It's the Old Country Buffet of Pay-to-Play, and Of Course It Involves Paul Manafort

·2-min read
Photo credit: Yana Paskova - Getty Images
Photo credit: Yana Paskova - Getty Images

This particular archaeological expedition into the corruption of the previous administration* got by me. It features veteran bagman Paul Manafort, a big-time banker, and an administration* job allegedly for sale. It’s not King Tut’s tomb. It’s more like the smaller pyramid holding the sarcophagus of a minor pharaoh which, when opened, gives you histoplasmosis or aspergillis. Nevertheless, it’s worth exploring just what we learning from the documentation of the paintings of the walls. From the New York Times:

A jury in New York unanimously found the banker, Stephen M. Calk, 54, guilty of one count each of financial institution bribery and conspiracy to commit financial institution bribery. The charges stemmed from Mr. Calk’s use of his position as chairman and chief executive of the Federal Savings Bank to push the bank to give $16 million in loans in 2016 to Mr. Manafort, who served as chairman of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign during a key stretch. Just after the election, Mr. Calk sent Mr. Manafort a list of 10 positions ranked in order of preference, including Treasury secretary, commerce secretary and defense secretary, as well as 19 ambassadorships, which he also ranked, starting with Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

It’s the Old Country Buffet of pay-to-play!

At the time of the loans, Mr. Manafort was trying to stave off foreclosure on several properties and was pressed for cash to support an opulent lifestyle after a stream of payments from Ukrainian consulting clients ran dry. Mr. Manafort made two calls on Mr. Calk’s behalf in late 2016 to officials on Mr. Trump’s transition team, urging them to appoint Mr. Calk secretary of the Army, prosecutors said. Mr. Calk was interviewed at Trump Tower in 2017 for a job as under secretary of the Army, but was not hired.

So Manafort got the money and Calk got…nothing. If that doesn’t sum up the last administration, then nothing does. Even their corruption was crooked. Quids were mandatory, quos always optional. In most cases, that is.

Mr. Manafort’s seven-year prison sentence disappeared in December when Mr. Trump pardoned him. Mr. Calk, who is scheduled to be sentenced in January, faces a maximum of 35 years in prison for the two charges.

If you look around the table and you can’t figure out who the sucker is, etc.

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