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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Manafort, Lobbyist for Dictators

From Meet the Press:
CHUCK TODD: What is fair game to win a delegate? Is threatening a fair game? Is threats a fair game?
PAUL MANAFORT: It's not my style, and it's not Donald Trump's style.
CHUCK TODD: What is --
PAUL MANAFORT: But it is Ted Cruz's style. And that's going to wear thin very fast.
CHUCK TODD: Do you think he's threatening delegates?
PAUL MANAFORT: Well, he's threatening, you go to these county conventions, and you see the tactics, Gestapo tactics, the scorched-earth tactics--
CHUCK TODD: Gestapo tactics? That's a strong word.
PAUL MANAFORT: Well, you look at, we're going to be filing several protests because reality is, you know, they are not playing by the rules. But frankly, that's the side game. Because the only game I'm focusing on right now is getting delegates. And the games that have happened, even this past weekend, you know, are not important to the long-term game of how do we get to 1,237.
Having worked for brutal dictators, Manafort is actually familiar with real Gestapo tactics.

On September 25, 1989, Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta reported at The Washington Post:
The opportunist president of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko, is on a public relations binge in the United States. He thinks that if he can put a veneer on his vices, the United States will keep giving him money.
But for someone who wants to clean up his image, Mobutu has chosen an odd PR team. He has been hobnobbing with a face from the past -- Tongsun Park, the central figure in the "Koreagate" congressional bribery scandal of 1976. And he has hired the premier Washington lobbying firm of the present -- Black Manafort Stone & Kelly, implicated in the Housing and Urban Development Department scandal.
Mobutu may not have gravitated to the allies with the cleanest records, but he sure knows how to pick people who can peddle their influence.
Before Park faded mercifully into obscurity in 1979, he admitted to giving American politicians nearly $1 million in campaign contributions to influence U.S. policy in South Korea. He escaped prosecution on bribery charges by ratting on the congressmen who took his gifts.
Black Manafort counts some of the heaviest hitters in politics among its clientele, including President Bush and HUD Secretary Jack Kemp. The firm is so hot in Washington that even being roped into the HUD scandal has not slowed business. Paul Manafort, a partner in the firm, admitted to "influence peddling" to win HUD contracts for his clients, including a housing project in New Jersey that local officials called "a horrible waste of taxpayers' money." Since Manafort's admission of influence peddling, new clients have been beating down the firm's door.