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Hillary Campaign Got $30,000 From Cult

From the inimitable New York Post:




October 1, 2007 — A purported pyramid-scheme operator who was run out of Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor has reinvented himself as the head of an upstate group accused of being a “cult” – and his devotees have pumped thousands into Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential run.

Executives and top associates of the Albany-based NXIVM group – along with their family members – donated $29,900 to Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to federal records.

On March 14 and April 13, records show, more than a dozen contributions poured into Clinton’s coffers from NXIVM, an executive and group-awareness training organization led by Brooklyn-born Keith Raniere, 47.

Most were from first-time political donors, each giving the $2,300 maximum

In his previous incarnation, the Svengali-like Raniere ran a $30 million multilevel marketing business that imploded after federal agencies and regulators in 23 states alleged it was an illegal pyramid scheme.

He has managed to attract famous names to NXIVM.

Three of the March and April Clinton pledges came from Raniere’s most high-profile followers: Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman, and Pamela Cafritz, daughter of D.C. A-listers Buffy and Bill Cafritz.

Cafritz shares a condo with Raniere.

The Bronfman sisters are also deeply involved with NXIVM and, according to a 2003 article in Forbes magazine, have loaned millions to the group and provided use of their jet.

Their father, Edgar Bronfman Sr., once took NXIVM classes but soon severed ties, telling Forbes, “It’s a cult.”

Hillary isn’t the only Clinton NXIVM officials are attracted to.

At least three of them – group President Nancy Salzman and the Bronfman sisters – are members of Bill’s charitable organization, the Clinton Global Initiative. Membership is by invitation only and requires at least a $15,000 donation per person for one year

In the 1990s, several states investigated the Raniere-run Consumer Buyline Inc., a marketing firm in which members were paid commissions for recruiting new members.

A 1992 Arkansas lawsuit filed by Bill Clinton’s then-attorney general, Winston Bryant, charged Raniere, Cafritz and two others with fraud and business deception. Soon after, then-New York AG Robert Abrams sued CBI, branding it “illegal.”

Raniere didn’t admit wrongdoing, but agreed to pay hefty fines in both states.

After closing the Albany-based CBI, he became involved in a health-food and vitamin venture that led him to Salzman. Sharing a passion for motivational training, the pair launched NXIVM.

At NXIVM – according to court papers, cult watchdogs and relatives of members – Raniere has defrauded devotees, shattered families and drove at least one person to suicide.

After four months attending NXIVM’s expensive, “intensive” studies, Alaska resident Kristin Marie Snyder grew angry, depressed and irrational.

In winter 2003, she disappeared. Her family believes she drowned herself. Her body was not recovered. Snyder was last seen leaving a NXIVM course, and police released a note she left behind.

“I was brainwashed and my emotional center of the brain was killed/turned off,” Snyder scrawled in a spiral notebook.

(The photo above is that of an unidentified NXIVM member.)

Of course the Seagrams whisky-rich Bronfman family have been very generous supporters of the Democrat party for a long time. (The results from a search on the family via FEC individual contributions search extends to several pages.)

For which they have been awarded in many ways over the years:

President Bill Clinton awards Edgar Bronfman  the Medal of Freedom at the White House August 11 as former President Gerald Ford and first lady Hillary Clinton look on.

Indeed, Mr. Bronfman was instrumental in the funding of John Kerry, his pals in the Vietnam Veterans For Peace and much else of the anti-Vietnam war movement.

So this operation must be pretty crazy for him to keep away.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 1st, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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