P R O G R E S S I V E  R E V I E W    





WALL STREET JOURNAL - While Mr. Obama's camp is working to give heft to a freshman senator just three years removed from the Illinois state legislature, Mrs. Clinton considers her foreign views largely set -- one reason why she has such a small squad of advisers. The core of her team includes several staunch loyalists from her husband's time in power, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former United Nations ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and Samuel "Sandy" Berger, who succeeded Mr. Lake as national security adviser during Mr. Clinton's second term.

WIKIPEDIA - In April 2005, Berger plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material from the National Archives in Washington. According to the lead prosecutor in the case Berger only took copies of classified information and that no original material was destroyed, however there is notable controversy and speculation that he might have removed or destroyed originals of other unknown documents as well.

ONE SPECULATION IS THAT Berger took a copy of a Clinton administration report on bin Ladin that may have contained embarrassing notations by the president.


MIKE MCINTIRE, NY TIMES, APRIL 2008 - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton released tax data Friday showing they earned $109 million over the last eight years, an ascent into the uppermost tier of American taxpayers that seemed unimaginable in 2001, when they left the White House with little money and facing millions in legal bills. . .

Since Mrs. Clinton announced her campaign for president, controversies involving her husband's business and philanthropic endeavors have occasionally raised questions about the potential for ethical conflicts should she win the White House. Among them is Mr. Clinton's partnership with Ronald W. Burkle, the billionaire investor and supermarket magnate, whose deals have included investing money for the government of Dubai and acquiring a stake in a Chinese media company.

Mr. Clinton had previously not disclosed what he earned from that partnership, but the tax returns show he collected at least $12.6 million since 2002, and possibly as much as $15.3 million, from his work as an adviser and rainmaker for Mr. Burkle's Yucaipa Companies.

Since 2002, the former president has provided investment advice and helped drum up business for several domestic and foreign funds in Yucaipa's portfolio, one of two consulting arrangements he entered into after leaving office. Representatives of the Clintons have said that Mr. Clinton has made arrangements to dissolve his Yucaipa partnership if his wife wins the nomination, to avoid possible ethical conflicts.


DON VAN NATTA JR, NY TIMES, 1997 - Jose Cabrera, a drug smuggler who has emerged as one of the most notorious supporters of President Clinton's re-election campaign, was asked for a campaign contribution in the unlikely locale of a hotel in Havana by a prominent Democratic fund-raiser, congressional investigators have learned. . . On his return to the United States several days after that meeting, in November 1995, Cabrera wrote a check for $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee from an account that included the proceeds from smuggling cocaine from Colombia to the United States, said the investigators, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Within two weeks of the contribution, Cabrera met Gore at the dinner in Miami. Ten days later, Cabrera attended a Christmas reception at the White House hosted by Hillary Rodham Clinton. At the events, Gore and Mrs. Clinton posed for photographs with Cabrera, who has two felony convictions dating from the 1980s and is now in a prison here on a drug-smuggling conviction. . .

A Cuban-born American, Cabrera was arrested two times on serious drug charges in the 1980s. Both times he pleaded guilty to non-drug felony charges. In 1983, he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for conspiring to bribe a grand jury witness and served 42 months in prison. In 1988, he pleaded guilty to filing a false income-tax return and served one year in prison. After his brief brush with presidential politics, Cabrera was arrested in January 1996 inside a cigar warehouse near here in Dade County, where more than 500 pounds of cocaine had been hidden. He and several accomplices were charged with having smuggled 3,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States through the Keys. . . In January, Cabrera received an invitation to Clinton's inauguration.

NY POST, 2000 - Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign returned $22,000 in "soft money" to a businesswoman linked to a Democratic campaign contribution from a drug smuggler in Havana. The donation by Vivian Mannerud Verble, first reported by The Post, was the largest single contribution received by Clinton's soft-money committee. Verble, whose company runs charter flights between Cuba and Miami, also served as the fund-raising intermediary between Jorge Cabrera and the Democratic National Committee in 1995, according to congressional investigators. The probers reportedly learned that Cabrera cut a $20,000 check to the DNC from a bank account in which he also kept profits from his lucrative cocaine trade. The DNC eventually returned the money, while Cabrera pleaded guilty to importing 6,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States. He is serving a 19-year federal prison sentence in Florida . . . Although Verble was never charged with any criminal wrongdoing, she was at the center of one of the most embarrassing fund-raising scandals in the Clinton administration..


CNN, MARCH 1998 - Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung has agreed to plead guilty to election law violations and cooperate in the ongoing Justice Department investigation into illegal campaign fund-raising in the 1996 elections. . . Chung became a major figure in the Democratic fund-raising scandal when it was learned he made almost 50 visits to the White House. During one visit, Chung gave first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's then-chief of staff, Maggie Williams, a $50,000 check for the Democratic National Committee. The check was delivered inside the White House. Two days later Chung was able to bring a group of Chinese businessmen to watch President Bill Clinton deliver a radio address in the Oval Office. They then had their picture taken with the president. The DNC returned more than $300,000 that Chung raised because of questions about the source of the money.

WIKIPEDIA - Between 1994 and 1996, Chung donated $366,000 to the Democratic National Committee. Eventually, all of the money was returned. Chung told federal investigators that $35,000 of the money he donated came from China's military intelligence. . .

Chung later testified under oath to the U.S. House Committee in May 1999 that he was introduced to Chinese Gen. Ji Shengde, then head of Chinese military intelligence, by Liu Chaoying. Chung said that Ji told him: "We like your president very much. We would like to see him reelect. I will give you 300,000 U.S. dollars. You can give it to the president and the Democrat Party." Both Liu and the Chinese government denied the claims.

Chung was eventually convicted of bank fraud, tax evasion, and two misdemeanor counts of conspiring to violate election law.

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - There's been a lot of talk about photos of Jack Abramoff and George Bush, but Hillary Clinton has her own photo problems. For example, there's the photo of Bill and her standing next to illegal fundraiser Johnny Chung signed by HRC, "To Johnny Chung with best wishes and appreciation." Chung reportedly funneled several hundred thousand dollars from Chinese military intelligence to Bill Clinton's 1996 campaign. As Chung put it once, "I see the White House is like a subway -- you have to put in coins to open the gates."


MOTHER JONES - The New York Times reports that Bill Clinton went to the Kazakhstani president and vouched for a Canadian businessman named Giustra seeking inroads into Kazakhstan's uranium mining business. In a simple quid pro quo, Giustra later made a massive donation to Clinton's charitable foundation. The monster deal [that Giustra signed with Kazakhstan] stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world's largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said. Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton's charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra's more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton's inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.



SARAH BAXTER, TIMES, UK, 2007 - The frontrunner for the Democrats in the 2008 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, has been hit by a legal dispute in which one of her fundraisers is accused of trying to "ingratiate" himself with powerful friends at the expense of his company. The row has revived accusations of the influence peddling and favors for donors that marred Bill Clinton's presidency in the 1990s.

For years the Clintons flew on Vinod Gupta's corporate plane, introduced him to world leaders - including Tony Blair - and received donations for their political campaigns and charitable foundations. They relaxed at his holiday home in Hawaii - next door to Pierce Brosnan, the former James Bond star - and jetted to Acapulco, the Mexican resort, while Gupta once spent the night as a favored guest in the Lincoln bedroom at the White House. . .

The lawsuit, by company shareholders, accuses Gupta of squandering millions of dollars on his high-profile friends, including $900,000 worth of travel on the Clintons.


PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - In 1994 John Huang quits the Lippo Group -- with a golden parachute of around $800,000 -- and goes to work for the Commerce Department. Some believe the move is instigated by his friend, Hillary Clinton. The Indonesia-based Lippo Group was headed by Mochtar Riady, a central character in the Clinton scandals.

Commerce Secretary Ron Brown ordered a top secret clearance for Huang. While at Commerce, Huang visits the White House about 70 times, is briefed 37 times by the CIA, views about 500 intelligence reports, and makes 281 calls to Lippo banks. In 1999 Huang was sentenced for campaign finance violations.


WIKIPEDIA - Norman Yung Yuen Hsu[1] (pronounced "shoo") is an American businessman in the apparel industry and a major donor to the Democratic Party and Democratic causes. Hsu came to prominence after suspicious patterns of bundled contributions were reported in 2007. . .

Starting in 1989, Hsu raised $1 million from investors to launch a latex glove business. Some of these partners invested their life savings or mortgaged their homes, and some sued Hsu when it appeared their money was lost. In 1990, Hsu, then living in Foster City, California, declared a bankruptcy, stating that he was practically destitute, with no job, no income, and few possessions other than an SUV and a ring. That same year, he was also divorced[2] as well as allegedly kidnapped by San Francisco Triad society gang leader Raymond Chow.

In 1991, California authorities brought fraud charges against him, describing his operation as a Ponzi scheme. Specifically, authorities claimed Hsu had not engaged in any legitimate business activity, but instead was using funds from later investors to pay returns to earlier ones. In February 1992 Hsu plead no contest to one count of grand theft and agreed to serve up to three years in prison and pay a $10,000 fine. Hsu subsequently failed to appear at the sentencing hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Starting in 2003, Hsu began contributing to, and collecting contributions for, the Democratic Party, although he did not join the party and was not registered to vote.[ He also donated to causes such as the Innocence Project and Clinton Global Initiative. . . By 2007, Hsu's status within Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign had risen to the level where he was a "HillRaiser," someone who had "bundled" more than $100,000 for her campaign, and to where he co-hosted a $1 million fundraiser at wealthy Democratic Party supporter Ron Burkle's Beverly Hills estate, and in September, he was scheduled to co-host a major gala fundraising event featuring music legend Quincy Jones.[15]

LA TIMES, 2007 - Confronted with the possibility that disgraced fundraiser Norman Hsu might be running an illicit investment scheme, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign announced late Monday that it was returning $850,000 from 260 donors associated with Hsu. The amount is one of the largest ever returned by a single candidate, and the action marked a sharp turn for the Clinton campaign.


SUSAN SCHMIDT, WASH POST, 1998 - Independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr yesterday secured a new federal indictment of Webster L. Hubbell, alleging that the former top Justice Department official lied to Congress and federal banking regulators to conceal work that he, Hillary Rodham Clinton and their law firm did in the mid-1980s for a rogue savings and loan.

The 15-count indictment alleges that Hubbell covered up the Rose Law Firm's involvement in a phony multimillion-dollar land deal that caused losses big enough to bankrupt Madison Guaranty S&L, the thrift owned by the late James B. McDougal, the Clintons' Whitewater business partner. Hillary Clinton's legal work for Madison in the mid-1980s is referred to throughout the indictment but she is accused of no wrongdoing. . . Hubbell pleaded guilty in 1994 to charges lodged by the independent counsel that he bilked Rose Law Firm clients and partners. . .

While Hillary Clinton's name is not mentioned in the indictment, her actions are described, albeit obliquely. She is mentioned some 35 times throughout the indictment, but only as Rose's "1985-86 billing partner" for the Madison account. The document describes some of her work on Madison's ill-fated Castle Grande project, an 1,100-acre industrial and trailer park development south of Little Rock.

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - Also in 1994, Webster Hubbell is convicted of tax evasion and mail fraud involving the theft of nearly a half million dollars from his partners at the Rose firm and failing to pay nearly $150,000 in taxes. After quitting the Justice Department and before going to jail, Hubbell is a busy man. He meets with Hillary Clinton, and follows up by getting together with major scandal figures John Huang, James Riady, and Ng Lapseng. Riady and Huang go to the White House every day from June 21 to June 25, 1994 according to White House records. Hubbell had breakfast and lunch with Riady on June 23. Four days later -- and one week after Hubbell's meeting with Hillary -- the Hong Kong Chinese Bank, jointly owed by Lippo and the Chinese intelligence services, sends $100,000 to Hubbell.


NY POST, MARCH 2007 - A Pakistani immigrant is wanted by federal authorities on charges he channeled $30,000 in illegal contributions to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential war chest. The FBI is hunting Los Angeles businessman Abdul Rehman Jinnah, who vanished soon after his grand-jury indictment for violating federal election laws last May. Clinton's camp has denied any knowledge of Jinnah's scheme, which is also alleged to have funneled more than $50,000 in illegal donations to the political action committees of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

Jinnah, 56, a cellphone and frozen-yogurt businessman, allegedly collected campaign donations from family members, friends and employees at fake fund-raising events - then reimbursed them. The scam allowed him to evade the $2,000 limit on individual contributions to candidates, the feds say.

FBI, 2007 - Abdul Rehman Jinnah is wanted for the alleged violation of United States federal election laws. Between June 2004 and February 2005, Jinnah allegedly solicited employees, family members, and business contacts to provide campaign contributions to several United States federal and state politicians. Jinnah then allegedly reimbursed the contributors with corporate monies from his own business. On May 18, 2006, a federal arrest warrant was issued by the United States District Court, Central District of California, after Jinnah was charged with illegal campaign contributions and conspiracy.


PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - Here's what the New York Times reported on March 17, 1992: "Hillary Clinton said today that she did not earn 'a penny' from state business conducted by her Little Rock law firm and that she never intervened with state regulators on behalf of a failed Arkansas savings and loan association. . . "

Records would show that she did, in fact, represent Madison before the state securities department. After the revelation, she says, "For goodness sakes, you can't be a lawyer if you don't represent banks." Susan McDougal recalled Ms. Clinton coming in and drumming up the business. Ms. McDougal told the Washington Post: "The problem was finances, her finances." The Washington Times quoted an unnamed Clinton business associate who claimed the governor used to "jog over to McDougal's office about once a month to pick up the [retainer] check for his wife."

Jim McDougal's version of the story, according to the LA Times, was that Clinton asked him to throw some legal work his wife's way to help the Clintons out of a financial crunch: "I hired Hillary because Bill came in whimpering that they needed help."

Hillary Clinton wrote Jim McDougal enclosing a power of attorney for him to sign "authorizing me to act on your behalf with respect to matters concerning Whitewater Development Corporation." Another power of attorney was enclosed for Susan McDougal. The power of attorney included the right to endorse, sign and execute "checks, notes, deeds, agreements, certificates, receipts or any other instruments in writing of all matters related to Whitewater Development Corporation."

This letter, uncovered in 1993 by Jerry Seper of the Washington Times, directly contradicted the claim of the Clintons that they were "passive shareholders" in Whitewater.

WIKIPEDIA - On April 14, 1997, McDougal was convicted of eighteen felony counts of fraud and conspiracy charges. The counts had to do with bad loans made by Madison in the late 1980s. As his savings and loan was federally-insured, the $68 million was paid by taxpayers.. .

He joined with his wife, from whom he was later divorced, and the Clintons to borrow $203,000 to buy land in the Ozark Mountains for vacation homes. When the development failed, he attempted to cover the losses with S&L funds. McDougal was prosecuted for fraud in 1984 and hired the Mrs. Clinton's Rose Law Firm to defend him. Questions remain in regard to Mrs. Clinton's Rose Law Firm billing records on Madison Guaranty and how much work she actually did. McDougal also held a fundraiser that paid off Clinton's then campaign debt of $50,000. Madison cashier's checks accounted for $12,000 of the funds raised. McDougal died of a heart attack in federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas. The circumstances of his death remain questionable: he was apparently denied access to his heart medication, and he was placed in solitary confinement without the medication.

WIKIPEDIA - [Susan McDougal] was convicted on May 28, 1996, and spent time in prison for four counts of fraud and conspiracy relating to the Whitewater scandal. She also spent 18 months in prison including 7 weeks in solitary confinement for civil contempt of court. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright sentenced her after McDougal refused to answer three questions from Whitewater prosecutors before the grand jury empaneled by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to investigate the Whitewater deals. These questions included whether President Bill Clinton lied in his testimony during her Whitewater trial, particularly when he denied any knowledge of an illegal $300,000 loan. During that trial, the government's star witness, Arkansas banker and former municipal judge David Hale, claimed that then-Governor Bill Clinton had discussed an illegal $300,000 loan with himself and McDougal. McDougal received a full Presidential pardon from outgoing President Bill Clinton in the final hours of his presidency in 2001.


BILL VAN AUKEN, WORLD SOCIALIST - CBS News reported on the upcoming fundraiser with the provocative headline "Rupert Murdoch Loves Hillary Clinton." It stated, "The mating ritual of the unlikely allies has been under way for months."

When she first ran for Senate from New York, Murdoch's New York Post sought to demonize her as an arch-liberal and was notorious for publishing the most unflattering photographs of the former First Lady. "To vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton is to affirm double-dealing and deception," one Post editorial warned New Yorkers. A leading columnist referred to her as a "duplicitous sow." How times have changed. . .

Last month, it was reported that Mrs. Clinton was in attendance at the 10th anniversary party for Murdoch's Fox News in Washington. As the Washington Post reported: "Clinton spent an hour at Cafe Milano schmoozing with News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch (very chummy since last year's truce), Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, and most of the Bush administration, including Karl Rove, Josh Bolten, Karen Hughes, Dan Bartlett and former Fox host Tony Snow, just hours after he was named the new Bush spokesman."

For the last five years, Murdoch's Fox News has served as the closest thing to a state propaganda network that America has ever seen, unswervingly defending the Bush administration while vilifying its critics. Tony Snow's transformation from a right-wing Fox talk show host into the head of the White House press office is only the most blatant expression of this politically incestuous relationship.



JOSEPH FARRAH, WORLDNET DAILY, JULY 2005 - A significant portion of the [Clinton's] Shadow Team's operations were carried out by private investigators, among them: Terry Lenzner, founder and chairman of the powerful Washington, D.C., detective firm Investigative Group International; high-ticket San Francisco private eye Jack Palladino and his wife Sandra Sutherland; and Hollywood sleuth Anthony J. Pellicano. . .

Hillary's secret police tend to be a tight-lipped bunch, professionally skilled at keeping a low profile. However, we know more about Anthony "The Pelican" Pellicano than about most Hillary operatives, thanks to his boastfulness and taste for the limelight. Pellicano's violent career as a private investigator reveals much about the sorts of qualifications Hillary sought in her Shadow Team.

In the January 1992 issue of GQ magazine, Pellicano boasted of the dirty work he had performed for his clients, including blackmail and physical assault. He claimed to have beaten one of his client's enemies with a baseball bat. "I'm an expert with a knife," said Pellicano. "I can shred your face with a knife."

FBI agents raided Pellicano's West Hollywood office on Nov. 22, 2002, and arrested him on federal weapons charges. In his office, they found gold, jewelry, and about $200,000 in cash - most of it bundled in $10,000 wrappers - thousands of pages of transcripts of illegal wiretaps; two handguns; and various explosive devices stored in safes, including two live hand grenades and a pile of C4 plastic explosive, complete with blasting cap and detonation cord.



WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2007 - As Sen. Hillary Clinton grapples with the burgeoning scandal surrounding disgraced fund-raiser Norman Hsu, she can't quite shake a fund-raising controversy from her 2000 Senate campaign. Mrs. Clinton's entanglement with a thrice-convicted felon named Peter Paul is proof of how long campaign-finance problems can haunt a public official. Mr. Paul became a problem for Mrs. Clinton when his criminal past became public shortly after he helped organize and finance a gala Hollywood fund-raiser for her in August 2000.

Rather than drift away, Mr. Paul has been on the attack against Mrs. Clinton ever since. In a lawsuit in California state court that has been grinding along for years, Mr. Paul accuses Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton of deceiving him into spending well over $1 million on the fund-raiser for her Senate campaign. Mr. Paul contends the Clintons obtained the money by falsely promising that Mr. Clinton would become Mr. Paul's business associate after leaving the White House in January 2001. Mr. Paul also maintains that Mrs. Clinton and her campaign violated federal election law in connection with the fund-raiser. The Clintons have denied any wrongdoing. Their attorney, David Kendall, says there was never any business arrangement discussed or contemplated between Mr. Paul and Mr. Clinton.


NY POST - A purported pyramid-scheme operator . . . has reinvented himself as the head of an upstate group accused of being a "cult" - and his devotees have pumped thousands into Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential run.

Executives and top associates of the Albany-based NXIVM group - along with their family members - donated $29,900 to Clinton's presidential campaign, according to federal records.

On March 14 and April 13, records show, more than a dozen contributions poured into Clinton's coffers from NXIVM, an executive and group-awareness training organization led by Brooklyn-born Keith Raniere, 47. . .

In his previous incarnation, the Svengali-like Raniere ran a $30 million multilevel marketing business that imploded after federal agencies and regulators in 23 states alleged it was an illegal pyramid scheme.

He has managed to attract famous names to NXIVM. Three of the March and April Clinton pledges came from Raniere's most high-profile followers: Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman, and Pamela Cafritz, daughter of D.C. A-listers Buffy and Bill Cafritz. Cafritz shares a condo with Raniere.

JEANE MacINTOSH, NY POST - His followers bow in his presence and call him "Vanguard." His detractor square off with him in court and call him a manipulative "brainwasher" who wrecks lives with his "extremely dangerous," "cult-like" group. Keith Raniere, leader of an Albany-based organization called NXIVM (pronounced nex-e-um), has built a lucrative empire with his Executive Success Programs.

NXIVM, run by Raniere, 47, and President Nancy Salzman, a 52-year-old registered nurse, claims to pull in at least $4 million a year. Big-name devotees like Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman back Raniere - and "The Family," as insiders call the group - despite his checkered past.

In the 1990s, the Brooklyn-born Raniere, son of New York adman and fund-raiser James Raniere, shuttered a multimillion-dollar marketing firm after authorities in several states alleged that it was an illegal pyramid scheme.

Today, devotees shell out as much as $7,500 to attend NXIVM's 16-day motivational seminars, called "intensives," where they are coached using Raniere's patented behavior-modification "technology."

Members, or "ESPians," also bow to Salzman, called "Prefect," and refer to nonbelievers to as "parasites" or "suppressives."

Some who have left have turned against NXIVM and divulged its "secret" policies - only to find themselves mired in years of litigation with Raniere and Salzman.

In published accounts, ex-members and mental-health professionals call NXIVM a "cult-like" group that uses sensory deprivation, "brainwashing" and other mind-bending tactics - sometimes to the point of psychological breakdowns.

MICHAEL FREEDMAN, FORBES, 2003 - Keith Raniere's devoted followers say he is one of the smartest and most ethical people alive. They describe him as a soft-spoken, humble genius who can diagnose societal ills with remarkable clarity. They say his teachings as an inspirational executive coach can empower some of the most successful people in the world to attain ever higher levels of status and money. Why, his program can even cure ailments like diabetes and scoliosis.

Some 3,700 people have flocked to Raniere, 43, and Executive Success Programs, the business he created in 1998. Prompted by a potent word-of-mouth network, they include Sheila Johnson, cofounder of Black Entertainment Television; Antonia C. Novello, a former U.S. surgeon general; Stephen Cooper, acting chief executive of Enron; the Seagram fortune's Edgar Bronfman Sr. and two of his daughters; and Ana Cristina Fox, daughter of the Mexican president. . .

Raniere, who has no M.B.A., has shrewdly cashed in on the high-profit fad of executive coaching, a booming multibillion-dollar market. It includes established firms and renowned individuals who promise--for a fee--to help people become better executives, improve productivity and navigate office politics. Well-known trainers like Marshall Goldsmith, professor Vijay Govindarajan of Dartmouth and Richard Leider charge from $25,000 a day to $100,000 for a half dozen sessions spread over 18 months. They teach executives how to change their "negative behaviors," to find what drives them and to divine the right goals. . .

But some people see a darker and more manipulative side to Keith Raniere. Detractors say he runs a cult-like program aimed at breaking down his subjects psychologically, separating them from their families and inducting them into a bizarre world of messianic pretensions, idiosyncratic language and ritualistic practices. "I think it's a cult," says Bronfman. Though he once took a course and endorsed the program, he hasn't talked to his daughters in months and has grown troubled over the long hours and emotional and financial investment they have been devoting to Raniere's group. . .

Raniere says there's nothing in his operation that makes it a cult, and indeed, many enrollees see Executive Success as a good coaching program and nothing more. Enron's Stephen Cooper puts himself in this category. Yet Raniere is an unlikely mentor to the wealthy and well-connected. A decade ago he ran an alleged pyramid scheme that collapsed after signing up at least 250,000 customers and bringing in more than $33 million in a year. In January a federal judge ruled in favor of an ex-girlfriend who was in a bitter legal fight with Raniere, citing "a jilted fellow's attempt at revenge" and finding that Raniere had harassed her, disrupted her business and manipulated her into giving up her 10-year-old son to the boy's father. The woman, Toni F. Natalie, tells Forbes that she believes Raniere brainwashed her, telling her she was put on Earth to carry his baby--the baby who would alter the course of history. Raniere calls this claim "ridiculous and not rational."

These days Raniere prefers to be called "Vanguard" by his followers. (His business partner, Nancy Salzman, 49, a former nurse and therapist and the public face of Executive Success, calls herself "Prefect.") Raniere's long, brown hair and beard make him look a little like Jesus, and his thoughtful demeanor could let him pass for a philosophy professor--or maybe a slacker poet. He has no driver's license, relying on friends for rides and walking up to 12 miles a day. He says he has no bank account and that he forgoes any salary from the $4 million-a-year coaching program he created: "I consider everything payment for what I've done." Though he co-owns a small house near Albany, N.Y. with a female friend, he spends most nights at one or another of three friends' homes. He claims not to own a bed. "I live," he says with a disarmingly warm smile, "a somewhat church-mouse-type existence."

His teachings are mysterious, filled with self-serving and impenetrable jargon about ethics and values, and defined by a blind-ambition ethos akin to that of the driven characters in an Ayn Rand novel. His shtick: Make your own self-interest paramount, don't be motivated by what other people want and avoid "parasites" (his label for people who need help); only by doing this can you be true to yourself and truly "ethical." The flip side, of course, is that this worldview discredits virtues like charity, teamwork and compassion--but maybe we just don't get it.

Executive Success resembles motivational groups such as the Landmark Forum, the Sterling Institute of Relationship and Lifespring. It also is reminiscent of the "human potential" training of the 1970s, with a few Scientology-like elements and parallels to EST, the much-criticized groupthink program founded by Werner Erhard. Unlike EST, which famously discouraged students from using the bathroom during sessions, Executive Success offers plenty of breaks. Students pay up to $10,000 for five days of lectures and intense emotional probing in daily 13-hour cram sessions. They remove their shoes for class, learn obscure handshakes and wear patented colored sashes in dozens of different variations that signify rank in the organization. When a higher-ranking student enters the room they must stand to show respect. They are taught to bow to one another and to "Vanguard." When he makes a rare appearance, Elvis-like, students rush up to him. Some ex-clients say they have seen him greet each woman with a kiss on the mouth, although Raniere denies this.

Once a day the attendees recite a 12-point mission statement written by Raniere. (Sample: "There are no ultimate victims; therefore, I will not choose to be a victim.") It is apocalyptic in tone, with the occasional grammatical error--his genius notwithstanding. The world is full of people who try to "destroy each other, steal from each other, down each other or rejoice at another's demise." Thus, he writes, "it is essential for the survival of humankind" that the world's wealth and resources be controlled by "successful, ethical people"--i.e., those trained at Executive Success.


NY TIMES, 2007 - Among the 11 public officials arrested in an F.B.I. corruption sting in New Jersey today was a leading Democratic supporter of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign in that state, Mayor Samuel Rivera of Passaic. . . Mayor Rivera allegedly promised to deliver a majority of votes on the Passaic City Council to steer city insurance brokerage business to a dummy company set up by the F.B.I.


Founder and chair of later bankrupt Global Crossing helped Clinton campaign chair Terry McAuliffe make $18 million out of a $100,000 investment. Winnick also gave $1 million to the Clinton Library. The bankruptcy cost investors millions and costs thousands of employees their jobs. Two years before the crash, Winnick bought a $92 million house, by some estimates the most expensive in American history - including a payment of $66 million in cash.