner died in the same plane crash that killed Ron Brown. In the winter of 1997, a U.S. official in a position to know told us privately that Huang’s association with Commerce created a “climate of fear” among Commerce career employees– and that “a lot of secrets died with Chuck Meissner.” . . .
* * *
On the evening of June 18, 1997, PrimeTime Live aired [Brian Ross’] interview with the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown’s mistress, Nolanda Hill.
Patiently and gently Ross asked her how John Huang came to be appointed to the Commerce Department.
Hill: Ron told me that the White House put him there, and it was Ron’s opinion that the White House meant Hillary in this instance.
Ross: That she put him there.
Hill: He believed that she was the person that made the call.
Initially, we were skeptical, but after our extensive research we now believe that the weight of motivation, opportunity, and evidence points directly to Hillary Clinton’s intervention.
And we further believe that her reasons for intervening were corrupt.. . . .
John Waihee – Ex-Governor of Hawaii (D) and a long-time BIG FOB (Friend Of Bill).
Passed over as a Bishop Estate trustee, Waihee is currently a lawyer for the Washington D.C.-based firm of Verner Liiphert Bernhard McPherson & Hand . . . and a lobbyist for Bishop Estate.
See also: Gene & Nora Lum
For more, GO TO > > > Broken Trust; Dirty Money, Dirty Politics and Bishop Estate; The Indonesian Connection
Johnny Chung – From Year of the Rat: . . . Using Clinton donor Johnny Chung as her intermediary, a PRC military officer
connected to the highest military and intelligence circles in China, made contributions to Clinton’s DNC and had her picture
taken with the president in 1995.
In short order, the Clinton administration began making policy decisions favorable to COSCO, a merchant marine that is essentially a naval arm of the PLA. We believe the relationship between Chung’s donations and Clinton’s policies toward COSCO is one more way in which Chinese campaign cash resulted in policy shifts beneficial to China and harmful to U.S. security.
Johnny Chung, a would-be businessman from southern California, made large donations to Clinton’s reelection effort … Currently cooperating with the Justice Department’s probe of 1996 campaign finance violations, Chung has told prosecutors that he got his contribution dollars from Lieutenant Colonel Liu Chaoying.
Lt. Col. Liu is the daughter of General Liu, the most senior officer in the PLA. By means of these contributions, Chung was able to arrange for a “grip and grin” photo op with the president for Lt. Col. Liu. . . .
There is a consensus among military intelligence specialists that China is priortizing two areas of military growth: its missile program and its navy. COSCO is essential to its naval program, and Lt. Col. Liu’s campaign contributions , relayed through Johnny Chung, were essential to COSCO . . ..
Joseph I. Lieberman – U. S. Senator from Connecticut – Al Gore’s Vice-Presidential running mate in 2000.
From The Center for Responsive Politics:
1999-2000 – Total Campaign Funds Received: $3,413,893
1999-2000 – Total Spent: $1,193,493
Cash on Hand $3,438,914
TOP 20 CONTRIBUTORS
1 – Citigroup
2 – United Technologies Corp
3 – Hartford Financial Services
4 – Pfizer Inc
5 – WPP Group
6 – Aetna Inc
7 – American International Group
8 – Northeast Utilities Service Co.
9 – Richman Group
10 – MacAndrews & Forbes
11 – National Jewish Democratic Council
12 – Purdue Frederick Co.
13 – Apollo Management
14 – General Electric
15 – Microsoft Corp
16 – National Westminster Bank
17 – Verizon Communications
18 – Blue Cross/Blue Shield
19 – Free Cuba PAC
20 – General Dynamics
TOP 20 INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTORS
1 – Lawyers/Law Firms: $224,454
2 – Pro-Israel: $213,410
3 – Securities & Investments: $211,700
4 – Real Estate: $210,900
5 – Insurance: $197,419
6 – Retired: $129,550
7 – Health Professionals: $97,480
8 – Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $91, 150
9 – Misc. Manufacturing & Distributing: $64,650
10 – Defense Aerospace: $63,000
11 – Computer Equipment: $58,738
12 – Retail Sales: $56,650
13 – Democratic/Liberal: $47,509
14 – Misc Finance: $44,800
15 – Accountants: $43,971
16 – Health Services: $43,199
17 – Business Services: $41,480
18 – Lobbyists: $40,049
19 – Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $39,700
20 – Commercial Banks: $39,096
Mark Middleton – From The Asian Wall Street Journal, 8/25/97, by Phil Kuntz:
Former Clinton Aide is Linked to Taiwan
Mark Middleton, a former White House aide now entangled in the U.S. Democratic Party’s foreign fund-raising scandal, called a Little Rock, Arkansas, brokerage house in mid-1995 with an odd tip: Taiwan’s central bank was shopping for a money manager to invest some of its reserves in U.S. government securities….
According to officials at the firm, Stephens Inc., Mr. Middleton told Chief Operating Officer Curt Bradbury that they would be perfect for the job because Taiwan wanted to do business with a company perceived to have connections to President Bill Clinton….
“He said they wanted to do business with friends of the President,” recalls Mr. Bradbury. . . . (Stephens declined the offer.)
* * *
From Year of the Rat: . . . The Riady-Clinton connection is more than financial: it is personal. James Riady has met and often hired many of Bill Clinton’s closest Arkansas cronies: Joseph Giroir and Webster Hubbell …Clinton golfing buddy Mark Grobmyer and White House aide Mark Middleton….
Mike Espy – From Boy Clinton: . . . Drug trafficking was linked to Arkansas throughout the 1980’s, occasionally to Clinton’s
friends and supporters.
An investigator wrote in the minutes of a Resolution Trust Corporation meeting held on June 29, 1994, that [Dan] Lasater “may have been establishing depository accounts at Madison [Guaranty] and other financial institutions and laundering drug money through them via brokered deposits and bond issues.”
Among the “other financial institutions” Lasater has been linked to is the Arkansas Development Finance Authority created by Governor Clinton. In 1994 when Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy resigned owing to allegations that he was accepting gifts from the Arkansas poultry tycoon , Don Tyson, London’s Sunday Telegraph published a story based on numerous state and federal police documents showing that Tyson was “under suspicion of drug dealing from the early 1970’s until the late 1980’s” by such diverse organizations as the Arkansas State Police and the DEA. No charges were ever filed….
* * *
From Multinational Monitor: “10 Worst Corporations of 1997” . . .
Tyson Foods, the Arkansas-based chicken company which symbolized corporate corruption of the political process through its illegal gifts to former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy.
Tyson pled guilty in December to paying illegal gratuities and agreed to pay $6 million in fines and court costs….
* * *
From: The Buying of the President 2000: . . . Theodore V. Wells, Jr .is a partner in the New Jersey law firm Lowenstein, Sandler, Kohl, Fisher and Boylan, and was Bill Bradley’s campaign treasurer in his unsuccessful run for presidential nomination in the Democratic primary.
Wells made his name when he defended James Regan, a general partner of Princeton/Newport Partners, L.P., who was indicted and convicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for insider trading. Four other partners of Princeton/Newport and a trader with Drexel Burnham, were also found guilty in the case. All six convictions were overturned on appeal.
Wells has also defended a host of other high-profile clients. He represented Exxon in 1990 when the government launched three separate criminal probes into the company’s oil spill in the waters between Staten Island and New Jersey. Wells defended “Sandy” Lewis, a Wall Street trader who pleaded guilty to manipulating the share price of Fireman’s Fund Corp in concert with Ivan Boesky, the notorious arbitrageur, who also pleaded guilty to insider trading.
More recently, Wells successfully defended Mike Espy, the disgraced former Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton Administration who accepted more than $35,000 in gratuities from companies his department regulated…..
* * *
January, 2001 – Fox News
WASHINGTON —- President Clinton has pardoned an Arkansas chicken company executive who was ensnared in the corruption investigation of former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, two senior administration officials said.
The White House was to announce the decision regarding Tyson Foods executive Archie Schaffer III on Friday, the officials said, speaking only on condition of anonymity. . . .
The pardons are the first of several acts of presidential clemency that Clinton is weighing over the holidays. Others under consideration include former Wall Street financier Michael Milken and Whitewater figure Susan McDougal.
Schaffer, the chief spokesman for the Arkansas-based poultry producer, was convicted by a jury under a 1907 law of trying to influence agricultural policy by arranging for Espy to attend a Tyson birthday party in Arkansas in 1993.
Both Republicans and Democrats in his home state had urged Clinton to pardon Schaffer, arguing the spokesman was convicted under an obscure law by an independent counsel seeking to build a case against Espy. Espy was eventually acquitted.
Even the federal judge who oversaw the case said he believed Schaffer was innocent and twice tried to acquit him, only to be reversed by an appeals court.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson reluctantly sentenced Schaffer to a year and one day in prison and a $5,000 fine, the minimum that he said was allowed under the Meat Inspection Act. The extra prison day would have made Schaffer eligible for good-behavior credits that could free him nearly two months early, the judge said.
Besides the pardon pleas, Schaffer supporters wrote nearly 100 letters to Robertson asking that he show leniency. Schaffer, the nephew of former Arkansas governor and U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark., served in Bumpers’ administrations and led a business group studying educational reforms during Clinton’s tenure as governor.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Tim Hutchinson, both Republicans, were among those who pleaded with Clinton to pardon Schaffer.
“I think Archie is deserving and that he’s gone through a lot,” Hutchison said. “I’m pleased with the president’s decision. He’s gone through trial after trial and appeals.”
The sentencing was one of the final items in Independent Counsel Donald Smaltz’s six-year, $23 million investigation of Espy.
Jurors acquitted Espy in December 1998.
Milton Holt – Holt was a Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate employee and former (D) Hawaii state senator.
From: Equity No. 2048, Petition of the Attorney General on Behalf of the Trust Beneficiaries to Remove and Surcharge Trustees:
“Milton Holt is a friend of Peters and served with him in the Hawaii Legislature. Holt has been an employee of the Trust since 1987, first as assistant athletic director and more recently as a special projects officer. . . . Holt has been paid as a full time employee. He has not worked full time for the Trust. . . .
From 1992 until early 1998, Holt repeatedly used a credit card issued to the Trust for charges at Honolulu adult entertainment nightclubs and to obtain cash advances at Nevada casinos. . . . Peters and Wong were informed by senior Trust executives of the improper nature of the charges and of the difficulties in obtaining repayment from Holt. . . .
Peters and Wong concealed from the other Trustees Holt’s personal charges on the Trust credit card and rejected suggestions to confiscate the card. In 1994, the Trust gave Holt a retroactive pay raise of $12,325. The retroactive pay raise was not related to the value of Holt’s services for the Trust but, rather, was calculated to pay off the improper expenses charged by Holt. … The Trust did not timely pay employment taxes on the retroactive salary increase to Holt.”
* * *
From Honolulu Star Bulletin, 4/4/00, by Rick Daysog:
Estate Paid Law Firm Bill for Holt — Nearly $15,000 Went to S.F. Lawyers for a Case that Did Not Involve Kamehameha Schools.
The Kamehameha Schools paid a San Francisco law firm nearly $15,000 to defend former state Sen. Milton Holt during a 1993 federal political corruption investigation, in the latest questionable expenditure involving the convicted former lawmaker.
The $6 billion charitable trust picked up Holt’s legal tab with Farella Braun & Martel LLP in 1994, even though the federal investigation did not involve the estate and apparently was not related to Holt’s duties at the trust. . . . sources say it involved the alleged bribery attempt of then Senate President James Aki.
In 1993, the FBI conducted a preliminary inquiry into charges that Indonesian developer Sukamto Sia … offered to develop Aki’s Nanakuli property if Aki would relinquish the senate presidency in favor of Holt.
Holt was then vice president of the Senate. . . .Holt, Aki and Sukamto were never charged . . .
Sources said that Holt’s legal payments were authorized by the estate’s then-general counsel Nathan Aipa on the recommendation of C. Michael Heihre, formerly know as C. Michael Hare, one of the estate’s outside attorneys. . . .
Heihre is a former chairman of the nine-member state Judicial Selection Commission, which nominated the state Supreme Court justices. Until recently, the state Supreme Court selected Kamehameha Schools trustees.
Heihre, whose firm has conducted millions of dollars in legal work for the estate throughout the years, declined comment . . .
Holt is serving time in a federal prison after he pleaded guilty to a mail fraud charge relating to campaign finance abuses. A federal grand jury indicted Holt for theft of thousands of dollars of campaign funds in 1998 . . .
While awaiting trial, Holt tested positive for illegal drugs, violating the conditions of his bail.
The state attorney general has alleged that Holt spent thousands of dollars on the estate’s credit cards at isle hostess clubs and Las Vegas casinos. . . .
For more, GO TO > > > Dirty Money, Dirty Politics and Bishop Estate
Mochtar Riady – A senior executive for the Riady family’s Indonesian enterprise, Lippo Group.
A billionaire, Mochtar Riady was an invited guest at Clinton’s inauguration and his son, James was on the “economic summit” convened after Clinton’s election.
Mochtar Riady has close ties with the military junta that has killed hundreds of thousands in East Timor. When Clinton visited Indonesia in November 1994, he met with Mochtar Riady and John Huang. A point at issue here is not only the illegal foreign contributions to a presidential election, but also the close economic and social ties to an enterprise vying to market East Timor goods in America by a group that uses genocide and slave labor to compete in the global market. . . .
For more, GO TO > > > The Indonesian Connection
Ng Lapseng – From Year of the Rat: . . . Even if composed of hundred dollar bills, $175,000 in cash makes quite a bundle.
We can only imagine what went through the minds of Treasury Department officials as Macau criminal syndicate figure Ng
Lapseng sailed through the San Francisco airport on June 20, 1994, after declaring that amount of money–in cash.
Within two days Ng was dining at the White House mess with presidential aide and Democratic Party fund-raiser Mark Middleton. Later that evening Ng and his associate Charlie Trie would make honored guest appearances at a DNC-sponsored Presidential Gala.
If an investigator runs Ng’s trail back to his base of operations– Macau … he lands directly in the black world of Asian criminal gangs.
At least two million dollars, much of it illegal, made its way from Macau and other Asian crime centers to Clinton-Gore money projects. . . .
~ ~ ~
As discovered by Chairman Dan Burton’s House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, the connections of Ng Lapseng to Clinton and Gore are as follows:
Ng’s grand total is $333,000 in suspect cash, on top of the $1,000,000-plus to Charlie Trie in wire transfers. . . .
Everyone connected to this business, even Trie’s Arkansas accountant, has either fled the country or taken the Fifth Amendment. . . .
Nina Wang – From Year of the Rat: . . . History has shown that the direct route to Bill Clinton’s heart is by way of campaign contributions to the DNC. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are legal or not. There is also another route– contributing to a favorite Clinton charity.
Hong Kong billionaire Nina Wang took the second route with a $50,000 gift toward refurbishing Clinton’s boyhood home in Hope, Arkansas. White House aide and Clinton fund-raiser Mark Middleton solicited the gift after she received a private tour of the White House. For her generosity, Mrs. Wang received the honor of a seat at the head table at one of John Huang’s notorious fund-raisers. . . .
Norman Mineta – Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce replacing William Daley who left to run Al Gore’s presidential
campaign. Mineta is currently Secretary of Transportation in the George W. Bush administration.
As Clinton and the media repeatedly pointed out Mineta is the first Asian-American Cabinet member. One television news commentator made the observation that this was a good political move on Gore’s part in order to garner the badly needed California Asian-American vote.
“He brings an in-depth understanding of American business and a strong sense of the needs of our high-tech economy,” President Clinton said. “But he also has a deep concern for people, for people in places who are not yet fully participating in this economy.”
* * *
From USA Today, 6/30/00: . . . Clinton’s choice of Mineta stands to bolster the Gore campaign in pivotal California. … He has close ties to the state’s Asian-American groups, as well as the deep-pocketed defense, aerospace and computer industries.
“Some might say that the months remaining in this administration is not a lot of time to make a difference in the life of our nation, but I disagree,” Mineta said at a White House news conference. “Six months is a virtual eternity in the new economy. …
Mineta joined defense contractor Lockheed Martin as a lobbyist in 1995 after serving 21 years in the House. . . .
The last seven months of the Clinton administration are likely to be busy ones at Commerce.
The department is playing a major role in Clinton’s campaign to normalize trade with China. It will wrap up the once-a-decade census and soon issue a politically sensitive report on unfair practices of foreign steelmakers. . . .
A coalition of pro-trade business groups spoke out yesterday to urge Lott and other Senate Republicans to schedule a vote on the China legislation as quickly as possible. . . .
* * *
A Catbird Comment: Whoa, Nellie!!! Back that up and run it past me again — slowly! Wasn’t Al Gore just on the Congressional hot seat for the 1996 campaign fund-raising scandals? And didn’t those scandals revolve around illegal contributions from foreign interests– mainly China? And wasn’t one of the major aero-space firms involved in the scandals, LOCKHEED MARTIN?
Holy corporate quid pro quo, Batman!
For more, GO TO > > > Year of the Dragon
Patsy Thomasson – Clinton’s Director of the White House Office of Administration.
From The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: . . . Dan Lasater’s influence lives on through the tenacious Patsy Thomasson, his adjutant and partner in adventures at the Carver Ranch. Her rise to prominence in Washington is remarkable, given that she worked so closely with Lasater — a convicted drug distributor — continuously from June 1983 until July 1992.
When Lasater was sent to prison, she was given “durable power of attorney” to manage his business empire. . . .
Feared and disliked by many members of the firm she was clearly a favorite with Bill Clinton. He installed her as executive secretary of the Arkansas Democratic party to help build the foundations for his presidential bid. After the 1992 elections, she was catapulted into one of the most powerful positions in Washington — Director of the White House Office of Administration, in charge of personnel, computers, security, and drug testing — where she continued to make her presence felt in the successive scandals that have beset the Clinton presidency.
She participated in a six-hour meeting on May 15, 1994, with the FBI that eventually led to the investigation and firing of the Travel Office staff.
And it was, of course, Patsy Thomasson who was found sitting in Vincent Foster’s office on the night of his death, rifling through his drawers. All this without benefit of a White House security clearance. . . .
~ ~ ~
The Tip Off . . . But the real patsy was Al D’Amato. An engaging man, capable of gushing Italian charm, he is also weak, vacillating, and craves the approval of the Washington press corps.
Anybody watching those hearings could see that he was no match for the single-minded Democrats on his committee. The show trail was indeed an “absurdist mini-drama,” as Gene Lyons had said. It was an interminable parade of secondary witnesses, talking about secondary issues, for month after month with no theme or purpose.
In the end it served to exonerate the White House, giving the impression to the American public that the Clinton scandals had been investigated exhaustively, without result.
Foster’s death itself was taboo, so D/Amato confined hemself to investigating the seizure of documents from Foster’s office that night. But even in this the Senator managed to miss the point. His lawyers honed in on allegations that a raiding party had entered Foster’s office at around 10:50 PM to spirit away incriminating documents.
Secret Service officer Henry O’Neill testified that he saw Maggie Williams, the First Lady’s chief-of-staff, coming out of foster’s office with a 3-to-5-inch pile of folders in both hands, then disappearing into her office next door, and then coming back out empty-handed.
Ms. Williams denied it under oath, and passed two polygraph tests . . .
Patsy Thomasson was there– the Director of the Office of Administration– sitting at Foster’s desk. So Thomasson, too, was grilled by the committee. Senator Faircloth accused her of “rifling through” sensitive documents. She denied it.
“I opened each drawer in his desk, to look if there was something laying in the top. My thought process was if someone left a suicide note, they would leave it where it could be easily found.”
Why did she search his briefcase?
“Because it was sitting at the base of his desk, and it just looked like a likely place.”
And so it went, on and on, going nowhere. Months later Senator D’Amato had still failed to establish that anything sinister had happened in Foster’s office that night.
But of course. He was looking at the wrong raid.
The 10:50 PM excursion into Foster’s office was not the one that mattered. There was a reason why the White House has always insisted that it did not learn of Foster’s death until 8:30 PM, when it quite obviously learned much earlier.
The real mischief in Foster’s office occurred between 6:45 and 8:30 PM– that is to say before Foster’s set of keys, including that Medeco-cut high security key, made their way back into his pocket at the morgue.
If subpoena power had been used to pull at this string, the cover-up of Foster’s death would have unraveled very quickly. . . .
* * *
From Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House, by Gary Aldrich:
One of President Clinton’s first major reforms at the White House was to replace the “antique and old-fashioned” phone system. No one had ever complained about the phones before. . . . To many, the White House phone system was more than adequate, it was one of the wonders of the Western world – capable of finding anyone, anywhere, at any time.
But President Clinton thought the phone system was “impossible” because he couldn’t make personal calls without the assistance of White House switchboard operators.
For most of us, the problem wasn’t the White House phones, it was the people who were answering them. Time after time I would call an office within the White House, only to hear a Clinton staffer respond, “Hello? I mean, Public Liaison. Hello. Um, just a minute. Ummm, ah, who’s this?” Then I had to convince them I wasn’t kidding. “I really am an FBI agent. Really! Now please put your supervisor on the line.”
Being put on terminal hold was something I came to expect. … During the Bush administration, I could usually reach the desired party in less than a minute. In the Clinton White House, it sometimes took half an hour. . . .
Early in the administration, a senior Clinton staffer tried to call the vice president at his residence. The call was placed after 9:00 P.M., and the veep’s schedule indicated that he and Tipper Gore were at home. Even if they’d gone out, staff would be there to answer any call.
The phone rang and rang. Nobody answered. Immediate panic set in, as White House staff wondered what had happened. The staff called the White House switchboard, the switchboard called the White House Communications Agency, and phone technicians were rushed to the veep’s residence. They went through the gate, walked to the front door, and were met by one of the vice president’s staff. The technicians explained why they were there, and Mrs. Gore was summoned.
Tipper appeared, and the mystery was solved. Couldn’t they see that it was after 9:00 P,M.? The staff had been instructed to shut off the ringers on the vice president’s phones. The Gores did not want to be disturbed after nine.
Another of Clinton’s complaints about the phones was that the system was overloaded now that so many more people wanted to call the White House. So the new phone system was set up to shred calls.
How do you shred a call? Simple. Instead of using human operators, use voice mail that shunts public calls to a call “dump.” This innovation was instituted at the direction of Patsy Thomasson and David Watkins at the Office of Administration, two of Bill and Hillary Cllinton’s closet friends.
More than $27 million was spent on this new and improved phone system that offered each staffer a “secret” unpublished phone number, a number that even the FBI was not allowed to know. Each “personal” phone number also had voice mail, but that was secret, too.
Offices also had a main number where messages could be left in a generic voice mail “pool,” essentially a mini call dump. So, if a staffer wanted to avoid a call from a pesky FBI agent, it was easy. These were public servants, but they weren’t very interested in being publically accountable.
The White House also had an e-mail system, and we had computers, but David Watkins and Patsy Thomasson saw to it that the FBI Office could not hook up to the e-mail system, in spite of our repeated requests.
One day, deeply frustrated by my inability to get appointments and meet deadlines, I tried to call Patsy Thomasson directly to request a list of the “secret” phone extensions. The phone was answered by a machine, and the message went something like this:
“Hello. You have reached the Office of Administration, Main Office. Nobody is here to take your call right now. Please leave a message. If you are calling to request a tour of the West Wing, press one, now. If your call is about …”
Nobody is here right now? It was the middle of the day.
Later I met a good friend in the hallway, a permanent employee who saw Patsy Thomasson frequently.
“Gary, there is no secret phone list.” Her eyes swiveled to check if we had been overheard.
“Sylvia, it’s sure as hell secret if I, an FBI agent, can’t get it!” . . .
The next day a very muted and intimidated Sylvia called me. “Gary, I passed your request on the Patsy, and you don’t want to hear what she said.”
“Aw, go ahead. Nothing would surprise me anymore.”
“When I told Patsy you wanted the list, she said, ‘Screw the FBI! To hell with the FBI! They’re not getting this list!`” . . .
In preparation for this book, I interviewed a White House telephone company official who requested confidentiality.
“Gary, as you know, the Secret Service has always had a say in the past on changes to the phone system. This time they were effectively told to ‘sit down and shut up.’ The system was installed without any of the usual input or approval from the Secret Service.”
“Aw, come on, you’re kidding. What bonehead cut the Secret Service out of the loop?”
“No, I’m not kidding. It was Patsy Thomasson and David Watkins who were the boneheads, Gary.” . . .
* * *
See also: Dan Lasater; Hillary Clinton; Vince Foster
Paul Patton – Governor of Kentucky.
THREE AGENCIES WILL JOIN IN PROBE
By Tom Loftus and Wayne Tompkins, The Courier-Journal
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept 28, 2002) – Three agencies investigating allegations that Gov. Paul Patton abused the power of his office, first by helping a woman he was having an affair with and then hurting her business when the relationship ended, will combine their resources and work together.
The Executive Branch Ethics Commission voted 4-0 in closed session yesterday to launch an investigation into whether Patton violated a provision on the state ethics code that prohibits a state official from using his office in ways that harm the public interest at large….
Cynthia Stone, a Louisville attorney who is commission chairwoman, said her group will work with the FBI and the Public Corruption Unit of the state attorney general’s office. The agencies are looking into allegations made by Hickman County nursing home owner Tina Conner to determine if Patton committed any criminal violations.
Patton, who tearfully admitted an affair with Conner last week, told reporters in Louisville yesterday that he believes the investigations will show he has not abused his power as governor….
Conner, 40, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Patton and the state Sept. 18 in Jefferson Circuit Court.
During an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show yesterday she told interviewer Katie Couric that in July she sent Patton a letter warning him that she might make her complaints public.
In the letter, Conner stated: “You have used me sexually for a number of years. You have placed me in situations involving group sex and other perversions that made me sick. I went along with this to save my business.”…
Patton also ended speculation about running for the U.S. Senate in 2004. . . . Patton said yesterday that he will not run.
“I have removed myself from the United States Senate race in ’04 . . . “
The governor said he was concerned about the scandal’s effect on the state’s image….
He said watching the “Today” show interview of Conner was “unpleasant”.
The governor defended appointing Conner to the Kentucky Lottery Corp. – a job that pays $5,000 per year plus expenses for attending meetings…..
Stone, the ethics board chairwoman, said that although Patton appointed the five member of her panel, they could fairly investigate the governor….
The commission recently imposed a $1,000 fine on Ron McCloud, the former secretary of Patton’s Public Protection and Regulation Cabinet, for using his office to write political letters, and three years ago criticized Patton for the way his office handled Kentucky Derby tickets.
Churchill Downs allows the governor to allocate more than 550 Derby tickets each year. Many of them end up in the hands of political supporters and contributors. Though recipients must buy the tickets at face value, the commission advised that the number of be reduced and Patton be “more judicious” in deciding who gets then.
Patton ignored the ethics commission’s nonbinding advice in that case.
For more on gambling in Kentucky, GO TO > > > The Game Birds
Robert Rubin – Former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, former U.S. Treasury Secretary; current co-chairman of Citigroup.
From The Buying of the President: . . . With the pressing need to maintain the trust and confidence of Wall Street, a significant force in the new education of Bill Clinton in late 1992 and early 1993 was Robert Rubin, a man worth an estimated $100 million who resigned as co-chairman of Goldman Sachs to join the Clinton administration. Rubin and his wife made a $275,000 contribution from their personal foundation to the New York Host Committee to the Democratic National Convention.
Goldman Sachs helped to fund the Clinton campaign for the presidency, with its officers contributing more than $100,000 in so-called “bundled” money. “Bundled” is the term applied to the aggregate contributions of multiple employees of a single company….
Rubin, Goldman Sachs, and the Clinton crowd go way back. Rubin has known longtime friend and White House counselor Mack McLarty for a decade, and in the late 1980s, Goldman Sachs helped to underwrite $400 million in bonds for the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA).
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Buh-bye, Rubin! . . . The forced resignation of disgraced Clinton Treasury secretary Robert Rubin may have been a result of imminent further exposure of a vast array of corrupt activities, from Treasury’s attempted coercion of U.S. Secret Service agents to lie during their Filegate testimony in 1996, and the agents’ criminal prosecution as a result of that testimony, to today’s New York Times story “CHINA SENT CASH TO U.S. BANK, WITH SUSPICIONS SLOW TO RISE.”…
Treasury was looking the other way and suppressing reports by its Comptroller of the Currency (which regulates national banks) unit as the Central Bank of Communist China illegally moved tens of millions of dollars into a California bank for illegal political and intelligence purposes.
However, the final straw that broke Rubin’s back could well have been a brilliant investigative journalism article by the USA TODAY’s Tom Lowry on May 3, 1999, “Trust Scandal Haunts Goldman/Sullied Bishop Estate owns 10% of Bank/Highly Paid Trustees Facing Accusations, Charges.”
Mr. Lowry exhaustively details the utterly corrupt activities of Hawaii’s giant Bishop Estate in general, and a highly suspect transaction between the Bishop Estate and the personal financial account of Robert Rubin in particular. Rubin is also a former chairman of Goldman Sachs and whose Treasury department regulates both the Bishop Estate and Goldman Sachs, with full awareness of his massive conflicts involving his personal investments, the Treasury department, the Internal Revenue Service, Goldman Sachs, and the Bishop Estate. . . .
Mr. Lowry wrote: . . . Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who was Goldman Sach’s chairman when the firm first approached the estate about an investment, disclosed several years ago that he entered into a business agreement with the estate. He pays the trust more that $100,000 a year, and in return, the estate guarantees that when Rubin leaves government office, the value of his partnership stake in Goldman will not be any less than when he joined the Clinton administration in 1993. . . .
Randall Roth, a University of Hawaii law professor who sparked the state’s review of the estate with a 1997 essay in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, says the investment just “looks terrible for Goldman Sachs with this monstrosity of a charity with these huge problems.” . . .
After the publication of Mr. Lowry’s USA Today article, I phoned Clinton Treasury department spokesman Howard Schloss, and my call was taken by a spokeswoman. I asked if Mr. Rubin or Treasury had issued any public statement in response to the charges leveled against Rubin by the USA Today article, and I was told no such statement had been made, other than to say that there would be no comment. I pressed the spokeswoman for the actual terms, the written instrument of the highly suspect put warrant contracts between the Bishop Estate and Rubin, and I was told they were not available. . . .
I then began to contact conservative political leaders around the country, and had compiled a list of about 20 leaders of the Congressional majority, conservative media, and conservative investigative entities and foundations. I sent a number of pages of documents on the matter (including the 05/03/99 Lowry USA Today article) . . . to only approximately seven of them, including my making a presentation in person, with documentation, to a powerful conservative member of Congress in Chicago Monday night, May 10. Two days later, Rubin has resigned. I was only just getting warmed up! . . .
I commented in my 05/05/99 FreeRepublic article that: “. . . Clinton apologist and treasury secretary Rubin is entangled in a tortured web of conflicts of interest among his secretary of the treasury office, his giant financial transaction with the Bishop Estate, his huge investment in Goldman Sachs, and his oversight of the IRS, including its supervision of the Bishop Estate. Both Chairman Jim Leach of the U.S. House Banking Committee and Chairman Phil Gramm of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee should open investigations and hold hearings on the matter. Their Committees should subpoena Rubin and compel him to testify about his personal dealings retarding the Bishop Estate, his involvement with Goldman Sachs’ transactions with Bishop, and his supervision of the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of its Bishop Estate tax status investigation.” . . .
June 12, 1995: Labor Secretary Robert Reich and some congressional Democrats, reacting to Republican demands for welfare and Medicare reform, call for more scrutiny of “corporate welfare.” Their sincerity will be tested in the next few weeks with a classic case of corporate shenanigans – if not out-and-out malfeasance – in the business world.
Ironically, it involves the largest charity in the country and a growing scandal that could involve Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and cost the Democratic Party its 50-year hold on the 50th state, Hawaii….
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Rubin already is besieged by lawmakers who want to know more about his role in the Mexico bailout, a $20 billion deal that royally benefitted his former investment bank, Goldman, Sachs & Co. Rubin was a principal partner at the time Goldman, Sachs invested in Mexico, underwriting billions of dollars worth of bonds and other financial instruments. Of the $5.2 billion already expended to bolster the Mexican economy, a reputed $4 billion was used to pay New York-based firms for their losses….
Recently, however, another intriguing facet of the Mexico deal surfaced. Upon joining the Clinton administration, Rubin sought to protect both his investments and his ethics by establishing a blind trust with Hawaii’s Bishop Estate, an asset-rich charitable organization. Under the agreement, Rubin pays the Bishop Estate an estimated several hundred thousand dollars, whereupon the Estate promises to cover any losses to Rubin’s multimillion-dollar interest in Goldman, Sachs. While Rubin was co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, the Bishop Estate invested $250 million in Goldman, Sachs, about half of its total investment in the firm….
The Honolulu Advertiser values the Bishop Estate assets at a whopping $10 billion, 337,000 acres of land in Hawaii, the premier property under the Royal Hawaiian and Sheraton hotels in Waikiki, and part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club outside Washington, where President Clinton plays. The Bishop Estate, the wealthiest charitable organization in the country, enjoys close connections to the Democratic power elite in Hawaii and long has been a source of public controversy. Estate trustees are appointed by the Democratic-controlled state Supreme Court and are paid as much as $925,000 a year in commissions, testing an IRS prohibition against excessive personal benefit for nonprofit executives….
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While the estate was set up for the sole benefit of Hawaiian schoolchildren and now enjoys an endowment larger than Harvard and Yale’s combined, it often is faulted for educating only 3,000 full-time students. According to the April 25 Wall Street Journal, only one-third of the Estate’s $244 million fiscal 1993 earnings went toward education, while the trust, thanks to its Democratic friends in Congress, has drawn $30 million in federal subsidies for native Hawaiians since 1987….
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The Advertiser reported that four Estate trustees made personal investments of $4 million in a Houston-based energy project in which the Estate had invested some $85 million [McKenzie Methane], despite having told state-appointed trust overseers that they had not undertaken any transactions with family member, business associates or employees of the Estate…
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Rep. Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican and chairman of the House Banking subcommittee on General Oversight and Investigations, has said that if necessary, he would subpoena Rubin about his ties to the Bishop Estate and Goldman, Sachs. Fueling congressional suspicion is the estate’s withholding of a financial statement on the specious claim that its dissemination could lead to “competitive disadvantage and loss to the estate.”
The statement in question covers July 1, 1992 to June 30, 1993, the same period during which the estate was investing hundreds of millions in Goldman, Sachs.
The estate, by law, must disclose its financial records annually with the state Probate Court. Why should a tax-exempt charity arrogantly refuse to divulge information to the public, information that is critical to the state’s certification that the estate is being run properly as a charitable trust?…
* * *
At the very least, the House Banking Committee should compel the release of the requisite financial records of America’s richest nonprofit and examine the propriety of the Treasury Secretary’s insurance deal with the estate and his involvement in protecting Goldman, Sachs against heavy losses in Mexico….
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For more, GO TO > > > Broken Trust; Dirty Gold in Goldman Sachs?
Robert Altman – From The Laundrymen: . . . Banco Ambrosiano was the greatest banking collapse in Europe since the end of
World War II. It was shortly to be followed by the greatest banking collapse in the history of banking….
In 1988, the Justice Department launched Operation C-Chase, the letter C standing for currency. Posing as drug dealers, undercover agents put out the bait that they had loads of currency to launder. And BCCI fell for it….
A costly and complicated five-year operation– involving agents from Customs, the IRS, the DEA, and the FBI– C-Chase produced more than twelve hundred conversations and nearly four hundred hours of clandestinely recorded videotape. By assisting drug dealers to wash $34 million, the Justice Department was able to indict, and in 1990 to convict, several BCCI bankers and dozens of other individuals. In one blow, the Americans had unknowingly pulled the bottom out from under a gargantuan house of cards.
The man who built that house was Agha Hasan Abedi. … president of Pakistan’s United Bank Limited from 1959 to 1972…. Abedi, who had spent years building up a network of wealthy Arab clients, now appealed directly to them, and with their deep pockets started his own bank….
By 1977, Abedi was bragging that BCCI was the world’s fastest-growing bank, with 146 branches in 32 countries and total assets of $2.2 billion. Although he had 45 offices in the United Kingdom, the grand prize, as Abedi saw it, was a banking network in America.
To help him get that, he had turned to Jimmy Carter’s friend, and slightly disgraced former budget director, Bert Lance. Initially, Abedi hired Lance as a BCCI consultant. Shortly thereafter, when Lance needed to sell his shares in a Georgia bank, Abedi came up with a willing buyer named Gaith Pharaon, a Saudi businessman …
Abedi also helped Lance pay back a $3.4-million loan. Such kindness gave Abedi access to Carter, whom he proudly declared to be one of his closest friends.
Three years after his initial foray into the U.S., Abedi expanded into Panama, where General Noriega soon became on of his largest clients. A year later, Abu Nidal, the Middle Eastern terrorist, began channeling funds through BCCI. Nidal was soon followed by members of the Medellin cartel….
By 1988, Abedi controlled 417 branches in 73 countries and reported assets of $20 billion. And, all this time, the Bank of England maintained that everything was just dandy. Clearly, it had somehow missed a few vital points….
An affidavit lodged in a U.S. court in 1978 showed that Bank of America, then holding a 30% share in BCCI, wasn’t pleased with the way Abedi’s managers were lending money….
BCCI’s treasury posted such huge losses from its irregular practices that Abedi became desperate to find fresh cash, and turned to Latin America. He’d already opened an outpost in Columbia. Now he added seven branches, five in Medellin alone …
It’s hardly surprising the Medellin offices were awash with cash. One of their major depositors was Jose Gonzalo Rodreguez Gocha, known even in those days as a cartel kingpin. Establishing an important presence in Columbia was a logical extension of BCCI’s corporate culture. Abedi exerted such severe pressure on his employees to bring in deposits, putting their jobs and lifestyles on the line, that no one much cared where those deposits were coming from.
BCCI Miami was another noteworthy base, constantly accepting cash deposits in excess of $10,000 and then not reporting them to the IRS. In some cases, the bank’s private jets would fly the cash to branches in Panama or the Caymans, deposit it there, then wire it to BCCI in Luxembourg, where it disappeared….
On the heels of the Bank of Boston affair in 1985, BCCI shifted a lot of its laundry work to Canada. Abedi also opened extensive networks in the United Arab Emirates and in Hong Kong. BCCI also did remarkably lucrative business in Nigeria, despite the world oil glut that had depressed the local economy, and became the most important sink for the massive heroin trade being developed in black Africa. Knowing his clients, Abedi quickly expanded BCCI’s operations throughout the Caribbean — opening branches in marijuana-rich Jamaica, Barbados, Curacao, and Trinidad, and finally the Bahamas — where he also set up strings of shell companies to facilitate the movement of dirty money.
But the faster he opened banks, the faster leaks started to spring. In 1986, Abedi stole $150 million from a staff pension fund to plug holes in his balance sheet. Now fearful that the Bank of England was on to him, he decided to take the treasury out of Britain….
Then came the indictments in Florida. BCCI was fined $15.3 million for its money laundering activities. . . . official investigations were launched in Canada, France, Luxembourg, Brazil, Singapore, Bermuda, the Caymans, Cyprus, and even Nigeria. . . .
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In the States, one investigation went back ten years, to the time when BCCI was romancing Bert Lance and owned Financial General Bankshares, a holding company in Washington, D.C….
In 1982, Financial General was renamed First American Bankshares . . . Being a staunch believer in the doctrine that “credibility is contagious,” Albedi and his cronies installed prominent Americans on First American’s board.
Clark Clifford … one of the most respected attorneys in Washington, was named chairman. Robert Altman, who was married to TV’s “Wonder Woman,” Lynda Carter, became the bank’s president.…
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By March 1990, the Governors at the Bank of England had their eyes forced open by the British intelligence services, which had produced evidence that Abu Nidal was among the many dubious account holders at BCCI . . . Eight months later, a report to the Governors compiled from private files seized from Abedi’s right-hand man, BCCI’s chief executive Swaleh Naqvi, detailed extensive fraud throughout the bank.
Among the practices outlined by the Naqvi files were diverted deposits, phantom loans to Abedi’s friends, and totally fictitious loans laundered through other banks to obliterate the money trail. Two months after that, in January 1991, the Governors were informed that BCCI had amassed some $600 million in unrecorded deposits.
On March 4, 1991, almost as if they had run out of excuses at last, the Governors ordered an audit of the bank. It was only when that report was finished in July that the Governors shut down BCCI.
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Back in New York, Morgenthau and Moscow had indicted several people, among them Clifford, Altman, Abedi, and Naqvi. The first two were ordered to stand trial, although the case against them subsequently petered out. The second two became the subject of extradition warrants. A separate warrant was issued for Gaith Pharaon. Among other things, they wanted him to explain his dealings in the failed Florida savings and loan CenTrust.
It seems that in 1989…[Abedi] conspired with Pharaon to buy CenTrust. So the prosecutors allege. Pharaon secretly acquired 5% of CenTrust on behalf of BCCI. By the time federal banking regulators closed down CenTrust, Abedi and/or Pharaon and/or BCCI owned, and never declared, at least 28% of it.
The government claimed Abedi and Pharaon used CenTrust not only to launder BCCI funds but to funnel various political donations through CenTrust, mainly to Democratic campaign funds, including a $50,000 gift from Pharaon to the Carter Presidential Center.
In May 1994 … Swaleh Naqvi was extradited to the U.S. from Abu Dhabi. A month later, a court in Abu Dhabi convicted twelve BCCI officials in absentia. Naqvi was sentenced to 14 years in jail. Abedi, who by that time was bedridden in Pakistan, was sentenced to 8 years.
With very little left to gain, Naqvi pleaded guilty in America to conspiracy, wire fraud, and racketeering charges. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and ordered to pay $255 million. Pharaon’s assets in the States, valued at more than $37 million, were frozen….
Roger Altman – From The Buying of the President: . . . THE SAVINGS AND LOAN DISASTER, RUBIN, AND
Estimates of the cost to the economy of the savings and loan crisis range from $150 billion to $1.3 trillion. When it came time for the Clinton administration to supervise resolution of the debate, the president put in charge two men who came from the sector that would end up making money off the disaster: Wall Street.
Both Rubin and Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, formerly of the Blackstone Group, joined the administration after their investment banking firms had made millions of dollars in the clean-up of the savings and loan disaster. The government was relying on Wall Street to sell the failed thrifts and Goldman, in particular, was one of the early and biggest players, purchasing “several billion” in assets. . . .
Roger Altman resigned his position as Deputy Treasury Secretary in August 1994. The resignation followed in the wake of his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee’s Whitewater panel about his role in disclosing information to the White House of the RTC’s investigation of Madison Guaranty. During a heated House Banking subcommittee hearing on June 19, 1995, Altman denied a close relationship with the institution he directed. “I did not run the RTC on a day-to-day basis.” . . .
But he paid enough attention to make at lease one significant decision. Thomas Burnside, a former RTC counsel wrote, “The RTC’s lapses became most pronounced when Roger Altman, the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, ran the agency from April 1993 until March 1994. Within a month of taking control, he reversed the RTC’s longstanding request to Congress to extend the federal statute of limitation on investigating S&L wrongdoing [and prosecuting S&L operators]. He said that the RTC no longer needed any extensions.” The RTC was set to close up shop on December 31, 1995, a year before it was originally mandated to do so.
“Everyone knew that to buy RTC properties was to make a lot of money,” Burnside said … “In fairness to Altman, everybody on Wall Street was doing it.” Burnside calculates that the sale of RTC assets was an even bigger problem than the original S&L crisis. . . .
The relevant point here is that several Wall Street firms have benefitted during the Clinton years. . . .
For more, GO TO > > > Wall Street
Ron Brown – From CNN: Ten Bodies Pulled from U.S. Plane Crash – Commerce Secretary Ron Brown feared dead. . . .
Croatia – Apr 4, 1996: . . . Amid driving rain, heavy fog, and the threat of land mines, 10 bodies have been pulled from the wreckage of the twin engine U.S. Air Force T-43 that had been carrying U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 32 others. The plane crashed in rocky terrain in Croatia Wednesday. All 27 passengers on board and the six-member crew were feared dead. . . . The group of business executives was on a business development trip in the former Yugoslavia. . . .
Solemn Clinton eulogizes Brown. President Clinton addressed Commerce Dept employees earlier Wednesday. He said he did not know whether Brown was confirmed dead, but eulogized his friend nonetheless.
Before he appeared before the nearly 700 Commerce Dept staff, the president had gone to Brown’s home to comfort his wife, Alma, and children, Michael and Tracey.
He said he had asked Alma Brown what to say to members of the Commerce Department, and was told to say that her husband was proud of his job and that he had fought for the Commerce Department. Clinton said Mrs. Brown also asked him to say that now, the president will fight for the department.
The crowd responded with long, loud applause.
The president talked about a hopeful Ron Brown who approached his job as secretary with a “we can do more” attitude. He said Brown was excited about his trip to the Balkans and that he was ready to use the power of the American economy to help the flagging economy there after 3� years of war.
“Ron Brown was one of the best advisers and one of the ablest people I knew. And he was very, very good at everything he ever did,” Clinton said.
Brown, 54, became the first African-American chairman of the Democratic Party in 1990. He was instrumental in organizing Clinton’s 1992 election campaign.
Clinton said a colleague recalled one of Brown’s favorite passages from the Bible from the book of Isaiah: “They who wait upon the Lord shall have their strength renewed. They shall mount up with wings of eagles. . . .”
The president closed his address to the staff with a moment of silence.
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From CNN, 4/4/96: . . . The mission that brought Ron Brown to the Balkans was a simple one: generate trade. It was a mission that took him to all corners of the globe.
President Clinton said Wednesday that Brown’s mission in the former Yugoslavia was a mission of hope for the war-torn region and an opportunity for American business.
“He was so excited because he thought, along with these business leaders and the other very able people from the Commerce Department on this mission, that they would be able to use the power of the American economy to help the peace take hold in the Balkans,” President Clinton told Commerce Department staff members Wednesday afternoon. . . .
The trip started in France with a meeting of the G-7, involving trade ministers from the seven top industrialized nations. But it moved into high gear when the Commerce Secretary arrived in Tuzla, where he met with American GI’s serving in Bosnia.
He was accompanied by a group of chief executive officers of major U.S. companies who agreed to help restore Bosnia’s buildings, its water and energy systems, its tourism, and even its banking system.
“The secretary was over there to look at the new civilian implementation possibilities that we (U.S.) are committed to through the Dayton agreement,” said spokeswoman Jill Schukar with the National Security Council.
Aides at the Commerce Department say the secretary planned to help get up to $5 billion in contracts for American companies from a special international fund created by the Dayton peace accords. . . .
Twelve executives were scheduled to go with Brown, but several didn’t make the trip; among them, the chief of the Virginia high-tech defense firm Dyncorp.
CEO Daniel Bannister’s company just won an $18 million contract to provide support of the U.N.’s civilian police mission in Bosnia. . . .
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From Workers World 4/18/96, by Gary Wilson:
Ron Brown and the Balkans: What the Crash Revealed.
The death of U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others in a plane crash in the war-ravaged Balkans April 3 was both revealing and disturbing.
The unexpected death of the highest-ranking Black official in the U.S. will always raise suspicions. . . . At the same time, the crash was revealing.
It gives a glimpse of the inner workings of U.S. finance capital and the web of connections among the military, the government, Wall Street and big business.
Ron Brown … was on a special mission to Croatia and Bosnia. However, he was acting not as a representative of African Americans but as a representative of U.S. finance capital….
On the plane were 12 chief executives and 14 U.S. government employees, including one identified by the State Department only as a Central Intelligence Agency analyst.
The executives included the chair and CEO of Riggs International Bank in Washington, the U.S. executive director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and a vice president of AT&T Submarine Systems division.
There was also the president of Bechtel Europe, Africa, Middle East, Southwest Asia. The San Francisco-based Bechtel engineering company is one of the biggest Pentagon contractors in the United States.
In addition, the chair and chief executive of Parsons Corp of Pasadena, Calif., was on board. Parsons is one of the world’s biggest international engineering and construction corporations.
Another passenger was the New York Times bureau chief in Frankfurt, Germany.
This was a high-level operation.
Dismembering Socialist Yugoslavia.
The flight represented the next stage in the imperialist dismemberment of socialist Yugoslavia. This stage follows the occupation of Bosnia by a U.S.-led NATO occupation force that has engaged up to 200,000 military personnel. . . .
But military domination is only one part of imperialism.
A key component of imperialism is the export of capital from the imperialist countries to the countries they oppress.
Back at the turn of the century, before the emergence of giant monopolies, trade — that is, the export of goods — was a dominant feature of capitalism. Now trade is secondary to the export of capital.
The export of capital includes government loans or loans through giant financial institutions like the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund or World Bank. Or, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Such loans are usually for companies based in the imperialist country to build factories, offices or military bases. Companies like Bechtel.
The loans might also be to build or redevelop highways, railroads, ports and so on. Parsons specializes in such projects.
Capital exports create an outflow channel for “surplus” capital in the dominant countries. But most of the world market is already carved up and under the control of one or another cartel. There are only a limited number of “new” projects that finance capital can undertake.
There is fierce competition among similar corporations in each of the imperialist countries — primarily the U.S., Germany, Britain, France and Japan — for these markets.
The capitalist takeover of socialist countries and industries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has generated a new imperialist frenzy. . . .
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From TribLIVE by Christopher Ruddy and Hugh Sprunt, 11/24/97:
Questions linger about Ron Brown plane crash.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Attorney General Janet Reno decides whether to call for an independent counsel for fund-raising matters, questions about the death of one of the central figures in the scandal continue. . . .
Brown, who rose from a childhood in Harlem to become the first black to head a major U.S. political party and the highest-ranking black in the Clinton Administration, was eulogized as an American hero during elaborate memorial services. Little noted during this grieving period was that Brown was the major target of an independent counsel headed by Daniel Pearson.
Pearson’s inquiry had been triggered by allegations that shortly before joining the Clinton administration, Brown received a bribe from a Vietnamese businessman.
Also raised in Congress were allegations that Brown’s intimate friend and business partner, Nolanda Hill, had passed money to Brown is several sham financial transactions just before he took the Commerce post.
Pearson’s inquiry soon widened beyond these allegations into matters directly affecting the Clinton administration. On March 19, 1996, just weeks before Ron Brown would lose his life, Pearson obtained wide-ranging subpoenas calling for records of the Asian Pacific Advisory Council, or APAC, a fund-raising organization affiliated with the Democratic National Committee.
More than 20 individuals and entities would receive subpoenas, including Brown and his son Michael; Gene and Nora Lum and their business, Dynamic Energy; the DNC; and several APAC fund-raisers who were brought to the Commerce Department by Brown.
At about the same time, a conservative legal group, Judicial Watch, was investigating the possibly illegal ties of Brown and his Commerce Dept to DNC fund-raising efforts. Using a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Judicial Watch focused on Commerce’s overseas trade misions and whether participants were selected because they had been major donors to the DNC.
Judicial Watch had already identified John Huang, a Commerce official and former DNC fund-raiser, as a target of its suit.
Huang had also been APAC’s major fund-raiser and was president of the Lippo Group USA, the American arm of the now-famous Indonesian firm headed by Mochtar Riady. Lippo has had longstanding ties to Bill Clinton and alleged links to the fund-raising scandal and the Chinese government.
As part of its suit, Judicial Watch had taken a deposition from Huang and was preparing to take a deposition from Brown.
Another curious figure was Melinda Yee of APAC, who became Brown’s personal assistant at Commerce. Months later, after the 1996 election had passed, new scrutiny by Congress and the media would place some of these individuals … at the center of a massive, perhaps illicit, fund-raising effort by the Clinton-Gore campaign.
But as of April 3, 1996, these matters had received little public or press attention, and Brown’s death appeared to make them irrelevant.
Six hours after the official confirmation of Brown’s demise, Pearson quietly announced he was closing his probe of Brown.
According to Nolanda Hill, originally Brown was not scheduled to head up the trade mission to the Balkans that ended in his death. She says at the last minute — after Pearson’s subpoenas were issued — the White House asked Brown to join the delegation. . . .
Hill herself has alleged, with no real basis other than suspicion, that Brown’s plane crash was no accident. Her suspicion may also have something to do with the fact that Brown’s death left her holding the bag. . . .
Despite the voluminous Air Force report, critics of the investigation have suggested that the inquiry was compromised from the beginning because investigators began with the assumption the crash was simply an accident.
On the day of the crash, and though American rescuers and investigators were hours if not days from the scene, spokesmen at the White House and Pentagon ruled out hostile fire — though the region had been the center of a military conflict of long duration. Almost all initial press reports referred to terrible weather the Brown plane encountered, implying that might have been a cause.
One day after the crash, with no real investigation under way, Secretary of Defense William Perry told the AP that the Brown crash was “a classic sort of accident that good instrumentation should be able to prevent.” These initial statements from politicians carried over to the first phase of the Air Force inquiry, which is supposed to treat every military plane crash as suspicious until the investigation is completed. . . .
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From The Winds, Dec. 97 – Ron Brown – Classic Accident or Conspiracy Cover-up?
This crash is “a classic sort of accident that good instrumentation should be able to prevent,” Secretary of Defense William Perry told the Associated Press the next day.
An “accident” the Clinton administration concluded, even though U.S. investigators had not even begun their investigation.
In an unprecedented move, the Air Force skipped the first phase of the routine two-phase investigative process. The first phase is called the “safety board”, in which all crashes are treated as suspicious. They moved directly into the second phase, which is the “accident investigation”, mirroring the White House assumption that it was just an unfortunate “accident.” . . .
Evidence of Foul Play. There were no flight recorders on Ron Brown’s plane, a military version of the Boeing 737. . . . “We have not been able to ascertain why this particular aircraft was not equipped with them,” said Major Robin Chandler, an Air Force spokeswoman.
All VIP aircraft based at Andrews Air Force Base are equipped with flight recorders, including the president’s Air Force One, according to the AP. Prior to Brown’s flight, the aircraft was used to shuttle the president’s wife and daughter, as well as other VIP’s such as the Secretary of Defense. The absence of flight recorders seems out of the ordinary for such an important aircraft.
What’s more, the media and Pentagon claim of “the storm of the decade” was sharply disputed by the widely read Aviation Week magazine, which reported light to moderate rain and a constant 14 mph headwind at the time of the crash. In fact, five planes, one of them a small Piper, had landed at Dubrovnik airport just prior to Brown’s. None encountered any problems.
The Air Force investigation later concluded, “the weather was not a substantially contributing factor in this mishap.” The prime factors were, instead, ruled to be pilot error and faulty navigation aids.
Unfortunately, the airport’s maintenance chief was unavailable to assist the Air Force in determining if the navigation aids at the airport were functioning properly at the time of the crash. He committed suicide a few days later — a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
Why Brown’s aircraft drifted a mile off course while on approach to the airport remains a compelling mystery. . . . Lt. Col. Steve Cogswell is a doctor and deputy medical examiner with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) at Dover Air Force Base. Cogswell investigated this air disaster that he and other investigators at the AFIP describe as a “relative low-impact crash” that left the rear of the plane intact.
In an interview with Christopher Ruddy of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cogswell claimed that Air Force Sgts. Shelly Kelly and Cheryl Turnage, flight attendants who were seated in jumpseats in the rear of the aircraft, were “potential survivors” of the accident. “Depending on who you talked to, Kelly was found near her seat, on the floor of the plane or outside the plane,” he said.
Some reports state that she had only cuts and bruises, and was able to help herself into the rescue helicopter. Kelly was dead on arrival at a near-by hospital. Her autopsy at Dover Air Force Base revealed she died of a broken neck.
“THIS WHOLE THING STINKS”
Dr. Cogswell features the irregularities in the Brown crash investigation in a slide show he presented to colleagues and FBI trainees entitled, “Mistakes and Failures in Forensic Pathology,” which also details 100 other plane crashes he has investigated since he joined the Air Force in 1991.
He contends that evidence was ignored that might have proven Ron Brown was murdered.
The most troubling of this evidence is a perfectly circular hole on the top of Ron Brown’s head– a hole Dr. Cogswell refers to as “an apparent gunshot wound.”
“Essentially … Brown had a .45-inch inwardly beveling circular hole in the top of his head, which is essentially the description of a .45-caliber gunshot wound … as close to a perfectly circular hole as you can get,” he told the Tribune-Review. . . .
Brown’s body had been moved to Dover before Dr. Cogswell arrived at the crash scene and his concerns are based on “reports, records, photographs and x-rays” as well as discussions with colleagues at the AFIP.
While at the crash scene, he was asked by Col. William Gormley at the AFIP to look for a cylindrical object that could have punctured a round hole in Brown’s skull. Cogswell told him the hole sounded like a gunshot wound. “Open him up. This man needs an autopsy,” Cogswell said he told Gormley. “This whole thing stinks.”
Col. Gormley conducted an external examination of Brown’s body, but did not perform an autopsy. He also discounts the theory that the hole in Brown’s skull was caused by a gunshot. He claims the skull was not completely punctured and there was no exit wound. Officials conducted a “full discussion” of Brown’s injuries, including the hole in his head, and had ruled out the possibility of a gunshot.
“This is a closed case,” declared the AFIP public affairs officer reassuringly.
Dr. Martin Fackler, former director of the Army’s Wound Ballistics Laboratory in San Francisco, was shown the photographs of Brown’s head wound. “I’m impressed by how very, very round that hole is,” he told the Tribune-Review. “That’s unusual except for a gunshot wound. It’s unusual for anything else.”
When he learned Brown was only given an external examination he replied, “They didn’t do an autopsy. My God. It’s astounding.”
Dr. Cogswell thinks that was a big mistake. “You can’t ignore who this person is,” he told the Tribune-Review. “You can’t ignore the controversy surrounding him. To stack up the coincidences: one of 36 people has got a hole; the hole is in their head; the hole is dead center in the tip of their head; and it just happens to be the most important person on that airplane from a political point of view. That’s a whole lot of reason to investigate it.”
Gag the Whistleblower
An investigation has begun, not of Brown’s violent death, however, but of Dr. Cogswell himself.
According to the Tribune-Review, on Friday Dec 5th, Dr. Cogswell was placed under “command investigation” by the Air Force and given written orders not to speak to the press or leave the floor where he works without permission from his superiors. … Later, he was escorted by Military Police to his home where they demanded entrance while he retrieved case materials in his possession.
Soon after Dr. Cogswell was gagged by his superiors, another medical examiner stepped forward to corroborate his story, according to a Dec 9th story by the Tribune-Review.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. David Hause was present during Brown’s external examination. His exam table was near the table where Brown was being examined. “A commotion” erupted at Brown’s table when someone said, “Gee, this looks like a gunshot wound.”
Hause said he went over to have a look. He remembers saying, “Sure enough, it looks like a gunshot wound to me, too.” … Dr. Hause is considered one of the AFIP’s leading experts on gunshot wounds.
To make this case even more interesting, both Drs. Cogswell and Hause allege that all of Brown’s head x-rays, taken during his external exam, are now missing. . . . According to Hause, all that remains of the x-rays are the color slides in Dr. Cogswell’s slide presentation and the copy of Brown’s head x-ray in the possession of the Tribune-Review.
The copies of the missing head x-ray reveal what may be interpreted as a “lead snowstorm” in the skull. This term refers to the fragmentation of a bullet as it enters the skull.
Hause agreed that “by any professional standard” Brown should have received an autopsy and that the AFIP’s actions against Cogswell is a classic case of “shooting the messenger.”
Motives for Murder and Cover-up
Because there is evidence that suggests Ron Brown was assassinated, the first question that a reasonable and prudent man would ask is, “who would have a motive to do this?” We may begin by examining the controversy surrounding Brown at the time of his death.
Ron Brown, a highly connected attorney and member of the Washington elite, was chairman of the Democratic National Committee during Clinton’s first run for the presidency. He was involved in fund raising. His expensive tastes allegedly led him to accept a bribe from Vietnam to normalize trade relations. He was under investigation by the Commerce Department Inspector General, the FDIC, the Justice Department, the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was two weeks away from being indicted over a bribe he received from an Oklahoma corporation.
Brown is reported to have said, “I am too old to go to jail. If I go down, I’ll take everyone else with me.” Evidently, he thought he knew enough to influence those in power to save him, but that was an apparent miscalculation.
The April ’96 issue of The American Spectator featured an article entitled, “Why Ron Brown Won’t Go Down” — referring to his legal troubles. Shortly after that issue was released, Brown did go down — with his aircraft and everyone else on board.
Six hours later, the independent counsel investigating Brown’s shady business deals and fund-raising practices quietly closed his investigation.
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Current developments surrounding this case make it even more suspect. On 12/11/97, the World Net Daily reported that the gag order and restrictions placed on Dr. Cogswell have been applied to all personnel at the AFIP, who have been ordered to turn in “all slides, photos, x-rays and other materials” related to the Brown case. All personnel at the AFIP are prohibited from talking to the press and must stay at their work stations for the duration of their working day.
All personnel, including ranking officers, must obtain permission to leave for lunch. . . .
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See also: Gene & Nora Lum; John Chung; John Waihee
For more, GO TO > > > The Indonesian Connection
Terry McAuliffe – Billionaire businessman, friend and top fund-raiser for William and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and the
Democratic Party. Clinton-appointed head of the DNC.
From The Public i (An Investigative Report of the Center for Public Integrity):
Army General Had Business Deal With Clinton-Gore Money Man
By Nathan Heller, The Center for Public Integrity
(Washington, Apr 27, 2000) – Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy, the first female three-star general in the history of the U.S. Army and the accuser in a sexual harassment scandal, was in business with controversial Democratic money man Terence McAuliffe for almost two years, The Public i has learned.
Kennedy’s position as a board member of three of McAuliffe’s Florida companies might violate Defense Department ethics regulations that prohibit military officers from taking private positions that are offered because of the individual’s role in the military….
Kennedy never received compensation, as the companies never obtained the necessary funding and never got off the ground….
Two of the companies on whose board Kennedy sat were holding companies; the third was a property-and-casualty insurance company….
McAuliffe has been the financial angel of the Clinton administration, by his own estimates raising close to $275 million for everything from the Clinton-Gore election campaigns to inaugural festivities, the millennium celebration, President Clinton’s library and Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the U.S. Senate.
A businessman with interests ranging from venture capital to home building, McAuliffe is also credited with conceptualizing the coffee klatches and Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers that raked in millions in soft money for the Democratic Party during the 1996 campaign. Vice President Al Gore, whose presidential campaign also relies on McAuliffe’s fund-raising prowess, has called McAuliffe “the greatest fund-raiser in the history of the universe.”…
Kennedy recently made headlines when the Washington Times disclosed that she had filed a sexual harassment complaint against another high-ranking general in the Army, Maj. Gen. Larry G. Smith, alleging that he groped her in Oct 1996. . . . Kennedy is only the third woman to achieve three-star general rank in the U.S. military, and the first in the Army. . . .
Raises Ethical Questions. Kennedy’s role as a board member of a commercial entity while still on active duty raises ethical questions. Dept of Defense Joint Ethics Advisory 5500.7-R does allow active officers to hold private positions in a “personal,” as opposed to an “official,” capacity. However, the regulations expressly prohibit DoD employees from serving as “an officer, member of the Board of Directors, or in any other similar position in any non-Federal entity offered because of their DoD assignment or position.”
Kennedy, along with most of the companies’ other board members, has no experience in property and casualty insurance. . . . According to her official Army biography, she has never lived in Florida. . . .
Board Positions Not Listed Accurately. Kennedy also failed to accurately list her board positions on her personal financial disclosure reports for the last two years. In her reports covering 1997 and 1998, Kennedy lists all of her private board positions ab beginning in Oct 1997, when in fact two of the three companies filed incorporation papers on May 15, 1997, five days before she was confirmed for three-star rank by the Senate. . . .
Father-in-Law Says Kennedy Was Aware. . . . According to Swann, McAuliff’s father-in-law, the companies planned to pay their directors “board fees” as soon as they turned a profit. … “She would have been aware of the likelihood that she would be paid,” Swann told the Public i.
Kennedy sat on the boards of Jefferson Capital Holdings, Inc., Jefferson Capital Group, Inc., and Jefferson Capital Insurance Co., all incorporated in Florida….
Besides McAuliffe, Kennedy was initially joined on two of the boards of directors in May 1997 by Jack F. Moore, Monsignor William A. Kerr, Charles H. Lydecker and George I. Pollack.
Moore is the former international secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and is currently being sued by the U.S. Dept of Labor, which charges that he mismanaged the union’s pension funds to bail out Swann in the early 1990s, when Swann’s Florida savings and loan went belly up….
Kerr is the president of La Roche College, a small Roman Catholic school near Pittsburgh….
McAuliffe runs several companies in Florida, including Orlando’s second-largest home building company, American Heritage Homes . . . .He also served on the board of regents at La Roche.
Lydecker is chairman of the Florida Housing Finance Corp., a state agency that funds low-income housing projects. … Lydecker is a vice president at Brown & Brown Insurance of Daytona Beach, and is a director of two other McAuliffe companies in Florida, Columbia Financial Holding Co. and Jefferson National Title Insurance Co.
George Pollack is president of Florida Health Care Management Corp., a health care management company that runs a variety of health care facilities in Florida. … Pollack said he had no experience in insurance . . .
Jefferson Capital Insurance Co. was set up in May 1997 … to buy insurance policies from the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association, known as the JUA. The JUA was created by the Florida Legislature in Dec 1992, after Hurricane Andrew devastated the state and its insurance industry, causing $16 billion in insured losses. . . .
At one time holding more than 1 million policies, the JUA has slowly “depopulated” its policies over the years by selling them off to private insurers, often encouraging such privatization by offering cash royalties for each policy purchased by a private insurer. Such incentives led to the creation of what became known as “takeout companies,” essentially insurance companies started for the explicit purpose of buying out JUA policies and reaping the large royalties.
Shortly after two of the McAuliffe-Kennedy companies filed their incorporation papers on May 15, 1997, Jefferson Capital Insurance Co. Applied for a certificate of authority from the Florida Department of Insurance to qualify as an approved buyer of JUA policies. By July, the company had been approved to take out a total of 100,000 JUA policies over 15 months, ansd estimated its take-out royalties at $2.5 million for the first year of operations.
Company Never Sold Insurance. Yet, according to Florida Dept of Insurance files … the company never actually went into the business of selling property and casualty insurance. The documentation indicates that McAuliffe was unable to come up with a $7 million loan necessary for funding the company. At no point in the lengthy application file does he or the company’s attorney identify the potential lender.
Swann confirmed that the company was never capitalized in time. When the loan (actually in the form of “preferred stock interest”) came through, all of the profitable JUA policies had been handpicked by other takeout companies. Remaining were the high-risk coastal policies, a circumstance that prompted the company to abandon its venture. Swann declined to identify the “private party” that eventually did put up the money for McAuliffe.
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From Drudge Report, 12/11/99 – Clinton’s closest and most loyal Washington friend, Terry McAuliff, has raised more than $275 million for Clinton’s causes, reports Jeff Gerth in Sunday editions of the NY Times. Along the way, he’s made millions of dollars for himself, too! . . .
McAuliffe has spawned “a web of business deals, from telecommunications to real estate” that McAuliff keeps far from the public spotlight. . . . Gerth claims: “McAuliff has transformed the art of raising money for public figures into the art of raising money for himself, leveraging a personal fortune from his political fund-raising contacts.” . . .
McAuliff tells Gerth that he uses his influence to get people together with President Clinton or to recommend them for presidential appointments. . . .
“McAuliffe, 42, sits on 10 corporate boards, none of them public companies. He travels to Africa and Asia, where he meets with heads of state. . . . He is an active stock trader. He speaks and plays golf regularly with his best friend, Clinton.”
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From Laborers.org,, 12/22/97: THE HEAT IS ON CLINTON’S MONEYMAN – Controversy is swirling around fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe. . . . As finance chairman for the Clinton/Gore Reelection Committee, McAuliffe pulled in a staggering $43 million in eight months. That made him the front runner to head the DNC – a job he turned down. Instead, McAuliff has turned his attention to his home building, insurance, and marketing businesses. . . .
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But McAuliff is finding that it’s not easy putting politics behind him. His name has been linked to the fund-raising scandal that resulted in the disqualification of Teamsters President Ronald Carey. . . .
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The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington is trying to learn more about how McAuliffe earned a lucrative fee in helping Prudential Insurance Co. of America lease a downtown Washington building to the government. Prudential just settled a civil case involving that lease for over $300,000 without admitting any liability. . . .
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(McAuliffe’s) business partners often are the same Clinton and McAuliffe people he taps for campaign contributions. . . . For example, Carl H. Linder, Jr., chairman of American Financial Group, Inc. and a generous giver to both parties, donated — along with whom McAuliff is friends — are also his partners in private deals. . . .
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Take his relationship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In 1991, McAuliff formed a partnership with a pension fund jointly operated by the IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Assn., a management trade group. . . .
The IBEW fund currently has $6 billion invested in stocks, bonds, and real estate. . . . In the 1991 deal that McAuliffe packaged and brought to the fund, the fund put up $38.7 million in cash for five apartment complexes and a rundown shopping center near St. Petersburg. McAuliffe got a 50% equity stake, even though the fund put up all the money. . . .
No investment adviser was involved, says John M. Grau, co-chairman of the fund and executive v.p. of the National Electrical Contractors Assn. because McAuliffe’s plan seemed like a slam-dunk: The pension plan was acquiring the properties at $10 million below their appraised price.
Why such a deal? Because the seller was the Resolution Trust Corp., which had taken control of the properties from Orlando-based American Pioneer Savings Bank. The RTC had rescued the S&L and placed it in receivership a year earlier — costing taxpayers $500 million.
American Pioneer had been owned by Richard A. Swann, father of Dorothy Swann, McAuliffe’s wife. . . .
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The elder Swann once presided over a $2 billion commercial empire. But it crashed when regulators declared the S&L insolvent. . . .
Since then, Swann says, he acts as McAuliffe’s attorney in business ventures and is paid fees for managing McAuliffe companies. McAuliffe says Swann is not a partner but is paid to “help with the management.” Three such deals involved the IBEW and its pension funds. . . .
McAuliffe’s primary IBEW contact was Jack F. Moore, now retired as International Secretary of the union and co-chairman of the jointly managed pension fund. . . .
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In June, 1992, the IBEW pension fund did another deal with McAuliffe. It loaned him $5.8 million to buy 284 acres of Country Run, an Orlando subdivision of mostly unimproved lots. It, too, had formerly belonged to Swann’s S&L. McAuliff’s intention was to improve the lots and sell them or develop the property himself. . . .
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HEADACHES. The Country Run land itself served as the primary collateral for the loan. But McAuliffe also pledged his half ownership of the St. Pete properties as additional security. . . .
Real estate consultant Marilyn K. Weitzman, president of New York’s Weitzman Group Inc. and adviser to the pension fund . . . told the fund it should expect at least a 20% return.
That wasn’t even close to what it got. The fund ended up with only a 5.3% annual gain — and lots of headaches.
For one thing, McAuliffe’s additional collateral vaporized by August, 1993, when the fund agreed to buy out all but a small portion of his share in the first deal, the St. Pete partnership.
“We didn’t sell as many [Country Run] lots as we hoped,” says McAuliffe. “You have ups and downs in real estate.”
Once McAuliffe’s Country Run loan was in default, the fund had the right to foreclose and take possession. But the fund never foreclosed, says Grau, because it didn’t want to be left holding undeveloped land.
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Last October, after more than three years of nonpayment, the fund sold off the Country Run loan in a package with the St. Pete properties. . . . The buyer? Terry McAuliffe. He and partner Lindner are now building homes on the Country Run lots with their company, American Heritage Homes, Inc. . .
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Today, McAuliffe is the second-biggest homebuilder in Orlando. . . . Meanwhile, the fund’s Country Run return wound up being about half what similar loans were earning in that time span . . . As for the St. Pete properties, McAuliffe sold them to a real estate investment trust.
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The IBEW not only financed McAuliffe’s ventures, but it also helped boost his stature as a Democratic fund-raiser by contributing $6 million to party candidates from 1991 to 1996. . . The Labor Dept.’s inspector general is looking into the IBEW fund’s investments. . . .
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), says a spokesperson for Labor Dept., contains “sweeping prohibitions against self-dealing and other “insider” actions by plan trustees that result in a party receiving a benefit because of the party’s relationship to the pension fund.”
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Another real estate deal, this one involving Prudential Insurance, could pose legal woes for McAuliffe. The issue: whether McAuliffe pocketed an improper fee for influencing the award of a government contract.
In a letter signed on Mar. 18, 1993, Prudential agreed to pay McAuliffe $375,000 if the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) signed a 15-year, $187 million lease to occupy a downtown Washington office building owned by the insurer. . . .
The U.S. Atty for the District of Columbia charged that Prudential falsely certified, after it won the lease, that it had not hired anyone to help influence the bidding process, which is illegal under the Competition in Contracting Act.
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Prudential paid McAuliffe $375,000, but he says the money was a proper payment for fending off any congressional attempts to stop the deal. . .
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For more, GO TO > > > Prudential: A Nest on Shaky Ground
Tony Coelho – former U.S. Congressman (D) from California; Gore’s presidential campaign manager.
From Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton Whitehouse, by Gary Aldrich:
On the heels of the Aldrich Ames spy case, the Clintons announced a presidential commission to study “Roles and Capabilities of the Intelligence Community” and to recommend fundamental changes for the CIA, the FBI, and other agencies.
The members of the commission would need to know the most secret activities of the most secret agencies in order to perform their function. So it was vital that all members of this important commission be of the highest caliber and have spotless backgrounds.
Departing Speaker of the House Tom Foley appointed former Congressman Tony Coelho to the commission. He was an odd choice. Coelho had left Congress under a cloud and had gone to New York and made millions in the commodities markets.
He had also taken a presidential appointment to a commission on the handicapped. Coelho’s disability was epilepsy, acquired in his youth from head injuries when a pickup truck he was in flipped over.
To control his mental and emotional handicap, Coelho received a daily dose of methaqualone, or Phenobarbital.
What effect would such a drug, taken daily, have on a man with extraordinary access to our nation’s most carefully guarded secrets, a man expected to make sober and reasoned decisions? It was a fair question. Would we now grant security clearances to persons whose minds were chemically altered, even for alleged medical reasons?
Tony Coelho was nothing if not an interesting character. He had been in so much trouble as a congressman that more than one book and many articles had been written about him. He had been the subject of several, albeit unsuccessful, federal criminal probes. Hiring Coelho to serve on the Intelligence commission was taking the protection of national security to a new low.
The Coelho investigation was received on 7 March 1995. It was to be completed by 27 March “without fail.” To order that we finish the investigation in what amounted to fifteen working days was an outrage and impossible-and that’s what I advised my supervisor, in writing…. But he still harangued me with calls to meet the deadline. . . .
As far as I was concerned, the deadline would have to wait. Among the allegations against Coelho – some of which he freely confessed – were the following:
>> Taking daily doses of methaqualone or phenobarbital for medical reasons
>> Prior alcoholism and considerations of suicide.
>> Illegal, unethical, or inappropriate lobbying of the new Clinton administration.
>> Personal conflicts of interest.
>> Resigning from Congress of 15 June 1989 after multiple accusations of serious wrongdoing, including violations of federal laws.
>> Failing to correctly report income on a federal income tax return.
>> Failing to report a loan of $50,000 in violation of House ethics reporting requirements.
>> Issuing, in less than one year, 316 personal checks – for a total of more than $293,000 – all drawn on a bank account for which there were insufficient funds.
>> Accepting a “sweetheart” junk bond deal from Michael Milkin (later convicted and sentenced by U.S. Federal Judge Kimba Wood).
>> Accepting a $4,000 gift from a savings and loand banker later indicted and convicted of federal violations.
>> Using inappropriate influence to protect owners of failing savings and loans.
>> Accepting illegal political contributions aboard a 112-foot yacht owned by a savings and loan businessman who was later indicted and convicted of fraud.
>> Improperly appointing a friend and large contributor to the finance chair of the DNC (the friend owned a failing Texas savings and loan).
>> Alleged improper contacts with employees of the Clinton Department of Agriculture for the purpose of influencing decisions made with respect to farm chemicals being produced by a leading manufacturer, also a big contributor to politicians.
This list is by no means complete. These are just some of the public, media-reported allegations against Coelho, most of which have never been investigated fully for one reason or another. Now there was a reason to fully investigate these allegations, but I wasn’t being allowed to. While it was true that Coelho was never charged with any crime, the Department of Justice Office of Public Integrity only declined to prosecute him, and anyone in law enforcement and the political arena knows that declining to prosecute is not the same as declaring someone innocent.
The deeper I dug, the more cynical were the questions I posed to myself. How much were Coelho’s chances for an important position enhanced by the fact that he was engaged in fundraising for the president’s defense against the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones? Could Coelho’s opportunity to join the commission have anything to do with the fact that he defended Hillary Clinton’s celebrated windfall profits in cattle futures? What about the public speculation that the Clintons wanted Coelho “cleared” to work on the commission in order to rehabilitate him so he could run the president’s reelection campaign?
I was not in charge of standards, nor was I in charge of the Coelho investigation; I was just asking questions, and I was only the lead agent covering the U.S. House of Representatives. Ultimately, Coelho got his security clearance from the Clinton administration and gained access to some of the most sensitive information our government has.
If you ask me why, I don’t know. . . .
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From St. Petersburg Times, 11/26/99, by Sara Fritz:
Gore Official on Defensive for Circus Actions
Las Vegas casino plan is at issue
WASHINGTON — In 1997 New Mexico businessman Nunzio DeSantis was searching for a business partner to join him in purchasing control of two New Jersey horse tracks.
It didn’t look like the kind of deal anyone concerned about their public image would embrace. The track owner was Robert Brennan, a notorious stock manipulator, and the board was filled with his friends. Both tracks were failing. And DeSantis was under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Tony Coelho didn’t blink. A well-connected Democratic political figure and confidante of President Clinton who today is responsible for running the presidential campaign of Al Gore, Coelho signed on.
Two years later, Coelho and his partners were forced out of the company, known as International Thoroughbred Breeders, after being sued, accused of trying to “divert the stock and assets … to benefit their own financial interests.”
Today, the complex details of the ITB debacle are buried in courthouse file drawers in Wilmington, Del. But the controversy is by no means forgotten.
Recently, Coelho was questioned by SEC officials investigating charges of self-dealing against DeSantis and his ITB partners. The inquiry came to light in documents filed at the SEC by the company, which promised to “cooperate fully” with the inquiry.
Why would a high-profile guy such as Coelho choose to join in a deal involving men of less-than-impeccable reputation?
It was a lucrative deal — a $10,000-a-month consulting contract, a $2,500 fee for each board meeting, a generous car allowance and free travel aboard the firm’s rented jet. Still, Coelho, already a multimillionaire who held top positions in more reputable companies at the time, was not desperate for money.
To government watchdogs such as Chuck Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, the story of the Coelho-DeSantis partnership represents another turn in a highly controversial political career that has marked Coelho as a man who lacks the ability to make sound ethical judgments.
“There is a dark shadow over everything that Tony Coelho does,” Lewis says. “There is a pattern of unbridled arrogance to the point of being self-destructive — a sense of ‘get out of my way, I’m Tony Coelho.”‘
A decade ago, Coelho, then the third-ranking Democratic leader in the House, was forced to resign from Congress after it was revealed that a California savings and loan executive had given him an opportunity to invest in a lucrative $100,000 junk bond deal with borrowed money he failed to disclose.
After that, Coelho used his political connections to amass great wealth in private business deals. And he continued to advise the Democratic Party, accepting numerous presidential appointments to government boards and commissions. But even his service in these minor government posts has caused controversy.
Coelho’s deal with DeSantis is being investigated by the SEC. And the State Department’s inspector general is continuing to investigate alleged free-spending and other improprieties by the former congressman when he served as commissioner general of last year’s World Exposition in Lisbon, Portugal.
This time, Coelho’s activities are creating bad publicity for Gore. And critics are questioning why the vice president selected such a controversial figure to run his campaign.
“It calls into question the vice president’s judgment,” Lewis says. “Why the vice president would choose him to run the campaign is baffling to me. To me, he is the very last person I would pick. Coelho’s never been successful in running anything, and he has been so besmirched by scandal that he couldn’t be appointed to any position that would require Senate confirmation.”
Gore would not comment for this story. Nor would the vice president’s campaign staff respond, when asked, whether Gore took Coelho’s controversial past into account before hiring him.
Coelho’s lawyer, Stanley Brand, dismissed such criticism as the unfair burden of “a guy who’s been picked over for years.” He said Lewis and others “are holding Tony to a standard that’s unrealistic because he moves between the worlds of business and politics” where the ethical standards are different.
Coelho takes political networking very seriously.
In conversation, Coelho stands nose-to-nose with you. His hands gradually migrate from your arm to your shoulder and then around your neck. Often, he will disarm virtual strangers with an all-too-personal account of his life story.
He shares how, as a young adult, he gave up sex with his girlfriend in order to join the priesthood. How he took refuge in alcohol after being diagnosed with epilepsy. How comedian Bob Hope saved him from depression and started him on the road to an illustrious career as a congressman, big-bucks political fundraiser and business tycoon. . . .
Coelho, 56, is the grandson of Portuguese immigrants and grew up on a farm in the Central Valley of California. With Hope’s encouragement, Coelho started his political career as an aide to the Valley’s Democratic congressman, Rep. B.F. Sisk. When Sisk retired, Coelho was elected to his seat in 1978 and rose through the ranks to become majority whip in 1987.
Even before he left Congress, Coelho had experience straddling the divide between politics and business. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee he raised millions of dollars from business leaders, many of whom, until that point, contributed only to Republicans.
His fundraising put him in fast company. He partied often with savings and loan executives whose friendships drew him into the scandal that erupted when their institutions collapsed in the late 1980s. He also counted among his friends notorious junk bond king Michael Milken, whose influence was responsible for the controversial investment that cost Coelho his House seat.
Unlike peers in Congress who turned to lobbying or public policy after leaving the Hill, Coelho set out to be a Wall Street investment banker. Having been cast out of the inner circle in Washington, he seemed determined to demonstrate he did not need the approval of Washington to succeed. Relying on a thick Rolodex of political contacts, he took a small fund at Wertheim Schroder & Co. and grew it to a $4.5 million account over six years.
While Coelho professed happiness in his new life, he grew noticeably restless. He joined the boards of dozens of companies, accepted numerous presidential appointments and lobbied unsuccessfully to become the White House chief of staff.
In August 1998, Coelho filed a report with the Office of Government Ethics listing assets well in excess of $12 million. According to some published reports, his personal holdings are worth as much as $50 million.
He was making enough money to purchase residences in Delaware; Naples, Fla.; Portugal; and Alexandria, Va. But many of Coelho’s business were not successful. One failure was ETC, an educational and training subsidiary of Tele-Communications Inc. that he abandoned in October 1997 when it was struggling.
Since leaving Wertheim, Coelho has spread himself so thin by serving on multiple corporate boards that the Teamsters Union cited him in a survey as the nation’s “least valuable director.”
“Coelho does not seem to enjoy the Midas touch,” the Teamsters said.
If an investor had put a total of $100 into the seven companies on which Coelho served as a director on Jan. 31, 1996, the Teamsters said, he would have been left with only $79.80 of that investment a year later — reflecting a loss of more than 20 percent during a stock market boom. …
What others see as Coelho’s ethical lapses he views as evidence of personal loyalty.
In the few interviews Coelho has granted since he left Congress, he answers questions about his business dealings by portraying himself as loyal to a fault.
“I commit to relationships; I never walk away from people,” he once told the Washington Post.
It was Coelho’s brand of loyalty that got him involved in business with DeSantis. He met DeSantis while working for Wertheim Schroder and their friendship led the New Mexico businessman to invite him into the race track deal.
Coelho was not disturbed that a previous firm owned by DeSantis had been cited by the SEC for “knowingly or recklessly” inflating its net income. Nor was he put off by Robert Brennan’s reputation for bad-faith dealings.
DeSantis, who could not be reached for this story, wanted Coelho for the ITB deal because at the time the former congressman was serving on the board of the Las Vegas casino company Circus Circus, now known as Mandalay Resort Group. DeSantis wanted to acquire ITB to build a Las Vegas casino, and he saw Coelho as someone with experience who could pass muster with Nevada gaming regulators.
Coelho told his business associates he resigned from the Circus Circus board to avoid a conflict when he teamed up with DeSantis. But records show Coelho did not depart Circus Circus until six months after joining ITB.
While Coelho was on the Circus Circus board, he chaired the compensation panel and developed a generous pension plan for board members. The pension plan came under attack in the Teamsters report, however, and was rescinded by the board shortly before Coelho departed. . . .
Allegations of self-dealing by DeSantis and Coelho currently under investigation by the SEC were derived from a court suit filed by the Brennan appointees on the board. Among other things, they are accused of enriching themselves with inflated salaries and perks, issuing cut-rate stock to outsiders and depriving ITB of an opportunity to acquire a Canadian race track, which DeSantis bought for himself.
On March 31, the company reported it had paid Coelho $70,000 in consulting fees, $25,000 in directors fees, $3,500 for an auto allowance and $27,765 in expense reimbursements during the previous nine months. During the same period, the company reported a net loss of $5.4 million.
Although DeSantis and Coelho denied these charges, the suit was settled out of court without a trial. Coelho attorney Brand declined to comment on the SEC’s investigation into the same charges.
Being the ambassador to Portugal was always one of Coelho’s dreams. Portugal is the homeland of his ancestors, and Coelho is proud of his ethnic heritage.
Yet while Coelho was in a position to persuade President Clinton to appoint him to the post, he never got the job. Lewis says Coelho could not be nominated because Senate Republicans would have blocked the appointment with charges of unethical behavior.
Instead, Coelho was forced to settle for a position as commissioner general to the 1998 World Exposition in Lisbon — a job that carried the rank of ambassador, but did not require Senate confirmation.
Yet, according to the State Department inspector general’s office, Coelho and the friends he appointed to help him took advantage of the assignment for their own profit and pleasure.
When Coelho was appointed in June 1996, he was expected to raise private money to fund the U.S. pavilion because Congress had outlawed federal spending for expositions. But when he failed to find enough private donors, the inspector general found, he improperly tapped both the Navy and the National Institute of Environmental Health Services for a total of $6.5 million.
According to the State Department, he also hired his niece, Debra Coelho, as a $2,500-a-month assistant in violation of government regulations, he lived in a $18,000-a-month luxury apartment paid for by the government, rented a Mercedes-Benz for himself when U.S.-owned vans were sitting unused and did not “adequately manage and control” the use of donated airline tickets, hotel accommodations and VIP gifts.
Not only did the U.S. pavilion in Lisbon far exceed the $8 million estimated budget, the report said, but Coelho co-mingled the resources of the publicly funded project with a privately funded memorial for Portugese-Americans. He helped to finance the memorial with a $300,000 foreign bank loan that was not properly disclosed and not fully repaid until after the State Department allegations became public….
Coelho took charge of the Gore campaign when the candidate was slipping in the polls to Bill Bradley, the former senator and basketball star. The new campaign manager’s assignment was to impose strict discipline on a bloated, lethargic campaign organization….
In high-profile political campaigns, it is standard procedure to investigate appointees in order to prevent embarrassment caused by unfavorable stories in the news media. Campaign officials have refused to say whether Coelho’s business failures were brought to the vice president before he was hired, but there is no evidence the Gore campaign took a hard look at Coelho’s past.
Of course, a thorough investigation of Coelho would have taken a long time. In his last publicly available financial disclosure report completed in June 1998, Coelho reported serving as an officer or board member of at least 33 companies or other organizations and received income from more than 85 sources….
See also: Al Gore
Vince Foster – Deputy White House counsel in the Clinton administration; alleged lover of Hillary Clinton; alleged suicide
while in office.
From Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House, by Gary Aldrich:
Rose Law – North
There was nothing gradual or subtle about the changes at the White House. … Each week, every month, the incidents piled up. The permanent staff was bewildered, and they would often come to our office to unburden themselves of the latest outrages they’d seen or heard. Some of these became public, like the scandal of the Clinton staffers stealing U.S. Navy towels during the president’s trip to Normandy. Some were not so public, like the story of a staffer on that same trip who intentionally kicked over a small American flag on a soldier’s grave so that when the president and the news cameras arrived, our commander-in-chief could be photographed lovingly replacing the flag.
Some of these tales were funny, but most were not. In the best tradition of the White House, these permanent staff members would couch these remarks in the most generous terms … but they would get their message across. The message was, “What the hell is going on here?”
What we were seeing went beyond politics. It was a matter of basic standards of civility, of deportment – even legality. Clinton staffers would show up at checkpoints without any identification, or with friends who didn’t have any ID, or even, on more than one occasion, with friends who were wanted by the law and would become outraged when the Secret Service denied them access.
In one instance, a Clinton staffer came in on a weekend with a group of friends to show off his office and give them a tour of the West Wing. He possessed a temporary access pass, also known as a “T” pass, and the rules prohibited staff members who had not successfully completed and FBI background investigation from bringing in visitors. It was a basic security procedure, and for most people, no big deal. But this staffer reportedly “lost it” when he was turned away. Moreover, he attempted to get the officer at the gate disciplined for enforcing the security policy. Within hours, the rule forbidding uncleared staffers from bringing in visitors was waived. Apparently, one staffer’s ego was thought to be more important than the security of the president of the United States.
It was also very annoying, apparently, for the “T” pass staffers to have briefcases and bags searched as they went through the security magnetometers … The “T” pass holders saw this search, and the wait, as an insult. … Before long, that rule was also rescinded, even though one Clinton “volunteer” from Texas was caught trying to bring in a pistol. He wasn’t intent on harming anyone; he just wanted to protect himself in Washington, D.C.
Every day in the Clinton White House we were surrounded by people who had not been properly screened or properly searched. To be responsible for security in these circumstances was unnerving, to say the least.
In February I got a chance to bring my concerns to the White House Counsel’s Office, because I needed to interview Bernard Nussbaum.
The counsel’s number-one job is to keep the president and the White House out of trouble. Dennis and I saw the White House heading for major trouble down the line, if something wasn’t done to make Clinton staffers cooperate with our background investigations and unless White House security policy was enforced.
The lead players at the Counsel’s Office were Nussbaum, the White House counsel; his deputy, Vince Foster; and the associate counsel, William “Bill” Kennedy. Foster and Kennedy had worked in Little Rock with Hillary Clinton at the Rose Law Firm. So had Webster Hubbell, now at the Department of Justice. But most people knew very little about these lawyers or about the Rose Law Firm. . . .
~ ~ ~
The next morning I was to meet with Vince Foster. Privacy Act provisions prevent me from telling you about the background investigation of Vince Foster, but I can tell you that he had one, just like everyone else in the White House, and I was the FBI agent who conducted the investigation, at lease the part that was conducted inside the White House. . . .
As part of his responsibilities, Foster would need to see many of the nation’s most secret secrets. But as yet, he had no basis for a security clearance. Foster had never been investigated by any agency responsible for national security….
Foster’s SPIN investigation would serve to determine Foster’s good character, allow him access to classified information, and give him unlimited access to the White House complex. It would also allow him unlimited access to intelligence agencies throughout the Executive Branch, including the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), and the entire Department of Defense….
THE UNRAVELING OF VINCE FOSTER
I was looking forward to another meeting with Vince Foster. . . .
It was July 1993, and all the Clinton staffers were still walking around the White House with temporary passes, including Foster….
Even though he exhibited an interest and some understanding of the need for security screening, I had to assume that Foster was bogged down with his work as Hillary’s attorney, managing her blind trust and other legal affairs. I also suspected by this time that Bernie Nussbaum or someone above him had, for some reason, thrown sand into the works.
What I could not understand was the enormous risks the Counsel’s Office was willing to take by keeping the FBI reports out of the hands of the Secret Service. To be into the middle of summer of the administration’s first year and have hundreds of staff members without permanent passes, and many without FBI background investigations, was, in my opinion, foolhardy. . . .
Foster was one of the few who kept his appointments with the FBI. As I entered Foster’s office, he rose to greet me, extending his hand and with his usual warm, friendly smile. Again, I saw no sign of depression. He seemed upbeat, positive, happy. We quickly took care of the formal interview I had to conduct. . . .
Then Foster turned to the question of security . . . “How is security around here?”
“Not good at all, Mr. Foster.”
“What’s the problem?” . . .
I told him the security process was still stalled and that I was seriously worried about how the Secret Service had been blocked from seeing our reports.
“Blocked? Who blocked them?”
“Well, Mr. Foster, it was the Counsel’s Office.”
He seemed surprised to hear this.
He asked about the magnitude of the character issues we discovered during our investigations. I told him they were numerous and serious. I also told him that I was not comfortable giving him information about any specific staff member . . . Foster should simply order copies of the FBI summaries, read the results, and judge for himself. . . .
“At what levels are you finding character problems?”
“At the highest levels.”
He thought for a moment, appearing very troubled. “Are they using George?” he asked, referring to George Saunders.
I suggested that he should speak directly to Saunders about that. . . .
I reminded Foster that presidents since Eisenhower had issued executive orders requiring background investigations and they had also set forth minimum standards for employee suitability. It was simply unthinkable – incomprehensible – to abandon the security umbrella around the president, and yet the unthinkable had become realty.
I told Foster that I could not stand by in silence and watch as the president or national security was placed in danger. It was my job, my mission, to see to it that the president was kept safe. I ended my “speech” by reiterating that Foster should call for the FBI investigations and review them himself. He indicated that he would. I thought that when he did, if he did, he would probably be in for quite a shock, thinking back to one case that I had called my “litmus test.” Months had gone by, time enough for someone to read the FBI summary, but that senior staffer was still working in the West Wing.
But, ever the optimist, I still felt that the security program had been broken by ignorance, not willfully destroyed by someone with a sinister purpose. I thought they still had time to get things back on track. How wrong and naive I was.
Foster continued his inquiry. “Are all of the staff members in the West Wing required to have FBI security background investigations?”
What? Hadn’t he been paying attention to what I was telling him? With that question, Foster told me more than he could ever know. When he asked me if his own staff needed to be cleared with an FBI investigation, I realized just how deep the problem was. Foster did not have a clue, and no matter how much I lectured him, he still wouldn’t have a clue.
I answered that, yes, everyone needed to be investigated; they all needed clearances. I told him that during the previous administration nobody was allowed to work in the West Wing until the FBI investigations were completed and reviewed and were found to be free of character problems.
But this was crazy! Here was the deputy counsel to the president of the United States, and he didn’t have the remotest idea of security procedures of the White House. If the Counsel’s Office didn’t know the whys and wherefores of security, who in this administration would?
Foster changed the subject. He asked me about the status of the FBI, inquiring about morale and attitude. He wanted to know if I thought Bill Sessions, our FBI director, was being treated unfairly, having been left hanging for so long.
Sessions was being investigated for allegedly misusing FBI assets and personnel, including using an FBI jet to carry firewood to Washington. A “review” of the allegations by Attorney General Reno was still under way, but months and months had gone by….
Having a director in limbo was not good for the FBI. I told Foster that and said if the director had misused FBI resources, I could not understand how he could stay in that position and remain an effective leader. On the the hand, I had no way of knowing whether the allegations were true. That was Attorney General Reno’s job – and it was long past time for her to make a decision.
I would be happy to know, Foster said, that the “Sessions problem” would soon be “taken care of.” I was amazed. Was Foster telling me that a decision to keep or fire the director of the FBI, my director, was imminent? Foster asked, “What do you think about appointing a younger man as director? How do you think the agents will react to that?”
With that question, I was certain he was telling me that Sessions was a goner. I couldn’t believe Foster would cross that line. Any doubts about what I thought he was trying to tell me were erased when he asked me about the most recent name floated by the administration to take Session’s place, Judge Louis Freeh.
I told Foster that my wife was a former FBI agent and had worked with Freeh and had a high opinion of him. He seemed pleased. . . .
Foster thanked me for my time. He told me he was going to look into the security problems immediately and told me to call him if my concerns continued.
As I left the Counsel’s Office, I felt pretty good about our meeting . . . But on another level, I was really concerned that Foster didn’t seem to know anything about the concept of security. . . .
~ ~ ~
I arrived home by about 6:30 p.m. At about that same time, Vince Foster was joining his wife Lisa and other family members for dinner at a local restaurant. It was supposed to be a celebration. But Foster announced his intention to resign his position as deputy counsel to the president. He family member, however, talked him out of doing it, suggesting that things would get better. His wife, if fact, encouraged him to write down what was troubling him about his job – a list of grievances that was later found in Foster’s briefcase, torn into twenty-seven pieces.
~ ~ ~
July 19, 1993, was a sad day for the FBI. Judge William Sessions became the first FBI director to be fired. It took two calls from President Clinton to convince Sessions that he should turn in his FBI property and leave the FBI headquarters building.
Sessions left the FBI a disgraced and broken man, having failed to understand the group he was trying to direct and having failed to size up the nature of the persons who now ran the Executive Branch. All of his posturing to ingratiate himself with Janet Reno had done nothing to save him.
On 20 July Louis Freeh was announced as President Clinton’s choice for FBI director. That night, however, another of the Clintons’ most important appointments met a different fate.
I was watching President Clinton on the Larry King show. Clinton had been on for an hour, and King asked him to continue for another half hour. He agreed, and they broke for commercial. During the break, somebody told Clinton that Vince Foster was dead. Clinton did not come back for the last half hour.
Vince Foster’s body was found in Fort Marcy Park, dead from a gunshot wound to the head, the victim of an apparent suicide.
At 10:00 a.m. the next morning I met a Secret Service buddy in the hallway of the OEOB. We were both in deep shock, not only because we knew Vince Foster, but because we understood the possible ramifications of his death. What if Foster had shot himself in his office? What if he’ first turned the gun on others? The fact was the Secret Service had never examined Foster’s FBI summary and had no idea what risks he might pose to himself or other staffers.
I thought the security mess would hit the fan now, and we might be called in front of a congressional committee . . .
I also felt pangs of guilt. If Foster had indeed committed suicide, might I have unwittingly added to his woes with complaints about security, unsuitable staff members, and the potential for future embarrassments?
At the time, I didn’t fully appreciate that Foster was perhaps one of the biggest security problems that the White House had, being a depressive with a gun, worried about his own ability to obtain and keep a security clearance and a permanent White House pass, and knowing that his deep involvement with the Clintons was about to be probed in painful detail by investigative reporters.
Did he carry his gun into the complex or into the West Wing that morning? He could have. Was it in his briefcase? Had a suicidal man brought a gun into the White House, with the intent to use it?
It is precisely to prevent dangers like this that we have the FBI to conduct background investigations, a Secret Service, security fences, alarms, magnetometers, and access passes. . . .
The Secret Service agent asked me if I was aware that Foster’s office had not yet been sealed. It was 10 a.m. the morning after the suicide. My astonished reply was, “What? You’ve got to be kidding me!” The office should have been sealed immediately after the White House learned of Foster’s death, to prevent any accidental or intentional tampering of evidence.
It was a day of surprises. Later, I learned from media reports that the Park Service was going to be conducting the investigation of Foster’s “suicide.” I was astounded.
The FBI had never before taken a pass on such an investigation. Had the acting director, Floyd Clark, refused the case? And if so, why? The FBI had always been the agency of choice in previous administrations when there was a need for investigations of this kind.
We were good enough to investigate the Travel Office staff on trumped-up charges of an allegedly missing $50,000, so why wasn’t the FBI asked to investigate the death of the president’s third highest White House staff member? The Park Service is a fine organization, but it works under the supervision of the secretary of the interior, not the Justice Department. The Park Service has neither the depth nor the experience to investigate a case of this magnitude, unless, of course, the White House meant to limit the scope of the investigation.
And I believe they did.
~ ~ ~
As Rose Law Firm partners, Kennedy and Foster were also both deeply involved in the Whitewater mess, where it looked ever more likely the Clintons might be pinned as accomplices to what was essentially a bank robbery with a pen rather than a gun….
Then, on 11 August, Director of Security Craig Livingstone called me and asked me to meet him in the White House Counsel’s Security Office. He sounded very mysterious, and he wouldn’t tell me why he wanted to see me….
Livingston motioned for me to follow him into the walk-in safe that was located within the security office. He told the staff to leave. Then he closed the thick steel door behind us so that we couldn’t be heard. … What he told me about Foster in that hour that we met inside that closed vault made the hair stand up on the back of my neck….
Livingstone was clearly shaken by Foster’s suicide and admitted it. He said, “Gary, I had to go to identify Foster’s body with Bill Kennedy. It was terrible. Then we drove to Foster’s town house in Georgetown to be with Mrs. Foster.”
“Craig, I feel terrible about this. I know how close you were to Vince. … But look, I have a confession of my own. I think I added to Foster’s depression by telling him too much about my troubles on the job, and I feel awful about it.”
Craig seemed keenly interested in what I had just said. “What do you mean? How could you make Foster more depressed?”
No offence, Craig, but you know how I’ve been complaining about security. Well, I had a chance to talk to Vince on the twelfth of February, and I took the opportunity to let him know how dangerous things are around here….
“I saw him again on July ninth, just eleven days before he killed himself, and I really let him have it. I told him the security here was a real mess, a significant problem….”
“Gary, I assure you, none of that stuff had anything to do with his death. He had bigger problems on his mind. He was worried that rumors about his affair with Hillary were resurfacing. We had that problem during the campaign, you know, after the business with Gennifer came up. You remember, when Bill and Gennifer were doing their thing? Vince and Hilary were doing their thing. Vince thought if it surfaced it would ruin his life, his reputation, and his marriage, and he thought it would impact big time on Hillary and the presidency. He was worried sick about it.”
“What? An affair with Hillary?”
Livingstone looked genuinely surprised. “You don’t know? You’re kidding me, right?”
I couldn’t believe what he was saying. I remember that my hands were sweating. Why the hell was he telling me this? I had no business being in on this revelation.”
Craig went on, “There are some people down in Little Rock who are talking. About this and other stuff. We thought it was all put to bed, but it’s resurfacing.”…
“All right, Craig, I don’t know about all that, but the fact remains that the security system is broken, and now the only guy who seemed to give a damn about it … is dead. What do we do now?”
“You think you’re telling me something I don’t know? I know it’s a mess. It’s all screwed up. The whole system’s falling apart.” He pointed to a stack of files immediately to his right. It was a high stack.
He said, “See that stack of files over there? Each one is about a staffer who needs to be fired, right now! And I can’t get Kennedy to do anything with it.”
I knew that nobody was being fired or otherwise affected by the FBI SPINs. Now Livingstone was admitting it.
“You mean to tell me you’ve discussed these staffers with Kennedy? Does he know what the problems are? Does he understand?”
“Oh, yeah. He knows. Not only that, he won’t give me the budget or the manpower even to run this office.”…
As I drove home that night … I felt like I was living a real-life spy novel, and I didn’t care for it one bit. I was worried that Livingstone might have second thoughts about confiding in me. I was in a very dangerous situation.
If Livingstone ever confessed his extremely disloyal act of confiding in me to the Clintons, he would be fired. But my name would be mud, my FBI career would probably be over, and I might even be in danger, if the stories coming from Little Rock were true – about how so many enemies of the Clintons ended up having fatal “accidents.”…
~ ~ ~
In February 1995 I was talking to a computer expert from the White House Information Resources Management Division about how I could clear deleted documents off my hard drive so that some computer thief wouldn’t get access to classified material….
We digressed a bit, talking about the Clintons, their staff, and what we had both witnessed over the past two years. Then he said, “Speaking of computers, have you heard about the Foster computer?”
“What about it?”
“You aren’t going to believe what happened to it. Months after the suicide, someone finally got around to thinking about Foster’s computer and ordered us to track it down. I can’t believe that Fiske and your FBI boys didn’t seize it right away, but they didn’t. We tracked the computer by its serial number. We then ran a review of all repair and installation documents related to it, and guess what we found out? Foster’s computer had been taken out of his office after his death because it wasn’t being used, and someone else needed it.
“But when it was turned on, when someone tried to use it, it wouldn’t boot up – the hard drive wouldn’t function. A call was placed to the shop that repairs computers, and the guys came over to take a look at it. Sure enough, the hard drive wasn’t operating. They took the machine apart, and found the hard drive was so badly damaged it couldn’t be repaired.
“The computer repairman didn’t know the history of the computer, that it had been Foster’s computer, so he simply took the old broken hard drive out and installed a brand new one. He programmed the new drive and took the old hard drive back to the shop and tossed it into the scrap barrel. A couple of months later someone came along and emptied the scrap barrel.”…
* * *
The bizarre story of the life and death of Vince Foster, and the cover-up that followed, is too complex to cover in this limited space. For an excellent account of this mystery, read: The Secret Life of Bill Clinton, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.
See also: Hillary Clinton; William J. Clinton
For more on the web, GO TO > > > Vince Foster
Webster Hubbell – See on the net: Riady or Not
William DiBella – From ctnow.com: Top Politicians Linked to Pension Fund Deals, 10/21/99:
State Treasurer Denise Napier shone the light Wed on seldom-seen machinations that have put millions into the pockets of well-connected “finders” in state pension investment deals– and some of the state’s best-known politicians were caught in the glare. . . .
It also included prominent Democrats: former [Connecticut] state Senate leader, William DiBella . . .
Nappier’s disclosures further illuminated a story of intrigue involving DiBella– which had been told, without DiBella’s name, by federal prosecutors in a court document filed last month when Paul Silvester pleaded guilty to corruption charges.
In that document, prosecutors said Silvester arranged for an “Associate B” — whom sources have identified as DiBella — to receive compensation for a pension-investment deal in which DiBella had played “no material role.” Wednesday, Nappier disclosed that a fee of $349,500 had been paid to a DiBella firm by a partnership that got a $75 million investment commitment last October. . . .
The section of Nappier’s report dealing with DiBella … seems to parallel Silvester’s story to federal agents about how he tried to get someone to pay DiBella a fee.
Silvester has told the authorities, in a secret statement still under court seal, that DiBella introduced him to Joseph Grano, an old DiBella friend from Hartford’s South End who is president of Paine Webber. After Silvester agreed to invest $200 million with Paine Webber last year, DiBella told Silvester that the company had refused to pay him a fee.
When Grano asked Silvester if there was another way to help DiBella, Silvester said, Silvester turned to Frederic V. Malek, the chairman of Thayer Capital Partners, which received a $75 million state investment commitment last October. Malek allegedly told Silvester that Theyer used Merrill Lynch as an exclusive placement agent, and that the only possibility to compensate DiBella would be if Merrill Lynch would forgo some of its fee.
In its disclosure to Nappier this week, Thayer reported that it did, in fact, agree to pay a $374,500 fee to a firm called North Cove Ventures, which Nappier’s office identified as “William DiBella” when it released its compilation of the disclosures Wednesday. Nappier’s office said that North Cove Ventures had a contract with Thayer under which it would be compensated on the Thayer investment, and DiBella signed for North Cove Ventures as its director. His was the only name listed.
That fee, paid this year, was reduced to $349,500 when Nappier negotiated a reduction of $21.5 million in Silvester’s original $75-million commitment to Thayer.
Thayer also paid a $1.1 million placement fee to Merrill Lynch, according to the disclosure. DiBella’s payment was described in the treasurer’s compilation as compensation for “documentation, negotiation and investor relations.”
The question of whether DiBella really did any work in return for the Thayer payment looms large as federal investigators continue to probe that and other deals. Although they have not publicly identified DiBella as a subject of their investigation, prosecutors said in court documents that a Silvester associate — whom sources identify as DiBella — was paid a fee even though he “played no material role in placing the investment.”…
For more, GO TO > > > A Connecticut Yankee in King Kamehameha’s Court
William J. Clinton – 42nd President of the United States of America; Commander-In-Chief of the U. S. Armed Services;
Highest Law-Enforcement Officer of the Land.
From Year of the Rat: . . .
Our thesis is simple: The Clinton administration has made a series of Faustian bargains and policy blunders that allowed a hostile power to further its aims in Washington.
In the main, Bill Clinton and Al Gore did it for money.
In these pages, we will show that, in order to gain and hold onto power, the Clinton administration has acted recklessly, allowing the wrong people to gain access to our most important political and economic secrets. Any number of Chinese arms dealers, spies, narcotics traffickers, gangsters, pimps, accomplices to mass murder, communist agents, and other undesirables will appear in these pages, all associated in one way or another with the White House and money. . . .
~ ~ ~
Did the Clinton administration sell out America’s national security to one of this country’s leading and most dangerous adversaries merely to raise campaign cash? In the pages that follow, we will prove our answer, which is: YES !
~ ~ ~
The Clinton-Gore inauguration in mid-January 1993 was another opportunity for the Riadys to open their wallets. James Riady and John Huang each gave $100,000 to cover the cost of inaugural parties. The Riadys brought a number of friends from Indonesia to Washington for the swearing in ceremony. . . .
Their generosity continued. At the direction of Mochtar Riady, Joe Giroir — a Lippo partner and Arkansas “Friend of Bill” (FOB) — bestowed a life-sized bust of Clinton upon the National Portrait Gallery. Giroir has personally contributed $200,000 to the DNC since 1993, something made easier by his $500,000-a-year compensation from Lippo. . . .
In return for such generosity, the Riadys and their friends were given unparalleled access to the White House. In Jakarta, James Riady likes to brag about where he was on the afternoon of April 19, 1993.
On that day eighty members of the Branch Davidian religious cult were holed up in their compound outside of Waco, Texas, when it was shattered by a tank-led assault. By the time the FBI and Treasury’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents had completed their work, seventeen American children had burned to death. . . .
As might be expected, the White House was a busy place that afternoon, and the president was preoccupied. Clinton was not too distracted, however, to chat with his leading contributors — James Riady, John Huang, and Mark Grobmyer — in his little study off the Oval Office. Riady later told Indonesian diplomats that, during their chat, a television in the corner showed the Waco compound burning over and over as CNN repeated its coverage.
Clinton even took time to show his visitors the White House Situation Room, then on full alert. White House entry logs confirm that Riady and his companions were in the presidential offices (West Wing) of the White House that day.
They apparently also dropped in on Robert Rubin, now secretary of the treasury, who was then a White House economics official. . . .
* * *
From Colonel David H. Hackworth’s DEFENDING AMERICA column dated March 1, 1994:
GOING ALONG TO GET ALONG. . . . Today’s top brass are masters of the go-along-to-get-along mentality that oozed into practice during the Vietnam War, a war where everyone from buck private to general — less the brain dead — knew Westmoreland’s strategy and objective were criminally flawed.
Yet in eight blood-splattered years, not one senior officer had the moral courage to tell the American people the truth. They closed their eyes and went about grabbing their medals and promotions while repeating Westy’s false chant that victory was near.
In the end, almost 60,000 body bags were filled and hundreds of thousands of men and women had their bodies and minds rearranged and forever diminished. . . .
Clinton, who wouldn’t know a bomber from a ballerina, and his civilian advisers — none of whom have served in the trenches in combat — need to know the truth.
The only way to stop this shortage of moral courage is to replace almost all of the top layer of the U.S. Military’s leadership with younger soldiers from the lower ranks, those still close with the troops who haven’t yet been corrupted by the system . . .
* * *
From: The Progressive Review: Clinton Scandal Clips Part 15:
PENSION FUND INVESTS IN CHINA – The Clinton crowd, which almost caused a disaster in the Arkansas state pension fund in the mid-1980s by its risky investments, is at it again according to Investor’s Business Daily and the American Spectator.
The Arkansas State Teachers’ Fund has put large sums into four companies with strong links to Chinese intelligence and the People’s Liberation Army, including the China Ocean Shipping Co., China North Industries, China Resources Enterprises and China Travel.
Some of these firms are also linked to Indonesian Clinton crony Mochtar Riady. The system owns nearly $2 million worth of stock in a COSCO subsidiary. Says Charles Altmon of the highly rated Growth Stock Outlook newsletter … the pension fund investments are “downright foolish.”
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From SELLOUT: The Inside Story of President Clinton’s Impeachment, by David P. Schippers: . . .
As our deadline approached, we still wanted to expand our inquiry beyond Monica Lewinsky. . . .
The Independent Counsel’s Office sent over two large file boxes– one for the Democrats and an identical one for us. It was stuffed with transcripts of grand jury testimony, witness interviews, and FBI reports.
There was information about alleged hush money payoffs to Webster Hubbell by John Huang and the Riady group, which tied into our investigation of Chinagate. But more shocking were the investigative reports about the alleged rape of a woman named Juanita Broaddrick. There was also information … of the President’s alleged groping of Kathleen Willey.
Because of the nature of the alleged offenses, both the Willey case and the Broaddrick case were important– if the charges could be proven– in establishing a pattern of obstruction, perjury, and witness tampering. In the Willey case in particular, the President had given a deposition in which he emphatically denied the allegations. . . .
But bad things happened after Willey was subpoenaed to give a deposition in the Paula Jones case. This story was even more shocking than the President’s alleged assault on a married woman.
On July 31, 1997, [David] Gecker [Willey’s friend and attorney] received, without warning, a fax from the President’s attorney. Both Willey and her attorney … confirmed to us that it was a document entitled “Statement of Kathleen Willey” and that it came with the instruction that she was to read it as a public statement. It said: “The President of the United States never sexually harassed me in any way, and I have always considered myself to be on excellent terms with him.” She ignored the request.
In Aug 1197 the groping incident was reported in the Drudge Report and Newsweek. Around this time she received a phone call from an acquaintance who was a major financial donor to President Clinton. He told her to avoid giving a deposition if she was subpoenaed in the Jones case and to deny that anything had ever happened because only two people know and “all you have to do is deny it, too.”
He called several other times, encouraging her to say, “I can’t remember; it’s none of your business.”
Willey was subpoenaed in the fall of 1997 but wasn’t actually called to testify until Jan 10, 1998. Shortly after she received the subpoena, Gecker was visited by one of the President’s lawyers. Gecker told Kathleen the gist of the meeting: Clinton’s lawyer was suggesting she avoid testifying by taking the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Gecker told Clinton’s attorney that his client wouldn’t take the Fifth because she had done nothing wrong…
A short while before Willey was scheduled to testify, Gecker received another visit from the same lawyer. This time Gecker was told that he was only “a real estate lawyer” and that Kathleen Willey should really be represented by a top criminal attorney. Gecker responded that he was perfectly capable of handling a deposition and that he could not see any possible reason that Kathleen needed a criminal lawyer. Gecker added that even if she wanted such a lawyer, Willey was broke and could not afford the fees charged by top Washington criminal lawyers. The President’s attorney offered that she wouldn’t need to worry about fees because “we will take care of that.” . . .
Gecker conveyed this to Willey. She was frightened and convinced that if she testified she would be indicted by Janet Reno’s Justice Department. She had seen how Billy Dale of the White House Travel Office had actually been indicted and tried for crimes he had not committed, reportedly because he had gotten in the way of the Clinton administration. She had seen the smears and attacks on Paula Jones. To add to her fears, she felt intimidated by events that followed.
Shortly before her Jan 10 deposition, Willey came out of her Virginia home to find all of her tires flat. Her mechanic asked, “Who the hell did you tick off? Your tires were flattened with a nail gun.” . . .
As the deposition got closer, the intimidation increased. One day her cat, Bullseye, disappeared. On Jan 8, two days before she was to testify, Willey was walking her dogs in a secluded area early in the morning. A man in a jogging suit approached her:
JOGGER: Good morning, did you ever find your cat?
WILLEY: No, we haven’t found her yet.
JOGGER: That’s too bad. Bullseye was his name, wasn’t it? . . . Did you ever get those tires fixed?
WILLEY: They’re fine. . .
JOGGER: So, ——– and ——— [Willey’s children’s first names]? . . . and our attorney, Dan, is he okay?
WILLEY: He’s fine.
JOGGER: I hope you’re getting the message.
Willey was terrified. She turned and ran. The jogger called after her, “You’re just not getting the message, are you?” . . .
The deposition began as scheduled. . . .
Gecker saw that Willey was nervous. When the Jones attorneys asked about the incident in the Oval Office, she looked terrified. Gecker asked for a short recess to consult with his client. . . .
“Kathleen, there is no turning back, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to tell the truth, the whole truth,” she answered, with tears in her eyes. She went back and answered every question put to her.
The next morning Willey stepped outside to pick up the newspaper. There on the porch, within a few feet of the front door, the skull of a small animal lay facing her. . . .
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Kathleen Willey wasn’t the only woman from President Clinton’s past with an outrageous story to tell.
A week or so after the election, Pete Wacks, Diana Woznicki, and I met with Congressman Bob Barr and Larry Klayman. Klayman is a lawyer and the leader of Judicial Watch, which had vigorously pursued Clinton scandals from Filegate to Chinagate, deposing John Huang, the mysterious employee of the Dept of Commerce and later of the Democratic National Committee. Barr thought Klayman might be able to help us. . . .
Klayman had testimony on Filegate that he thought showed clear abuse of power by the President. He was building a case on Commercegate, having uncovered evidence of a scheme by Huang to sell Commerce Dept junkets to heavy contributors to the Clinton-Gore campaign. Klayman had developed an informant close to Commerce Secretary Ron Brown who gave testimony showing a pattern of raffling off trips on federally funded trade missions. . . .
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During our investigation, we began receiving reports that one of the “Jane Does” mentioned in the Jones case was a woman who might have been assaulted by then-Arkansas Attorney General William Clinton. . . .
I asked Diana Woznicki to look into the matter.
Within a day or two, Diana reported to me about a woman in Arkansas, Juanita Broaddrick, who alleged that Clinton had raped her years earlier. A shocking story, but nothing in itself that would affect our case in the Senate.
Then Diana dropped the bomb.
“Oh, one more thing that I picked up. She was subpoenaed by the Jones lawyers. She filed an affidavit denying everything.”
Bingo! That changed the whole picture. Three questions had to be answered: Was the original assault story true? Where did she get the affidavit? And was she pressured directly or indirectly by the White House to sign a false affidavit? . . .
I sent Diana and John [Kocoras] to meet with Broaddrick and her lawyer in Arkansas. … Diana said Broaddrick appeared to be hiding something. When asked if she had executed a false affidavit in the Jones case, she acknowledged that she had. Her lawyer interrupted, saying that the affidavit wasn’t technically false, and Broaddrick retorted, “Yes, it was!”
Later, Broaddrick phoned Diana and unburdened herself for about an hour-and-a-half, telling her the full story.
I asked Diana the critical question, “Do you believe her?”
Diana, who had extensive experience helping rape victims as a Chicago cop, said definitively, “Juanita fits the pattern of the classic rape victim.”
Here is the story as told by Juanita Broaddrick to Diana Woznicki as part of our investigation:
Juanita Broaddrick met Bill Clinton in 1978, when he made a campaign stop at a nursing home that she owned. At the time, Broaddrick was a young married woman who worked in the long-term care industry … while Clinton, Arkansas’s Attorney General, was campaigning for his first term as Governor. During the visit, Clinton told Broaddrick to call him and visit his headquarters to pick up campaign materials the next time she was in Little Rock.
In the spring of that year, Broaddrick and a female friend attended a health care conference in Little Rock. She remembered Clinton’s invitation and called for an appointment . . .
Clinton called her back and suggested they meet in the hotel coffee shop to talk about his campaign. A few minutes later, he called again. He told Juanita there were reporters in the coffee shop and asked if they could meet in her room so they could talk without interruption. Broaddrick hesitated because she was alone in her room … In those days it was still considered unusual for a woman to meet a man alone in her hotel room, especially in the South.
Then she thought, “This is the Attorney General; if I can’t trust him, who can I trust?” So she agreed to the meeting.
When the Attorney General arrived, he was alone. … The two engaged in some general small talk, and Broaddrick ushered Clinton to the window, where the coffee service was laid out.
Suddenly, Clinton began kissing her, at first not forcefully. But then he threw her on the bed and kept kissing her. She struggled to get away, and as she did, he got on top of her and bit her lower lip as a way of controlling her. . . .
She kept saying no, that she didn’t want this to happen. The pain became excruciating. He forced her legs apart and raped her.
At one point in the attack, Clinton assured Juanita that there was no danger of her getting pregnant. He said, “I had mumps when I was a kid; I’m sterile.”
Finally, the ordeal appeared to be completed. Clinton rose up slightly as though he were about to withdraw. Then he said, “My God, I can do it again!” And he did.
When Clinton finally completed the assault, Broaddrick was close to collapse. She was sobbing uncontrollably, afraid of what might happen next, confused, and in a panic.
Clinton appeared unfazed. He cooly rose from the bed and went into the bathroom. All the time Juanita was afraid to move. He emerged after a few minutes and started to walk out. When he reached the door, he turned to his sobbing victim … smiled, and said, “You better do something about that lip. Get some ice on it.”
Then he put on his sunglasses and left….
* * *From No One Left to Lie To: . . . On December 10, 1998, the majority counsel of the House Judiciary Committee, David Shippers, delivered one of the most remarkable speeches ever heard in the precincts.
A leathery Chicago law ‘n order Democrat, Mr. Schippers represented the old-style, big city, blue-collar sensibility … The spirit of an earlier time, of a time before “smoking materials” had been banned from the White House, rasped from his delivery. After pedantically walking his hearers through a traditional prosecutor’s review of an incorrigible perp … Mr. Schippers paused and said:
“The President, then, has lied under oath in a civil deposition, lied under oath in a criminal grand jury. He lied to the people, he lied to the Cabinet, he lied to his top aides, and now he’s lied under oath to the Congress of the United States. There’s no one left to lie to.”
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See on the net: All Roads Lead to China; Could a Traitor Do Any Worse Than Clinton?; Tenacious Tentacles; Vince Foster; Who is Leo Wanta?; Riady or Not; Rise UP! The Crimes of Mena; Clinton Scandal Clips; China Working Group; Eleven Steps to a Global Crisis; Committee on Government Reform; Democratic Chinese Fund Raising; Tripping With Secretary Ron Brown; Questions Linger About Ron Brown; The Confidential Commerce Files; Ron Brown and the Balkans; The Buying of the President; The Clinton Stories the Media Still Won’t Cover; Whitewater and Clinton Scandals; Arkansas Justice; Big News from Arkansas
For more on the Democratic Party, GO TO > > > A Nest of Donkeys
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Last Updated on April 12, 2003 by The Catbird