- - Monday, April 9, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The astonishing widespread massive corruption of some of the biggest names in American politics that Peter Schweizer reveals in his new blockbuster expose is shocking, startling, stunning — and sickening.

“Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends” is an insightful and extraordinarily consequential book that should ignite a national uproar.

Don’t hold your breath. Our national media can be expected to do all in its power to suppress the possibility of any uproar — even when the corruption is this vast. It’s what they’re best at — covering up their own malfeasance and protecting politicians with whose ideology they’ve allied themselves.

One of the biggest scandals in American history was swirling around us. Leading U.S. government figures were embracing corruption. Foreign governments were colluding with American sleazes to hurt our country. Family and friends of these key political figures conspired as middlemen between foreign interests seeking influence and these enormously influential U.S. government officials.

Yet not one of the country’s best-known, most-acclaimed, highest-paid members of the major media noticed the corruption occurring right in front of them or else didn’t consider it important. America’s entire news business — the combined resources of major television and radio networks, major newspapers, magazines and wire services — didn’t see it or didn’t care.

Aided only by his small team of researchers, this independent investigative journalist with a reputation for fair and honest reporting has provided the American people with clear and compelling proof of widespread corruption at the highest levels of our government involving leading Democrats and leading Republicans alike.

It smells. How bad? Take a few good whiffs:

• While Joe Biden and John Kerry were negotiating sensitive diplomatic deals with the Chinese government, on the sidelines stood two new business partners with little expertise in China or even their new field — Vice President Biden’s son and Secretary Kerry’s step-son. The Chinese were delighted with the deals and for the U.S. making no real issue of China’s illegal, brazen creation of a new military base in international waters

Then — talk about coincidence — the Chinese bestowed upon the two sons unprecedented and incredibly lucrative business concessions. These include a couple of multi-billion-dollar equity deals. How many millions went into the pockets of the sons? It’s hidden. And they and their fathers refuse to answer questions about it. Note: U.S. anti-corruption law prohibits American companies from hiring or doing business deals with the children of foreign officials; it does not, however, prohibit foreign entities from doing business with the children of American officials.

• Before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell married Elaine Chao, currently Secretary of Transportation, he was a harsh China critic. He’s softened to the point where nowadays he, like his China-born wife, is more of an apologist. He’s helped China escape human rights abuses trade penalties and attempted to defend it from the consequences of its notorious currency manipulation practices. During this period Sen. McConnell’s net worth has soared, fueled largely by his father-in-law James Chao’s gifting him so many millions.

James Chao’s business is financially entangled with the Chinese government. Mr. McConnell’s father-in-law and sister-in-law, while American citizens, are active board members on a key sector of China’s military-industrial complex. Being in favor with our Chinese adversary built the family fortune; remaining in favor may send it soaring to higher heights; the thought of losing favor could force a choice between what’s best for personal wealth management and what’s best for America.

• Joe Biden and John Kerry funneled a few billion dollars to the corrupt government of Ukraine, including having U.S. taxpayers guarantee $1.8 billion in loans. The money flowed through a bank controlled by a controversial oligarch who had been banned from entering the United States. Joe Biden’s son teamed up with him, the ban was lifted — and, oh, more than $1 billion of the funds for Ukraine simply vanished from the oligarch’s bank.

And there’s so much more. “Secret Empires” has a large cast of shady characters and is packed with outrages that should make any red-blooded American’s blood boil.

Were it not for Peter Schweizer we might never have learned that any of this ever happened. This in itself is a scandal. A competent, conscientious, fair and honest media would have well before now fully informed the American people about each devious corrupt activity each of these very well-known “public servants” is guilty of. So why didn’t we know about any of this? Why didn’t we even have a clue?

The excuse the media will offer up is that they’re snowed under — way too much news to cover, far too few resources to devote to their work, not enough time. Utter nonsense — as evidenced by the fact that it’s only a problem when it involves something they’d prefer we not focus on and never a problem when it’s something they want us to consider big news, even when so often it’s not.

Fred J. Eckert, a former Republican congressman from New York, was U.S. ambassador to Fiji and to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture under President Ronald Reagan.

• • •

SECRET EMPIRES: HOW THE AMERICAN POLITICAL CLASS HIDES CORRUPTION AND ENRICHES FAMILY AND FRIENDS

By Peter Schweizer

Harper, $28.99, 336 pages


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