("Quid coniuratio est?")
THE BUYING OF THE PRESIDENT
Here are some pieces of a puzzle for you:
So Goldman Sachs is the #1 contributor to Bill Clinton's presidential campaign. Then Robert Rubin, of Goldman Sachs, becomes Treasury Secretary. Then big money investors, likely to suffer loss consequent to the late-1994 Peso devaluation, are
rescued by Clinton/Rubin. Hmmm...... Could there be some sort of deal going on here? Hmmm........
Author Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity (http://www.essential.org/cpi) was Brian Lamb's guest on a segment broadcast by C-Span on January 12, 1996. In his new book, Lewis has profiled about a dozen presidential candidates: Clinton, Gore and the announced (prior to September 15, 1995) Republicans. There is also a "wild card" chapter, giving background on five candidates of whom there was speculation that they would run for president.
Host Brian Lamb of C-Span asked Lewis what he meant by documenting, in his book, what he referred to as the "Top Ten Career Patrons" of each candidate; why call them "career patrons"? Lewis replied, "I think we too frequently look at a snapshot... We don't look at the pattern. Virtually everyone running for president has been a 'player' on the national scene for ten, twenty, or more years... And so there are groups, interest groups -- business, labor, and other groups -- that have been around these candidates. And so when you elect the candidates, you're getting these 'patrons' as I would call them."
An analogy might be that it's as if the various candidates are "prize fighters", backed by wealthy interests watching from the shadows. And sometimes, just as in the world of prize fights and gamblers, those laying down the cash will hedge their bets. At position number 5 in Clinton's list of career patrons is Gallo Wine in Modesto, California. For Bob Dole, his number 1 career patron is Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery, Modesto, California.
"I assume they are the same?" asked Lamb.
"Right," answered Lewis.
"Are they getting something for their money?"
"To me, there's no question about it."
Remember, we're talking about career patrons here. So for Senator Dole, this means that Gallo has been funding him for a long time, presumably when he represented just his state of Kansas as senator. So why does Gallo, from California, pay to help elect Senator Dole, from Kansas? Says Lewis: "There are several legislative examples of how Dole helped Gallo. And we calculated that Gallo made over $100 million from legislative measures that Dole was involved in."
A caller from Dayton, Ohio asked, "What about foreign contributors to campaigns?" George Bush, she claimed, helped Croatia in its push for independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Did this in turn help de-stabilize Yugoslavia so that American boys and girls now risk death and injury in the region? "Do you have there what foreign countries contributed to candidates?"
According to Mr. Lewis, "Foreign governments and foreign corporations... I believe it is illegal for them to make direct contributions to candidates. However what happens is the U.S. subsidiaries will frequently make these contributions... The Center for Public Integrity has done a lot of research over the years about foreign lobbying. We've identified a lot of lobbying firms and law firms doing all kinds of things. We're the ones that came out with the study that half the trade officials from the White House, over a 20-year period, went to work for the people that we are negotiating against. This information was used by Perot, Clinton and others in the '92 election."
Mr. Lamb then wondered about a recent article in Roll Call, which "had a story yesterday which said that under the new law over here, about disclosure and all, and what gifts you can give, that the lobbyists have figured out a way around it with the staff. And there's a big travel thing with the people that work on the staffs of these committees. And the way they get around it is, the industry gives money to a tax-free foundation, and then the tax-free foundation sponsors the trips for several staff members to go overseas on a trip in which the lobbyists join them on that trip."
Sighed Lamb: "Is there any way this will ever stop?"
"If there's a loophole like that, it needs to be closed," answered Lewis.
"How are you gonna close it?"
"Well... I don't know the answer to that off the top of my head," was the response. Mr. Lewis could only offer that we've just got to basically keep trying.
Lamb then inquired of Lewis if he had "ever studied the townhouses that exist behind the Capitol, where all the lobbyists have their 'hideaways?'"
Said Lewis: "I haven't studied it. But I certainly have walked past them."
"Is there a story there?"
"There probably is. It would really be fun to just lay out who lives in each one of them and what they're all about."
Lamb amplified that the notorious townhouses were "for fund- raisers and special dinners. And Members go there. They're off- limits, they're off-the-record."
"It would be nice to know who goes there, on a daily basis," responded Lewis. "The problem is, the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to Congress. We can't ever find out where these guys go. We can't find out how they fill up their hours in the day. We can't find out who they meet with."
"Interesting that they're the ones that wrote the law," he added.
Also on Clinton's list of top ten career patrons is, at number 2, something called Voice of Teachers for Education. (Could this have anything to do with why he does not support school vouchers that would offer poor families a choice as to what school their children attend?) We also find, further down the list at about the middle, that the President's major group of funders, occupying several positions, turns out to be lawyers and lobbyists. "His biggest source of income [is] trial lawyers, but also big lobbying and law firms -- which is frustrating, because we don't know who they all represent and who their clients are," complained Lewis.
Names of contributors flashed by, but I believe I did indeed see the name "Jackson Stephens" as being among the top-ten career patrons for both Clinton and Dole.
Another interesting tidbit, mentioned only in passing, was that James Lake(sp?), who worked for the Bush presidential campaign, also worked for the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
Does Lewis get discouraged? "I get frustrated, like anybody else. This is a pretty bleak situation here in Washington. But I also know that somebody's got to do something... And I feel we are getting information out to the people. And I think we're getting better at it."
I encourage distribution of "Conspiracy Nation."
See also: http://www.europa.com/~johnlf/cn.html
See also: ftp ftp.shout.net pub/users/bigred