Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Biden Takes Money from Criminal

The power of the misleading headline is amazing. Luckily, its just my headline this time.

Harper's broke the story (online, at least) that what they call a "major democratic donor" was arrested for attempting to defraud CitiBank out of about $74 million by saying they had about that much in collateral. Hassan Nemazee, who chairs the appropriately-named Nemazee Capital and did the defrauding, one can assume, is also a frequent donator to the Democratic Party, to the tune of $150,000 since 2006.

Some of that money went to Joe Biden.
Nemazee (and a woman I asssume to be his wife, it should be noted) donated a total of $9,200 to Biden's campaign during that time, as well as some cash to Hillary, according to the Huffington Post's donation tracking software. The likelihood that Biden actually knew who he was taking money from, of course, is ridiculously low. It makes a good argument for campaign finance reform, but other than that, it's fairly innocuous, as much as you can see any Republican or Independent with an axe to grind taking it and twisting it to their needs.

Mr. Namazee's office had no comment on his arrest when I called up and spoke to their remarkably relaxed receptionist, so I decided to do a little hunting about him for my own education. What Harper's failed to mention (it was a brief piece) was that Hassan Nemazee isn't just a guy who "raises" capital. He's also the former finance chair of both John Kerry's and Hillary Clinton's campaigns. In late 2008, The New York Observer ran a piece abut Nemazee being accused of funneling campaign contributions through his adult children (The Huffington Post's campaign contributions database confirms each of his children donating $4,600 a piece, the same as he and his wife), one of whom summarily wound up working for Rudy Giuliani's law firm.

Luckily for Joe, his hands are clean. He clearly ran the smaller campaign. The question remains to be asked, though, as to where the line should be drawn, and just how politicians vet the people who bring in their money. After all, this latest presidential campaign shattered records, partially due to Obama backing down on a pact made with John McCain to stick to capped contributions. One hopes this report doesn't fall too far into the back pages.

Until tomorrow, dear readers, I wish you Biden dreams and Cheney wishes.

Jason C. Klamm

P.S. - Nemazee Capital also has a blog.

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