28 November 2007

The Gupta Connections and the influence it buys

Another day, another Hillary Clinton donor scandal! These poor things just keep cropping up through their history, don't they?

To do a quick review: you can connect Hillary Clinton to the Red Chinese acquisition of the partially completed CV Varyag with just one intermediate hop! That hop goes through Triad member Chen Kai-kit and his connections to folks working with Red China, North Korea and enterprises less savory really do make you wonder such folks get around in the world with so little notice paid to them. Just one of those things, I guess, but that was an 'old' scandal!

Another 'old' scandal is the involvement of a close Clinton associate in trying to get a couple of thousand AK-47s smuggled into Los Angeles to sell to gang members there, which goes through Johnny Huang, and he was personally given an OK to look at classified documents by the Clintons. Or Johnny Chung's connection with moving US satellite and missile guidance technology to China with President Clinton's over-riding DoD worries about same. Yes those are such old things, with China now being able to deploy far more reliable missiles and warheads for their nuclear devices. Even simple drug smugglers found a home with the Clinton's and personal cards for them while they were in jail, such caring folks they are!

Or the 'old' scandal that featured ex-con Peter Paul running from prosecution in Brazil to fight extradition and then having Interpol put a warrant out for his arrest via the Clintons, which wound him up in one of Brazil's hell-hole prisons. Mind you she was willing to send a naive advisor to work with the Hollywood sharks, and then get him stabbed in the back, too. Still the Hollywood tribute gala to the Clinton's was a hit, as witness the money laundered through it Hillary refuses to account for. All is fair when you are looking to woo a billionaire Japanese businessman away from Stan Lee Media and undercut them and then try to keep it quiet.

Then there is the 'old' connection that shows up between disgraced Congresscritter David Duke and Hillary Clinton, which takes the form of the son of a Red Mafia man, Arik Kislin. Of course digging into that finds all the connections the Red Mafia were able to establish in US banks, use them for money laundering, and to advance the concept that 200 people could run 300 companies, with one man holding all of that in his head as a past-time. That points up the stalwart safety of the US banking system under the Clintons... or lack thereof, in any event.

There are others like pro-Iranian Hassan Nemazee, wooing the Clintons and others at a White House 'coffee', so as to get the Ambassador's position to Argentina, which got him entry into the world of high-rolling wheelers and dealers. Or having Ms. Clinton being designated as the Senator from Punjab, due to her ties with Sant Singh Chatwal. Or with the straw-man donation schemes of Abdul Rehman Jinnah from Pakistan, whom she has known for awhile, to say the least.

Nor to even begin speaking of ponzi-fraudster with the light touch, Norman Hsu, who, apparently, was a mover and shaker in the garment business without ever having moved, bought or sold garments or influenced the industry. No matter how you do the math, I am coming up about $40-$60 million short between the swindlees and the donations. But maybe I've missed a second class action suit starting up...

No, this one revolves around Vinod Gupta and infoUSA. Now to familiarize yourself with just what infoUSA *is*, all you have to do is go to your mailbox and get a piece of junk mail with your name on it. Your name, address, possible phone number, spending habits, political affiliation and any other things of commercial interest to major companies to sell to you get swept up by companies like infoUSA, including email addresses. Got spam? You got Gupta. His company SELLS those lists for marketing, advertising, sales pushes, political parties, 'activist' groups, and anyone looking to convince you to part with some of your money for their product/service/cause.

Hey, put down the torches and pitchforks! That is *legal* in the US!!

So for an executive summary of where Mr. Gupta is coming from, lets get a thumbnail from the SEC which was part of one of the acquisition documents that infoUSA would generate:

Vinod Gupta founded info USA in February 1972 and has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since its incorporation. Mr. Gupta served as Chief Executive Officer of info USA from the time of its incorporation in 1972 until September 1997 and since August 1998. Mr. Gupta holds a B.S. in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, and an M.S. in Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Nebraska. Mr. Gupta also was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Nebraska and an Honorary Doctorate from the Indian Institute of Technology. Mr. Gupta was nominated and confirmed to be the United States Consul General to Bermuda. Then, the President nominated him to be the United States Ambassador to Fiji. Due to business commitments, he withdrew his name from consideration. He was appointed by President Clinton to serve as a Trustee of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Mr. Gupta is also a director of a mutual fund in the Everest mutual fund family, located at 5805 South 86 th Circle, Omaha, Nebraska.
So that does help to place the man, a bit. Have to love that bit of Consul General to Bermuda! What a vacation and resume enhancer! Too bad about Fiji, though, I'm sure that would have been a prime vacation spot, too, but President Clinton made up for that by getting him the perpetual vacation in the Kennedy Center. That Everest bit is interesting, and will crop up later...

Really, no matter how much you detest junk mail (paper/plastic/electronic) those lists are perfectly legal. And form, of course, one of the easiest to get to collection of individuals who are gullible the world has ever seen. 60 Minutes II had a lovely little look into how those looking to swindle the sick and elderly got specially made lists of same that were also identified as gamblers, worry warts and chronically unable to tell a good investment from a bad one.

And Mr. Gupta tries to make up for that with charitable works, such as advertising for Bill and Hillary Clinton by slathering their names all over things he is doing like "Bill Clinton Science and Technology Center" and "The Hillary Rodham Clinton Mass Communication Center". All to help young folks from India learn good skills and come to America to donate to their benefactors Bill and Hillary Clinton! The SEC is looking into Mr. Gupta's works because, to put it mildly, he appears to be skimming some money off the top for himself and his political activism.

Now, before going into the interesting buying sprees of Mr. Gupta and infoUSA, here is another one of those questions that really just does stick out: Outside of the Clinton's what is the connection between Norman Hsu and Vinod Gupta? On the surface, of course, there is nothing, but in the Friend Of A Friend network concept there is one prime connection between them. This from 13 FEB 2001 DM News article by Scott Hovanyetz:

Also, InfoUSA has elected former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey and Rob Chandra, venture partner at Trust Company of the West, Los Angeles, to its board of directors. They replace Ben Nelson, who was required to resign because of his election as senator from Nebraska, and Charlie Fote, who resigned because of his recent promotion to CEO of First Data Resources, Omaha, NE.
And Sen. Bob Kerrey would be the head of The New School in NYC which had, as one of its prime associates, Norman Hsu! What a lovely rolodex that must be on Mr. Kerrey's desk, chock-a-block with businessmen, shady characters and Clinton political contacts... but I repeat myself multiple times.

To get to such lofty heights, Mr. Gupta took on American Business Information, Inc. and put it on a buying spree of companies to expand database driven market share for such associations. It became infoUSA and would start selling to nearly everyone, including the folks handing out free 3.5" floppies, AOL. One of the first forays into direct politics was when infoUSA CFO Stormy Dean would run for the Governorship of Nebraska. After leaving office, President Clinton would address a part of infoUSA bought out by them earlier, the Donnelly Group, with, I'm sure, large fees to go with it. At about the same time they were expanding into email work in a big way, and continuing to gobble up smaller companies in the market.

Part of the problem with all of this, as a publicly traded company, is that it was seen as expanding too quickly to properly absorb the components it had bought out. Mr. Gupta found a great way to change that around: announce he was taking the company private and about what he expected to pay for shares which was *more* than they were going for. Of course retired President Clinton would show up for another little talk, and I'm sure that a high fee was included. Soon after Mr. Gupta would announce that he had *changed his mind* after seeing a stock price recovery.

But the buying up continued apace, but a bit of an oddity showed up when Mr. Gupta put forward that he, and his family, had invested in a hedge fund that was, basically, in control of their assets, the Everest family of funds dedicated to the select clientele of the Gupta family. Something smelled fishy to Dolphin Limited Partnership, who also had a large share of infoUSA, and they wanted things looked into. In 2006 he was supposed to stop buying securities, but that didn't seem to stop him from getting his hands on more companies. This would start a battle with the board of directors and shareholders of infoUSA. That would be rejected by a shareholders meeting, however, and the purchasing of companies would continue apace. But that initial work went to the courts which upheld the lawsuit, in the main

It was just around this time that the lawsuit by shareholders was making headlines, and with that was the view that infoUSA was selling specialized lists to companies and individuals looking to defraud seniors with Alzheimers, gambling problems and and other such things, and having labels attached to them saying 'These people are gullible.' With those revelations came ones that Mr. Gupta was flying the Clintons to prime vacation spots, for at least four years, with itineraries including: Acapulco multiple times, Switzerland, Hawaii and Jamaica. That on top of a $250,000 donation to the Clinton library and $200,000 in soft money to Hillary's Senate campaign in 2000, and pay Bill Clinton in the neighborhood of $3 million in consulting fees. There are also trips for Oklahoma City for Bill and shuttling Hillary to New Mexico for campaign needs, all of which is covered by first class fare on a commercial jet while getting to travel in style and luxury on a private jet, that will meet schedules far better than a commercial airline could ever hope to do. Isn't it wonderful how hundreds of thousands of dollars in actual cost can be reimbursed for pennies on the dollar because those who make the law feel they should be exempt from paying for such things?

Additionally Mr. Gupta was a golfing buddy of Bill Clinton , including a trip to Scotland for same, and had one of the lucrative 'paid for' stays in the Lincoln Bedroom in the Whitehouse. Basically a 'key donor' to them over the years. He would also help form up the Indo American Leadership Council that was created by the DNC, and to get on it one really did have to pack in the money, just for a membership role, not to speak of 'leadership' of the Leadership, which has been a long-term goal of the Clintons for years.

One of the major acquisitions was Opinion Research which is a polling firm, that works with CNN. An Australian firm, Newton Wayman Chong & Associates, would also be bundled into that organizational unit. This causes troubles as CNN has been running a number of Presidential debates and has been depending on Opinion Research Corporation to do its polling for it.

This connection with the Clintons would also lead to infoUSA getting its hands on the donor list to the Clinton library, which would include all of the high rollers that are backing it. It was a pretty simple deal, actually: infoUSA just bought the list.

That brings us full around to the SEC investigation, but there are also charges of improperly giving money to Hillary's 2000 campaign fund, personally, by Mr. Gupta. And even *more* flights provided to Hillary Clinton in her current bid for the Whitehouse. Also providing things like $7,000 treadmills to the Clintons in NY, which they were obliged to give back due to FEC regulations. This voyage of discovery is from disgruntled shareholders giving the leads for others to search for the strangenesses going on with one of the largest information brokerages on the planet. infoUSA, itself, does give money to both parties, although as of the 2002 records that comes in at $285,000 to the D party and $50,000 to the R party. Alexander Gupta, however, would be a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton and the DNC, all the while remaining as a student or unemployed/student for 12 years, but that is what you get when your father is Vinod Gupta and you are 11 years old, as seen from Ariannaonline, of all places, (26 MAY 1997):
In fact, the number of student contributions of $1,000 or more quadrupled between 1990 and 1996. Take 8-year-old Jason Corcoran -- a high roller barely out of his highchair -- who plunked down $1,000 for a seat at a Clinton fund-raising luncheon in October 1995. Or 10-year-old Emily Gartner, a ponytailed influence peddler who ponied up $250 for the president. Or 11-year-old Alexander Gupta, whose largesse keeps both Clinton and Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson crammed in the hip pocket of his Toughskins.

Alexander Gupta's brothers Ben and Jess are also frequent campaign contributors, although not so frequent as their father Vinod, who gave $53,000 in the last election cycle, including a $40,000 gift to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Little Emily Gartner's story is similar. She, brother Jeremy, sister Jennie and mom Sandra all gave $250 apiece on the same day that her father, Vermont businessman Allen Gartner, gave $1,000 to the Clinton campaign.

So what we have here is a form of kiddie money-laundering. Is it legal? Not if the money doesn't actually belong to the kids or if it wasn't their decision to contribute it.

Many donor parents evade the first requirement by raiding their children's trust funds. But proving that it wasn't the kids' decision to give the money should hardly be difficult, especially in cases as brazen as the Guptas'. The eldest Gupta brother, 17-year-old Jess, told a reporter last year, "Truthfully, I'm not really associated with the donations. I'm not involved in a big way. Dad makes those donations in my name."
Isn't that sweet? Contributing for the kids in their name! What a deal!

You know, of all the drug dealing, arms trafficking, prostitute pimping and human trafficking money being laundered into US political campaigns from abroad, at least that is *honest* crookedness trying to get money into the system by adults. This sort of stuff really is galling, particularly when President Clinton would garner over $217,000 from these 'child donations'.... only by 1997, of course. Makes you kind of wonder just how much is being filtered through such donations and why parents can't just leave money that is putatively for their children *alone* so that it can gain in size and give their children greater wealth when they are adults and wise enough to spend it themselves.

So the next time you are fishing through the contribution lists, remember that if you see someone being a 'student' for over a decade, they have a parent who really believes that current and ephemeral politics is more important than letting their child grow up with wealth to make their own damned fool decisions.

And if you ever corner a politician, you should ask them how much of that sort of stuff they have received... and if they have given any of it back because their conscience bothers them about it. Things like this really do turn me off to politics and politicians in this modern era. I don't intend to vote for anyone who actually accepts such money, which may leave me high and dry when election time rolls around, to only vote against the absolutely detestable and for the merely unconscienable.

If you ever hear 'its for the children' ask them if they take money that parents steal from their children's future to give to politicians now. To me that is what it is: stealing from children's future.

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