« | »

Mother Jones Reporter Can’t Believe McAuliffe Won

From the radical left Mother Jones:

I Can’t Believe Terry McAuliffe Is Going to Be Governor of Virginia

No experience in office? Check. Sketchy business partners? Check. Media manipulation? Check.

By Stephanie Mencimer | November 5, 2013

Terry McAuliffe and I go way back. I first started writing about him in 1997, when Mother Jones assigned me to look into a lawsuit in DC Superior Court in which McAuliffe, the Democrats’ super-fundraiser, was being sued by some of his business associates…

Nonetheless, the time I spent covering McAuliffe… has left me dumbfounded that he (according to the polls) is poised to become the next governor of Virginia…

McAuliffe represents an unseemly slice of Washington. His primary role in politics for the past two decades or more has been raising money—most notably, for the Clintons. He cooked up the idea of essentially renting out the Lincoln bedroom during the Clinton administration as a fundraising vehicle, and he smashed all previous presidential fundraising records in the process. When McAuliffe was the Dems’ top fundraiser, a campaign finance scandal besieged the Clinton White House. Coincidence? No. McAuliffe was all about pushing the envelope when it came to the political money chase.

That alone might not be enough to render him a distasteful political candidate. What’s different about McAuliffe is his brazen mixing of his campaign fundraising activity and attempts to enrich himself personally. Many of McAuliffe’s business deals have come about due to his place in the political cosmos, not because he possesses a wealth of business skill. That tangled history has linked him to a long list of unsavory characters.

Let’s take a look at some of his business associates over the years.

She goes on to list some of McAuliffe’s extremely shady friends and shady dealings, which we have heavily excerpted.

Richard Swann: Swann is McAuliffe’s father-in-law, and his story starts back in 1980, when Swann helped found American Pioneer Savings and Loan in Florida. Ten years later, federal regulators seized the thrift, which was drowning in bad loans and foreclosed real estate. The bailout cost taxpayers more than $500 million… McAuliffe, though, walked away with $2.4 million after the pension fund bought him out…

Gary Winnick: Winnick was the founder of Global Crossing, a fiber optic company that earned McAuliffe $8 million on an initial investment of $100,000—a deal he accessed because he was working as a consultant to Winnick before the company went public. Winnick had been an acolyte of junk bond king Michael Milken before starting Global Crossing…

Anthony Rodham: When McAuliffe in 2009 created GreenTech, a now-troubled electric-car company, he turned to an old pal for assistance in courting foreign investors: Tony Rodham, who is best known as one of Hillary Clinton’s embarrassing brothers. A former repo man, prison guard, and private eye…. Now, the car company (McAuliffe resigned from the firm to run for governor) and Rodham’s visa operation are under investigation by the SEC.

Joseph Caramadre: Caramadre is a Rhode Island estate planner who pleaded guilty to scamming terminally ill people by stealing their identities and buying annuities in their names. When they died, Caramadre and his investors could cash in. McAuliffe invested $33,000 in this scheme in 2006 and netted $47,000 in return. Caramadre also was a big donor and fundraiser for McAuliffe’s first run for governor in 2009, giving $27,000 to McAuliffe’s campaign.

During this most recent governor’s campaign, Bob Lewis, a veteran AP reporter, was fired for reporting inaccurately on this episode, and the matter evaporated as a campaign issue.

And never mind that the AP report in question doesn’t seem to have been all that inaccurate.

The list of McAuliffe’s questionable business dealings goes on. But he has used his substantial influence to try to minimize the news coverage of his various wheeling-and-dealing. In 1996, the New York Daily News fired reporter David Eisenstadt after he wrote an unfavorable story about McAuliffe potentially having connections to notorious fundraiser John Huang, who in 1999 pleaded guilty to felony charges for arranging more than $150,000 in illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic Party. McAuliffe later gloated to the Washington Post about having called paper owner Mort Zuckerman to get Eisenstadt canned.

I learned about McAuliffe’s dark side firsthand while trying to report on his business deals. He sicced his lawyer, Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste, on me early on in the process. And when the Washington Post hired me to continue working on McAuliffe stories, he continued to threaten my editors with veiled libel threats.

He even came in for a meeting with Len Downie, then the paper’s executive editor. It was eerie how much he knew about what I was doing at the paper. It turned out that McAuliffe was a good source for some of my colleagues, and they were feeding him information that he was using to try to kill the investigation. It was a classic example of McAuliffe playing the inside game, a skill that has helped him survive this long in politics despite questionable financial dealings and now, perhaps, has helped him get elected to an important and high-profile political job.

Of course, none of this matters. Terry McAuliffe is being hailed as a wonderful pragmatic hero. He isn’t dangerous like those radical Tea Party types who want to cut government spending.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, November 7th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Mother Jones Reporter Can’t Believe McAuliffe Won”

  1. Well, no **it , Sherlock ..




« Front Page | To Top
« | »