Sunday, June 17, 2007

A leopard can't change his spots. Can Jere Nash?

Jere Nash, Democrat Operative extraordinaire and former campaign manager for Governor Ray Mabus, currently has a blog inThe Clarion-Ledger (

Last week he made a very interesting post concerning candidates for insurance commissioner taking campaign contributions from the insurance companies they will regulate. Mr. Nash wrote the following on his blog:

"In his wonderful new book, Twice Told Tombigbee Tales, Mike Mills remembers the advice former legislator Butch Lambert once gave to a young legislator about how to respond to all the fancy meals and receptions offered up by lobbyists during legislative sessions: “Son, if you can’t drink their whiskey, eat their steaks, smoke their cigars and vote against ‘em the next morning, you won’t ever be worth a damn in the Mississippi Legislature.” The same holds true in the world of campaign contributions, which means I tend to agree with Andy. Taking Anderson’s logic to just the next step means we should prohibit legislators from raising money from anyone who may have an issue come before the Legislature, which means no campaign contributions from anyone. Who gives a candidate money is not the issue. The issue is how a candidate once elected performs in office. And if I were the insurance industry, I’d be finding a way to support Gary Anderson, since polling I have seen currently has him in the driver’s seat."

One would think that as a Democrat (the party that usually decries the so-called "buying" of elections by corporations) he would oppose a candidate taking money from the companies he will be regulating. However, one must remember we are talking about Jere Nash, who was convicted for a few campaign shenanigans himself.

"Almost 55 months after confessing felonious conduct, Teamster money-laundering scandal figure, Jere Nash, has finally been sentenced. U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas P. Griesa (S.D.N.Y., Nixon) sentenced Nash Apr. 9 to a mere two years probation for his role in a series of schemes which lead to the embezzlement of some $885,000 from the Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters' treasury and to $538,100 in illegal campaign contributions to the failed reelection campaign of expelled IBT president Ron Carey. The sentencing appears to have been hush hush: the four N.Y.C. major dailies and the two Washington, D.C., dailies apparently did not cover the sentencing (as of Apr. 15), which is surprising given the red hot coverage of the scandal in the past.

Nash was Carey's campaign manager and pled guilty Sept. 18, 1997, to one count of conspiracy and one count of making false statements. Griesa agreed to show leniency to Nash, who served as the main prosecution witness in the failed perjury trial of Carey in Oct. 2001. "I have no intention of imposing a prison sentence," Griesa told Nash. Nash also testified against ex-IBT political director William Hamilton, who was convicted in Nov. 1999 and is serving a three-year prison term. Griesa ordered Nash to pay $25,000 in restitution, which has already been paid.

A bearded, bespectacled Nash apologized to the IBT before sentencing: "I felt so strongly about the need for Ron Carey to get elected that I was willing to substitute my judgment for the collective judgment of the union members that voted, and that was wrong." Nash faced up to three years in prison under sentencing guidelines, although prosecutors asked for less time because of his "substantial assistance." Griesa granted the request, noting that he had given probation to two other campaign aides convicted in the scheme. [Bloomberg News 4/9/02] This apparently was not a reference to Martin Davis and Michael Ansara, both of whom worked with Nash to facilitate the schemes and whom pled guilty on the same day. There has been no report that these two have been sentenced. Two minor scandal figures fund-raiser Charles Blitz and disbarred attorney Nathaniel Charny both received slaps on the wrists in 1998 and 2000, respectively. "

Felt so strongly? I seem to remember hearing similar words recently. In fact, I heard them yesterday uttered by Nifong as he tried to justify his crucifixion of the Duke lacrosse players. Mr. Nash merely got carried away? I think you will find that Mr. Nash was carried away not by a love for his candidate but instead by a love for something much more basic and understandable: money.

The Nation, that right-wing rag hated by liberals everywhere, informs us of the nature of some of these conspiracies:

"Nash's testimony also revealed that he may have been neck-deep in a shady conflict of interest. In 1996 he received $128,000 from Martin Davis's consulting firm, which was the largest vendor for the Carey campaign. This pay was ostensibly for six months of part-time work Nash did related to the Clinton-Gore campaign. (Nash's compensation from the Carey campaign was much less: $2,500 a month.) Nash simultaneously was managing the Carey campaign and employed by its biggest creditor. The swaps occurred when Nash and Davis were looking for money to pay for a $700,000 direct-mail push for the Carey campaign--a direct-mail effort to be handled by Davis and one that would result in large profits for his firm. With Davis his main income source, Nash, then, may have had a financial incentive to go along with Davis's swap scheme and not inform Carey of it. And as Carey's attorneys noted, Nash, who is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney, might be testifying against Carey to win a reduction in sentence. .....

it is important to understand that the affair may be a tale of political consultants perverting a union--and not one of traditional, top-down union corruption...."

No wonder he "felt so strongly" to get Carey elected.

A website with socialist leanings,, published the following report:

What Ron Carey did not know and what no one else on the Campaign staff or the Carey administration knew at the time was that while Nash was allegedly supposed to be working full-time for the Carey Campaign for a salary of $2,500 per month, he was also working for The November Group for a salary of $8,000 per month from April through June (allegedly part-time) and for $18,000 per month to work for them full-time from August through November, the final months of the Campaign. Furthermore, Nash not only worked for The November Group; but he was in charge of the Carey Campaign account at The November Group. In addition, it was revealed at the trial that Nash’s contract with The November Group provided lavish perks like first-class air travel for Nash and his family between Mississippi, where they lived, and Washington D.C., where campaign headquarters were located. And in December 1996, Nash got a $50,000 bonus!

In the spring, summer, and fall of 1996, Martin Davis, Michael Ansara, and Jere Nash came up with several illegal ways to raise Campaign funds, which would be funneled to The November Group, i.e., to themselves. One was soliciting funds from other union leaders. This is illegal and against the EO’s election rules and would have been vetoed by the Carey Campaign’s legal counsel and by Ron Carey had they been informed of such a plan. Under federal and EO rules, union leaders are considered “employers,” who are not allowed to contribute to union election campaigns. The other was “swap schemes”: to contribute union funds legally to non-profit or political action organizations and arrange that, in return, wealthy individuals who support these organizations or even the organizations themselves would contribute a certain lesser amount to the Campaign. "

So for $885,000, Mr. Nash "felt very strongly" indeed. Ironically this gives some weight to the charge that our criminal justice system is racist in nature. Nash and his cronies embezzled nearly a million dollars and yet he received no time in jail. If Nash was Black and had broken into a house, stolen the family jewelry and silver, then had been caught, he would have received some jail time. However, he steals nearly a million dollars with a pen and he walks away to his home and family because well, it was just politics and no one was harmed. It also says something to his character that he immediately flipped after he was caught and testified against everyone else. No G. Gordon Liddy is he.

When Mr. Nash writes in The Clarion-Ledger that it is fine for a candidate or office-holder to take campaign contributions from those they regulate, please remember his history. It is to be expected that he favors such a policy as it is consistent with his past history of felonious behavior. He tries to justify this by comparing the office of insurance commissioner to a seat in the legislature. The difference is the legislature writes laws while bound by certain laws of ethics. The legislature does not directly regulate companies, issue them licenses, set their rates, adjudicate disputes involving them, and punish them when they are in violation of state laws. The Insurance Commissioner can not recuse himself or everyone that works for him from dealing with campaign donors the way a legislator can on legislation that might involve a potential conflict of interest. Mr. Nash, a very smart man, knows this, and once again reveals his amoral compass. In Mr. Nash's mind, what matters is who gets elected, not how the candidate is elected. For Mr. Nash, conflict of interest is unfortunately not a crime but is instead a way of life. Apparently, the spots are still the same on this leopard.

Update: I just had a thought. He embezzled that much money from the Teamsters? Yet he is still alive?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wondered what happened to Jere Nash after he left the failed Mabus Administration. Now I know. He was stealing money with a "tricky pin." Now he writes a blog for the Clarion-Ledger. Democrats and liberals stick together.

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