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May 8, 2006
Meet Hillary's Backers, Dear John Edition (Bumped!)

Hillary Clinton may have owe a few explanations for the company she kept on her path to the Senate and her presumed presidential bid in 2008. The explanation for John Burgess and International Profit Associates will make for an interesting read, as the company's owner -- a convicted thief and john of an underage prostitute -- has emerged as one of Hillary's most prominent contributors:

John R. Burgess makes for an improbable courtier of presidents, or of a senator who might become one.

A disbarred New York lawyer with a criminal record for attempted larceny and patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute, Mr. Burgess owns International Profit Associates, a management consulting company in Illinois.

Federal authorities are pressing a sexual harassment suit against the company on behalf of 113 former female employees.

The Illinois attorney general is investigating accusations of deceptive marketing tactics, officials say, and the company has been the subject of 470 complaints to the Better Business Bureau across the nation in the past three years. ...

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has collected more than $150,000 in contributions from executives of International Profit Associates, some as recently as September, and spoke at a company event in 2004. As a group, company officials and their spouses are one of the largest sources of contributions to Mrs. Clinton's re-election campaign.

The IPA has generated a lot of contributions for political candidates, almost all of them prominent Democrats. Rod Blagojevich, the Democratic governor of Illinois, got over $125,000 from IPA and its employees, and wound up returning the money in 2002. So did Andrew Cuomo, the son of former governor Mario Cuomo, who returned $20,000 the same year after running for governor. Oddly, this did not dissuade Hillary from accepting thousands of dollars from this same source after Blagojevich and Cuomo discovered the seamier side of IPA. For instance, Hillary received 38 donations of $2,000 apiece on the same day from IPA employees (12/15/2003). Under a different formulation of the company's name, Clinton received another four donations on 4/16/2005 of $2,000 each from three different people. Those two days account for almost $90,000 Clinton took from IPA employees well after the issues with the company had become known.

What did Burgess do to earn his police record? In 1988, New York disbarred Burgess for stealing over $15,000 from a client's bank account and pled guilty to attempted grand larceny. In 1984, he pled guilty to hiring a 16-year-old prostitute. IPA also has falsely represented Burgess as a White House advisor for small business well after these incidents occurred. A special fund created for reimbursing fraud victims of New York attorneys has shelled out over $30,000 to Burgess clients.

He hasn't done much better since. IPA has an unsatisfactory rating from the Better Business Bureau, which received 470 complaints against the consultancy. The BBB says the company refuses to address core concerns over its high-pressure sales tactics, bad customer service, and aggressive collections. The Illinois attorney general has opened an investigation of IPA for its business practices after receiving over 200 complaints since 2001. And for a politician lauded by feminists for her pioneering career, taking so much money from a company facing a class-action lawsuit for sexual harassment that includes 113 plaintiffs has to look particularly hypocritical -- and will remind voters of the same hypocrisy that arose from her husband's importuning of at least one low-level White House intern.

It seems that Hillary and shady financial backers attract each other. Last Sunday we noted the relationship between the Clintons and billionaire Ronald Burkle, who put Bill Clinton on the payroll in a position that could net the Clintons millions of dollars for almost no effort whatsoever. In March, the New York Sun reported on Hillary's connections to South Korean real-estate financier Hyung Young "Daniel" Lee, who resigned his post as ambassador after his control of a political slush fund came to light. Once again, the Clintons appear determined to grab power through the use of any money they can find, regardless of the source or the association that cash carries.

UPDATE AND BUMP: I have received some encouragement for further investigation into IPA, such as this comment from Catman1:

I became more and more disgusted with the level of corruption in the day to day operations with the company and left them for a different type of consulting company. They refused to send me my last two weeks of pay as punishment for going to a different company. I did attempt to recover the money via Illinois system, but was unsuccessful. They sent a young woman from the company that I knew as a secretary to one of the executives and had given her the title of Human Resources Director. She then testified that she had a signed copy of an employment contract in their files (she hadn't brought the signed copy though, just a blank copy). Needless to say, I had never signed the contract that they showed the administrative judge.

In retrospect, I have always thought that I got off easy because it did take me six or seven months to realize how corrupt this organization was and to then make a decision to leave.

What happened to me is really just a microcosm of what this company does for a living. They go into small businesses and give them a "cut-and-paste" plan to create higher levels of profit and charge them an outrageous price per hour. The cost would be worth it if the results were real increases in profitability. If the process fails in the client company, there is no true recourse or follow up available.

All of which makes it even more curious that Hillary would continue her association with IPA, even after its business practices became well known and even after Andrew Cuomo cut ties with the group. If anyone has any first-hand knowledge of IPA's practices and its association with the Clintons, e-mail me with the subject line "IPA".

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 8, 2006 7:23 AM

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