|(Soft) Money talks.|
The Internet can be a wonderful thing. It used to be that when a news story broke without a lot of context, it was difficult to get the right sort of background and context to be able to understand the implications of the story. In fact, if there was a somewhat related story days, weeks or years before, you'd have to remember it and link the two points together - a pretty rare feat for most of us. But that is not necessary any longer with the availability of information via the Internet. Case in point - socialite Denise Rich. Wait, who? It turns out she's an Obama donor and tied to less than upstanding goings-on.
Lets connect a few dots and then try understand what it means. Last week there was a story about socialite Denise Rich renouncing her U.S. citizenship. Dot #1.
(Reuters) - Denise Rich, the wealthy socialite and former wife of pardoned billionaire trader Marc Rich, has given up her U.S. citizenship - and, with it, much of her U.S. tax bill.Rich, 68, a Grammy-nominated songwriter and glossy figure in Democratic and European royalty circles, renounced her American passport in November, according to her lawyer.Her maiden name, Denise Eisenberg, appeared in the Federal Register on April 30 in a quarterly list of Americans who renounced their U.S. citizenship and permanent residents who handed in their green cards.By dumping her U.S. passport, Rich likely will save tens of millions of dollars or more in U.S. taxes over the long haul, tax lawyers say.
Marc Rich was pardoned by president Bill Clinton. Ironically, the World Socialist Website (thank you Internet) back in 2001 had a summary of what the crime and pardon entailed. Dot #2.
There is little dispute about the basic facts of the case. The Belgian-born Rich, who became a multimillionaire commodities trader in the 1960s, fled the United States in 1983 after he was indicted on charges of tax evasion related to his oil-trading business, as well as violating the US ban on trade with Iran. Rich-owned companies paid $200 million in penalties for the tax charges...Over the past 17 years, Rich has grown even wealthier in exile, with especially lucrative ventures in the former Soviet Union, Iraq, Nigeria and South Africa. He renounced his US citizenship, and now holds Swiss, Spanish and Israeli citizenship...For years Rich sought a settlement of his legal problems in the United States, but US prosecutors, beginning with Rudolph Giuliani, now the mayor of New York City, always refused to negotiate with a fugitive, while Rich refused to return without assurances that he would not receive a prison term.Rich's money has now bought him a pardon in the United States. Direct bribery was unnecessary...Rich hired a top Democratic lawyer, Jack Quinn, to give him direct access to Clinton.Quinn was White House counsel in 1993-94, and remained close to both Clinton and Gore.
Bill Clinton ultimately pardoned Marc Rich in the last days of his presidency. An interesting side note, the Deputy Attorney General at the time for Clinton, was one Eric Holder. It came up as an issue during the Holder confirmation hearings. Even the New York Times in 2008 questioned the merits of the pardon and Eric Holder's role in it. Dot #3.
...his pardon is a subject of discussion again because Eric Holder, Mr. Clinton’s deputy attorney general at the time and a key figure in the clemency process, is reported to be Barack Obama’s choice for attorney general. In the years since the Rich pardon, Mr. Holder has said he “never devoted a great deal of time to this matter.” He also told an interviewer that, in hindsight, he wished that the Justice Department had been “more fully informed” about the case. As someone who helped cover the story for The Washington Post, I think the issue is far more complicated and deserves more scrutiny if Mr. Holder is to become our top law-enforcement official....Clemency, wrote Secretary of War James McHenry, should be exercised only with “great caution and on the fullest information.”Mr. Holder never came close to meeting that standard. He had the last word at Justice on clemency petitions and he saw to it that he had the only word. He brokered one of the most unjustifiable pardons that an American president has ever granted.
Coupled with the Fast and Furious scandal enveloping Mr. Holder, it paints Mr. Holder as having either a pattern of poor oversight, or a pattern of deception.
Flash back to Denise Rich. She has donated quite a bit to Democratic candidates in particular, the Clintons. Dot #4.
Buying a $1 million "get out of jail free" card isn't quite the same as throwing a World Series, which is what Gatsby's shadowy mentor was accused of, but Denise does get major chutzpah points. If published accounts are true, she was staying at the White House on Clinton's last night in office when her ex-husband's pardon was presented and signed. A successful singer and songwriter in her own right, Denise then declined to sing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pleading the Fifth Amendment.
And now, she's leaving her citizenship behind in order to escape taxes, hot on the heels of Eduardo Saverin, Facebook billionaire, doing the same thing. That would be Dot #5.
What to make of all that? Let me sum up quickly:
- Denise Rich donated money to the Clintons
- Her husband (at the time) got a pardon from President Clinton
- Eric Holder was complicit or at the very least looked the other way
- Now Denise Rich is one of the latest in an exodus from the United States to save on taxes
- Meanwhile president Obama continues to excoriate Mitt Romney for supposedly offshoring jobs while his party and his policies, are offshoring wealth, ans wealthy citizens
Here's my conclusion of what is acceptable in America from a liberal perspective. It's okay for the rich to leave America, it's also okay for jobs to leave because it gives liberals something to blame on Republicans. It's okay to pardon wealthy donors. It's not okay for Republicans or the people of the country to question any of it. There are two sets of rules - one for those with power and/or money, and one for the little people.
It amazes me that Democrats continue to get away with painting a picture that Republicans don't care about the middle class and Democrats are the protectors of the middle class. Clearly the Democrats have disdain for the middle class. They only care about protecting what they themselves have. They are the party of the wealthy, unscrupulous elite, and they have duped half the country into seeing things completely backwards.
The other notable conclusion is that this abandoning of America is happening at an accelerated rate under this president. Is the game over already and most people just don't realize it yet?