OF HILLARY CLINTON
HILLARY CLINTON'S FINANCE CHAIR
SENT TO PRISON FOR 12 YEARS
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.
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.
- 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
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
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
WIKIPEDIA - Norman
Yung Yuen Hsu (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 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
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
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.
- 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.
ABDUL REHMAN JINNAH
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
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
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"
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
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
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.
HILLARY PAL PLEADS GUILTY TO PONZI
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.