Monday, March 13, 2006

Over the weekend, the good Roger Ailes linked to this Washington Post story about Fred Malek, who's apparently been a creep even longer than he's been a top Republican mover and shaker.

The Post story notes that in 1959, when Malek was 22, he and some friends got rip-roaring drunk and decided to skin and eat a dog -- a stunt for which they were arrested. No big deal, you might say -- except that, as the Post story notes, not long afterward Malek was the White House chief of personnel and agreed, at Richard Nixon's request, to examine the Bureau of Labor Statistics in order to determine how many Jews worked there. (Nixon felt there was a "Jewish cabal" at the BLS.) And more recently Malek (who's looking to become an owner of the Washington Nationals baseball team) has run afoul of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Two words that don't show up in the Post story, however, are "George" and "Bush." As Timothy Noah noted in Slate in 2001, Malek was the elder Bush's "hand-picked deputy chairman for the Republican National Committee," but was forced to resign in 1988 when his role as Nixon's Jew-counter surfaced. This didn't prevent Poppy from making Malek an adviser to his 1992 campaign. Nor did it prevent the younger George Bush from turning to Malek for help in forming a group to buy the Texas Rangers baseball team.

By the way, here's part of the Post's account of Malek's SEC troubles:

The SEC charged that in 1998 the Connecticut treasurer, Paul J. Silvester, used state pension investments in Malek's company to reward a friend and political supporter, William DiBella, former majority leader of the Connecticut Senate.

The SEC charged that Malek, who was seeking state money for investment in one of [his company] Thayer's funds, hired DiBella and paid him a percentage of the state pension fund's total investment with Malek's company, "even though DiBella had no prior involvement with the transaction and ultimately performed no meaningful work related to the investment." DiBella understood from Silvester that he didn't have to do any work for Malek or his company and that Silvester even increased the amount of the pension fund's investment with Malek "by at least $25 million (to a total of $75 million) solely to secure a larger fee for DiBella," according to the SEC News Digest.

Hmmm -- a politically connected guy participating in a deal with Malek and making a lot of money while not doing very much? Where have I heard this before?

[George W.] Bush ... received $15 million for his share of the Texas Rangers franchise....

Bush's stake in the team, just under 2 percent, [had been] among the smallest. He purchased his shares with a $500,000 loan from a Midland bank of which he had been a director and eventually scraped together another $106,000 to buy out two other limited partners....

... While ... the other partners remained in the background, George W. behaved as if he were "the owner" of the Rangers. He attended every home game and even printed "baseball cards" bearing his own picture to hand out from his box.

(The big money in Texas, of course, came as the result of an extremely cushy deal to finance a new stadium with tax revenues. As Timothy Noah continues to point out in Slate, Malek is quite likely to benefit from a similar taxpayer-subsidized deal if his group succeeds in acquiring the D.C. baseball team.)

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