Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Billionaire Vulture Paul Singer Has Been Bribing Rubio To Help His Corrupt Business For Quite Some Time


Sunday started off with an explanation of the connection between Marco Rubio and vulture investor Paul Singer, who is now trying-- along with several other slimy billionaires-- to buy Rubio the white House. (Don't worry... Ted Cruz has his own equally horrid billionaires trying to buy the presidency for him.) Everyone more or less assumed that Singer was willing to invest heavily in Rubio because of their shared virulent Zionism and because of Rubio's consistent pledges to drastically lower taxes on billionaires, coupled with his perceived electability. But then Jonathan Marshall, writing for ConsortiumNews reported a key element most reporters have missed, not that the Singer's embrace signals an establishment shift away from Jeb, but that "Rubio earned that affection by advancing Singer’s high-stakes financial fight with Argentina."

Marshall points out Rubio's "political support for Singer’s efforts to drain more than $1.5 billion dollars from Argentina in payments on old bonds that lost most of their value after the country defaulted in 2001." In the Sunday discussion of Singer's corruption, we mentioned how he bribed GOP congressman Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm with $38,000 to get him to use his congressional office to extort Argentina. Grimm is in prison for other (unrelated) corrupt practices but he isn't the only Republican who helped Singer with his disgraceful vulture operation against Argentina.
...Bloomberg noted, “Singer has repeatedly been labeled a ‘vulture investor’ by the emerging-market countries whose bonds he has bought and by development organizations such as Oxfam International that back forgiveness of poor countries’ debt.” The Guardian described the debt vulture model this way: “Vulture funds operate by buying up a country’s debt when it is in a state of chaos. When the country has stabilized, vulture funds return to demand millions of dollars in interest repayments and fees on the original debt. … It has been 16 years since most of the world began writing off the debts of the world’s poorest countries, but the vulture funds, a club of between 26 and 35 speculators, have ignored the debt concerts by pop stars such as Bono and pleas from the likes of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to give the countries a break and a chance to get back on their feet.”
It now looks like Singer is repaying Rubio for his willingness to fight his anti-Argentine battles and drag the U.S. Senate into it despite warnings from the State Department not to.
Singer’s Elliott Management bought that debt several years ago for less than $50 million, and then successfully sued in U.S. court to demand full recovery of the face amount-- in the face of opposition from the Obama administration, most other bondholders, and, above all, Argentina’s government, led by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Singer, who is famous for his bare-knuckles tactics against foreign governments, has gone after Kirchner’s government on all fronts. Most strategically, he supported the highly questionable claims by an Argentine prosecutor that the Kirchner government tried to cover up the involvement of the Iranian government in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people.

The issue was perfect for a smear campaign: targeting alleged Iranian terrorism and government anti-Semitism, Singer could undercut the legitimacy of the one entity standing between him and huge profits on his speculative bond purchases.

Singer’s Elliot Management is a major backer of American Task Force Argentina, which advocates for full repayment of the Argentine bonds and has spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress. It also spends big bucks to blacken Argentina’s reputation.

As Huffington Post reported in 2013, the group “has launched a broad attack on Argentina in its PR campaign. … Politico ad, paid for by ATFA, slammed the country as a safe haven for narcotics traffickers. Another ATFA ad accuses Argentine President Cristina Kirchner of making a ‘pact with the Devil,’ pointing to a legal memo between her country and Iran involving Argentina’s effort to prosecute Iranian defendants in a terrorism case.”

As one of its lobbyists told Huffington Post, “We do whatever we can to get our government and media’s attention focused on what a bad actor Argentina is.”

An investigation by Charles Davis for Inter Press Service showed that employees of Singer’s Elliott Management contributed more than $95,000 to Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, who wrote a letter denouncing President Kirchner’s agreement with Iran to investigate the 1994 bombing.

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-NY, who received $38,000 from Elliott Management employees, co-sponsored legislation demanding that Argentina’s bondholders receive full compensation, and called for an investigation of Argentina’s ties with Iran. Other recipients of Singer’s largesse-- including AIPAC, The Israel Project and the American Enterprise Institute-- also hammered the Kirchner government, virtually accusing it of anti-Semitism.

Last year, another member of Congress got in on the act: Sen. Marco Rubio. While grilling President Obama’s nominee as U.S. ambassador to Argentina, Rubio complained that Buenos Aires “doesn’t pay bondholders, doesn’t work with our security operations. . . .  These aren’t the actions of an ally.”

Adding a dig at President Kirchner, he added, “We have this trend in Latin America of people who get elected but then don’t govern democratically. Argentina is an example of this.” His speech triggered an angry response from Kirchner’s Foreign Minister Hector Timerman-- an Argentine Jew-- calling Rubio an “extremist.”

This May, Rubio introduced a resolution in the Senate suggesting that Kirchner conspired to “cover up Iranian involvement in the 1994 terrorist bombing.” Rubio declared that the issues in the case “extend well beyond Argentina and involve the international community, and more importantly, U.S. national security.”

As Eli Clifton noted, “It turns out that Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Management, was Rubio’s second largest source of campaign contributions between 2009 and 2014, providing the presidential hopeful with $122,620, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.” Let's not forget that Singer gave Rubio $117,000 the same day Congress passed Dodd-Frank-- which Rubio voted to repeal 4 times.

When Kirchner herself had the temerity this spring to link Singer to various neoconservative attacks on her policies, citing a “global modus operandi” to coerce foreign states, the reliably neoconservative editorial page of the Washington Post published an editorial reply titled, “Argentina’s President Resorts to Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories.”

To which Jim Lobe and Charles Davis, citing a long list of Singer connections to Kirchner’s critics, replied, “follow the money.” That advice, made famous in the movie version of Watergate’s Deep Throat, remains the best guide to understanding billionaire funding of candidates in the 2016 election.
And believe me, this isn't going to be a topic brought up by any moderators in the next Republican debate... nor the one after that.

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