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July 14, 2004
Democratic Fundraiser/Panderer Has Friends In High Places

Some people consider politics to be little more than prostitution -- the selling of one's self for campaign financing and the votes of the electorate. Unfortunately, when faced with a federal investigation of his campaign contributions, real-estate entrepeneur Charles Kushner relied on his political pimping skills for Democrats, attempting to thwart the probe by literally screwing the feds out of a witness:

Real estate developer and political fund-raiser Charles Kushner of Livingston, New Jersey, was charged by federal prosecutors Tuesday with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and interstate promotion of prostitution. ...

In February 2003, Christie's office began investigating Kushner for alleged violation of federal tax and fraud statutes and for purported violation of federal campaign contribution laws. According to the indictment, two of the cooperating witnesses in the investigation -- a married couple described as close relatives of Kushner -- provided information against him to federal investigators.

The indictment alleges that Kushner initiated "a scheme to orchestrate a covert videotaped seduction" of the cooperating male witness in an attempt to thwart the investigation. The indictment says Kushner recruited two individuals to hire a woman to have sex with the male witness and later instructed them to mail the videotape to the man's wife, who was the other cooperating witness in the investigation.

Nor is this Kushner's first time in trouble with the law. The FEC levied a half-million-dollar fine against him last month for laundering contributions to political candidates through his corporations. Kushner apparently decided to exercise some professional courtesy by hiring people from the world's oldest profession and bring them into his efforts at the world's oldest pastime -- covering one's butt. Unfortunately, Kushner appears to be somewhat of a loser; not only does his own family rat him out, but he can't even hire two hookers without the feds tumbling to the scheme.

And this is a Jersey guy?

Meanwhile, Kushner's client list must be feeling some heat from this arrest. The amateur pimp procured vast amounts of money for some high-profile pols, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, New Jersey governor James McGreevey (who nominated Kushner to run the Port Authority in 2003) ... and John Kerry, a guy whose name people might also recognize.

So Kerry is involved in yet another campaign-finance scandal! At least this time no evidence exists that Kerry did anything unusual to foster the relationship, at least not yet. But I find it interesting in the extreme that CNN held that little nugget of information out until the 13th paragraph of the story. Had Kushner been a Republican fundraiser, do you think that would have been an afterthought in this story? Or would you suppose that instead of running this article in its "Law Center" section with the headline, "New Jersey fund-raiser charged,", it would have run in the Politics or News section with the headline, "Bush Backer Indicted In Prostitution-Blackmail Attempt"?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 14, 2004 6:08 AM

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