At a news conference on Monday, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ron Machen presented compelling evidence against a “senior advisor” to a 2008 presidential campaign as the originator of a $600,000 scheme of illegal campaign donations in which two co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty.
Though Machen did not identify the campaign or name the “senior advisor,” the Washington Post reported that Minyon Moore, an important member of the leadership team of the 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, is the “senior advisor” whom Machen was referring to.
In September 2013, political operative Troy White pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge as the individual who knowingly accepted more than $600,000 in illegal campaign contributions from Washington, D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson, who also pleaded guilty on Monday to two felonies arising from his role in the scheme.
White used those funds to run off-the-books “street campaigns” in support of an unnamed 2008 presidential campaign in Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Indiana, and Puerto Rico.
Machen provided new details at Monday’s press conference indicating that the person described in Thompson’s charging documents as “INDIVIDUAL A, a resident of the District of Columbia, worked for a public affairs firm, and served as a Senior Advisor to PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 1” introduced White and Thompson and asked Thompson to fund White’s illegal activities.
According to Machen, this “senior advisor” also provided critical campaign intelligence to White which he used to geographically target his illegal activities and provided official presidential campaign literature to be delivered in the “street campaigns.”
“The scheme began in February 2008 when a senior advisor to a presidential campaign asked Thompson to fund street teams that would assist the campaign in upcoming primaries,” Machen stated at the press conference.
“These street teams and canvassers, paid under the table with Thompson’s money,” Machen said, “would distribute campaign materials and put up campaign signs in support of the presidential campaign in primary states.”
“That shadow campaign first took form leading up to the March 2008 Texas primary,” according to Machen. “The senior advisor to the presidential campaign put Thompson in touch with Troy White, a New York businessman, who had a company named Whytehouse that would organize the street teams.”
From Texas, the illegal street campaign conceived of by the senior advisor to the presidential campaign, funded by Thompson and implemented by White, continued on from Texas to Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico, Machen said.
Significantly, “[t]he street teams and canvassers paid with Thompson’s wealth were deployed based on internal campaign intelligence provided by the senior advisor to the campaign for the purpose of raising visibility for the preferred candidate,” according to Machen. “[A]s they were deployed,” he said, “the street teams and canvassers distributed posters, lawn signs, pamphlets, and stickers that were provided by the official campaign.”
These activities raise serious questions of legality as it relates to federal election law.
Machen, who played football for Stanford as an undergraduate, has a proven track record for securing guilty pleas from targets of his corruption investigations. His pattern as a prosecutor is a predictable and proven formula for success. He builds an overwhelming evidentiary case that is so strong his targets choose to cut a deal for a shorter sentence when confronted with proof of their crimes rather than face the near certainty of a conviction.
A former partner at the prestigious Washington based law firm of Wilmer Hale, Machen was hired in the 1990s as a staff attorney by then-District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Eric Holder. In 2007 and 2008, Machen donated $1,500 to Obama for America, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Late Monday, members of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle and friends of Minyon Moore pushed back. Ginny Terzano, a spokeswoman for the Dewey Square Group which employs Moore, told the Washington Post that Ms. Moore was “entirely unaware of any inappropriate activities.”
Burns Strider, another long time Clinton aide, told the National Journal the Washington Post’s report that Minyon Moore is the “senior advisor” currently under investigation by Attorney Machen is “irresponsible.”
He embellished his assertion with colorful language not often found in quotes given to the Journal. “I think it’s horseshit,” he said. “I think The Washington Post is acting like some kind of an Internet blog or something instead of doing real reporting.”
Strider concluded his interview with the Journal by stating, “I think it’s pretty clear through everything that’s come out that [Moore] didn’t do anything wrong and has been exonerated and has been fully helpful in the case, and that’s the bottom line.”
The Washington Post reported that if Moore did in fact commit any election law violations, “Election lawyers said pursuing charges against Moore could be difficult, however, because the five-year statute of limitations has expired.”