Monday, October 01, 2007

More Dubious Fundraisers in the "Cult" of Clinton

Maybe we should just figure out if there are any legitimate Clinton donors and work our way from there.

Perhaps the crackhead investigative teams from Media Matters or can look into this rather than concocting bogus stories about the "enemy" media they purport to find so offensive.

A purported pyramid-scheme operator who was run out of Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor has reinvented himself as the head of an upstate group accused of being a "cult" - and his devotees have pumped thousands into Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential run.

Executives and top associates of the Albany-based NXIVM group - along with their family members - donated $29,900 to Clinton's presidential campaign, according to federal records.

On March 14 and April 13, records show, more than a dozen contributions poured into Clinton's coffers from NXIVM, an executive and group-awareness training organization led by Brooklyn-born Keith Raniere, 47.

Most were from first-time political donors, each giving the $2,300 maximum.

The revelation comes on the heels of the arrest of Norman Hsu, who raised $1.5 million in campaign contributions for the Clintons and other Democrats, even though he was technically a fugitive from fraud charges in California.

Hsu jumped bail in early September but was nabbed and is currently locked up in California.

In his previous incarnation, the Svengali-like Raniere ran a $30 million multilevel marketing business that imploded after federal agencies and regulators in 23 states alleged it was an illegal pyramid scheme.

He has managed to attract famous names to NXIVM.

Three of the March and April Clinton pledges came from Raniere's most high-profile followers: Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman, and Pamela Cafritz, daughter of D.C. A-listers Buffy and Bill Cafritz.

Cafritz shares a condo with Raniere.

The Bronfman sisters are also deeply involved with NXIVM and, according to a 2003 article in Forbes magazine, have loaned millions to the group and provided use of their jet.

Their father, Edgar Bronfman Sr., once took NXIVM classes but soon severed ties, telling Forbes, "It's a cult."
Naturally, the Clinton campaign dismissed any possible campaign finance violations, just as they did when the Hsu story first broke.
The Clinton campaign downplayed the significance of the NXIVM-related contributions.

"Over 100,000 people from across the country have contributed to Sen. Clinton's campaign for change, and regardless of who supports her, she will always continue to stand up for what she feels is right," said campaign spokesman Blake Zeff.
It's all about feelings.

This shady group also donated money the the New York State Republicans.
NXIVM spokesman Frank Roberts told The Post the organization doesn't have a presidential candidate it is officially backing.

Last month, the Albany Times Union reported that NXIVM associates gave $31,600 to the state Republican Senate Campaign Committee and provided $34,763 worth of air transportation.

The recent campaign contributions led one close observer of NXIVM to speculate that the group is trying to curry favor for its effort to expand training centers upstate.
This Keith Raniere sure sounds like a wacko.
At NXIVM - according to court papers, cult watchdogs and relatives of members - Raniere has defrauded devotees, shattered families and drove at least one person to suicide.

After four months attending NXIVM's expensive, "intensive" studies, Alaska resident Kristin Marie Snyder grew angry, depressed and irrational.

In winter 2003, she disappeared. Her family believes she drowned herself. Her body was not recovered. Snyder was last seen leaving a NXIVM course, and police released a note she left behind.

"I was brainwashed and my emotional center of the brain was killed/turned off," Snyder scrawled in a spiral notebook.
Here's a very interesting story on Mr. Raniere, who claims to have the highest IQ in the world. Read it all, but check out this part.
“I know what was done to me,” she continues. “I know what was done to my family. I know what they are doing to other families. I know how they mind-fuck people. I know how dangerous they are. I know how dangerous Nancy Salzman is, and Keith Raniere. They are very, very dangerous, scary people.

It has taken her six years of therapy, she says, to be able to talk at length about her experiences with Raniere. She still lives in fear, and she says, rarely leaves the house alone.

“The scary part of the organization,” Natalie says, “is that they have a philosophy, his philosophy . . . called ‘right action’ or ‘wrong action.’ And if he believes that something is ‘right action’ . . . it is OK to do whatever it takes. If you had to kill somebody, and it is for the betterment of the Family, it would be OK.
Another item here about NXIVM suing critics. Curious how their representation, Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood, are also donors to Mrs. Clinton, notably one Paul Kalb.

UPDATE: More from Michelle Malkin, Captain's Quarters.

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