Sunday, January 26, 2020
Books: "Profiles In Corruption" By Peter Schweizer
Profiles In Corruption: Abuse of Power by America's Progressive Elites
By Peter Schweizer
Harper; hardcover, 368 pages; $29.99
Peter Schweizer has become an authority on exposing corruption in our government, with books including Clinton Cash and the recent Secret Empires, one of the first deep looks into the business deals that former Vice President, and current presidential candidate, Joe Biden's son, Hunter, was making around the world.
The revelations in Secret Empires arguably were the impetus for President Donald J. Trump to tell Rudy Giuliani to investigate Hunter Biden's membership on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma. That has led Joe Biden to be on the defensive at times about what he knew, since it took place while he was vice president, and also was the basis of President Trump's impeachment.
Schweizer is back, with another revealing look at the big names of the Democratic party (don't expect to find a look into President Trump or Senator Mitch McConnell in here) in his new book, Profiles in Corruption.
Intensely researched for over 18 months, Schweizer, the president of the Government Accountability Institute, backs up his claims of shady deals and corrupt practices of the modern left with 1,126 footnotes.
Schweizer and his team of investigators turn their follow-the-money focus to the nation's top progressives, politicians who they contend strive to acquire more government power to achieve their political ends.
Hunter Biden is once again a focus, with Schwweizer calling his Ukrainian scandal the "tip of the iceberg," as he goes into what he calls the "Biden Five," family members who have collectively siphoned tens of millions of taxpayers' dollars and guaranteed loans.
Here, Schweizer writes of the former Vice President and leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, "Gritty Joe Biden from Scranton, Pennsylvania, has been part of America's political life since 1972, when at just age twenty-nine he was elected to the U.S. Senate. America watched Joe Biden bury his first wife and daughter following a tragic automobile accident right after his election and shortly before Christmas. America's heart went out to him again as Vice President Biden buried another child, son Beau Biden, when he died from brain cancer in 2015...
"To any American paying attention to politics, Biden was a familiar figure even before becoming Barack Obama's choice for vice president in 2008. In part this was because he had served as the longtime chairman of two powerful Senate committees - Foreign Relations and Judiciary - so as Salena Zito notes, 'We really have seen Biden's career unfold on television.'
"At least we have seen the television-friendly portions of Joe Biden's political career unfold. Other aspects involving his family's complex and obscured international deals, leveraged on Joe's political status and power, have rarely been explored. The Biden family partners are often foreign governments, where the deals occur in the dark corners of international finance like Kazakhstan, China, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Ukraine, and Russia. Some deals have even involved U.S. taxpayer money. The cast of characters includes sketchy companies, violent convicted felons, foreign oligarchs, and other people who typically expect favors in return. Joe's public power positions Biden family members for highly lucrative deals they likely would not otherwise get. These deals also often occur with the appearance that Joe Biden has done favors for the partners who welcome such family members. These are not a few disparate enterprises, but rather moneymaking ventures that appear to be part of a well-organized family business.
"Joe Biden has insisted in absolute terms that he never discusses family members' business activities.
"The Biden family's apparent self-enrichment depends on Joe Biden's political influence and involves no less than five family members: Joe's son Hunter, daughter Ashley, brothers James and Frank, and sister Valerie."
Schweizer also looks into another top Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and how she has quietly racked up millions from corporations by leveraging her position as a government consultant, despite her loud stance against corporate America. There also is a detailed look into her son-in-law's secret deal with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Another top Democratic presidential candidate whom Schweizer reveals the dark side of is avowed Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. The Vermonter's presidential campaign has flowed tens of millions of dollars to a mysterious company linked to his wife, Jane, as well as how she came away with millions when Burlington College had to shut its doors.
"Bernie Sanders is one of the most polarizing figures in American politics," Schweizer writes. "People are divided about his message: fans consider him a truth-teller about capitalism and income inequality; critics see him as a grandstander and a hypocrite. His brusque and blunt style means he is being candid and honest in the eyes of his supporters; detractors see his holier-than-thou attitude as a turnoff. Even some friends and acquaintances joke that his hectoring and sermonizing can be a bit much. Professor Garrison Nelson, who taught for decades at the University of Vermont and has known of Sanders almost as long, warns that 'Bernie's the last person you'd want to be stuck on a desert island with. Two weeks of lectures about health care, and you'd look for a shark and dive in.'
"The dominance of progressives within the ranks of the Democratic party is a testament to the power of Bernie Sanders and his brand. His approach to politics has been remarkably consistent in one respect: the need for an enemy. According to Dennis Morrisseau, a 'lifelong Vermonter' who has followed Sanders's career for decades, he 'always had a common enemy in each of his more than twenty political campaigns - namely, the wealthy.' In the 1970s, he railed against the Rockefeller family; today it is the billionaire class. Morisseau adds, 'If Bernie didn't have an enemy or scapegoat, he created one.' In 2017, researchers at the University of Vermont names a new spider species after Sanders: 'Spintharus berniesandersi.' The naming is apt because Sanders has become adept at spinning a web of financial ties and relationships that remain largely hidden from the public.
"There are serious financial mysteries swirling around Sanders, concerning both his own wealth and the funds that have been pouring into his political movement. They raise fundamental questions that have yet to be aired, questions that Sanders and his wife, Jane, have worked to avoid addressing. Beyond the mysterious flow of funds, there is also the reality of his close, mutually beneficial financial ties to powerful financial figures - those that belie his image as David taking on Goliath...
"What makes the Sanders case unusual is the effort to which the family has gone to obscure their income. When Bernie Sanders announced his run for president in 2015, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) required him to file a personal financial disclosure that is more detailed than the one he is required to file as a U.S. senator. Rather than actually file the disclosure, Sanders repeatedly filed for extensions to avoid having to release his financial information. (On the campaign trail, Sanders promised to release his tax returns, but only disclosed a summary of his 2014 filing.) When he failed to get the nomination in mid-2016, he said the filings were no longer necessary. He effectively 'beat the clock,' according to the Center for Public Integrity."
Schweizer also looks at Democratic presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar and her corporate cash extraction method, as well as two Senators who have recently departed the race, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, who could be in contention for a Vice Presidential pick from the eventual nominee.
Profiles in Corruption is a necessary read this political season, as Schweizer gives a revealing look at the Democratic presidential contenders, showing them to be not what they seem in most cases.