Thursday, September 16, 2010

Covert Finances: Rewards for Politicians

It is difficult to nail down how CIA and Pentagon money is routed to politicians, but we know it happens. Not long ago, a senior CIA official resigned in part because he was present at parties where politicians were entertained by prosatitutes. A contractor who helped sponsor the parties was getting money from the CIA and Pentagon and was routing some of it back to Republicans. The scandal was not thoroughly investigated and the California US Attorney who was pursuing the matter was unceremoniously fired. Then her investigative team was dismantled.

John Meier, a Howard Hughes assistant, has written about how the C.I.A. asked Hughes to make contributions to its favorite politicians, among whom were Wallace Bennett, John Tower, James Eastland, Gerald Ford, and Strom Thurmond. Here is the list that appeared in Playboy.

Paul J. Fannin, Arizona
Wilbur D. Mills, Arkansas
Craig Hosmer, California
Robert L. Leggett, California
Gordon L. Allott, Colorado
J. Herbert Burke, Florida
Hiram L. Fong, Hawaii
Larry Winn, Jr., Kansas
Joe D. Waggonner, Jr., Louisiana
Gerald R. Ford, Michigan
James 0. Eastland, Mississippi
William J. Randall, Missouri
Paul Laxalt, Nevada
Howard W. Cannon, Nevada
Norris Cotton, New Hampshire
James R. Grover, New York
William H. Harsha, Ohio
Frank T. Bow, Ohio
John N. Camp, Oklahoma
Strom Thurmond, South Carolina
Dan H. Kuykendall, Tennessee
James H. Quillen, Tennessee
James M. Collins, Texas
Olin E. Teague, Texas
Omar Burleson, Texas
Abraham Kazen, Texas
John G. Tower, Texas
Wallace F. Bennett, Utah
W. C. Daniel, Virginia
Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia
Vernon W. Thomson, Wisconsin

Al Martin, a former intelligence operative who specialized in financial operations, wrote that intelligence operatives routinely made payments to Republican office holders in the states where they operated and to Republicans in Congress. He thought that a few Democrats were involved supporting illegal operations in Central America. He mentioned Senators Bumpers and Prior, but he did not say whether they received pay-offs. Martin said he made payments to the dentist husband of the governor of Kentucky and to an aid to Illinois Governor Jim Thompson. He thought Texas Senator John Tower was paid through his involvement in Houston Energy Partners, which was run by James Baker III. Tower later headed the Tower Commission , which looked into the Iran-Contra scandal. When Tower mysteriously died in a plane crash, Department of Defense agents arrived at the scene before the FAA people removed Tower’s metal briefcase briefcase. Tower’s daughter Penny had copies of some of his files and leaked a bit of information to the Atlanta Constitution. She then gave her papers to someone in government and her $85,000 mortgage was paid off. The check came from a corporation in the Netherland Antilles.

At a 1995 White House press briefing, Sarah Mc Clendon asked press secretary Mike Mc Curry if President Clinton was going to do anything about drug money being funnelled into both parties. She said that Vice President Albert Gore learned about it and demanded that Clinton do something to stop it. Clinton did not know this was going on. McCurry dismissed her question with “That sounds like the plot of a very good novel," but she insisted it was the truth. McCurry promised to report back but he never again addrerssed the subject.

People involved in the efforts to raise money for the contras called their operation “The Enterprise” or “The Cause.” They were intensely committed to what they were doing. Over time, however, it seems they thought that funneling money to Newt Gingrich’s GOPAC or other Republican entity was as important as helping the Contras. It was expected that some of the money raised through various government-protected fraud be channeled to the party. However, there is no evidence that money from drug running went to the party. . Martin described how he mad $135, 000 using government created shell corporations to participate in taking down a financial corporation. In this instance he was permitted to keep half the proceeds if he gave the rest to Republican organizations.

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