The errors about me in “Hillary’s Mystery Money Men,” by Russ Baker and Adam Federman [Nov. 5], are countless, but some are especially inexcusable:
1. The very premise of the article is false. If Baker and Federman had called the Hillary Clinton campaign, they would have learned that I am not a secret force there. As Howard Wolfson, the campaign’s communications director, said, “Mr. Quasha is not an adviser, nor in the inner circle, nor a fundraiser for the campaign. In short, Mr. Quasha has no role in this Campaign.” In fact, I am openly backing Mitt Romney for President.
2. Shamefully, the authors use innuendo to link me to disgraced political fundraiser Norman Hsu. I have never met Hsu, had dealings with him or spoken with him.
3. The article quotes unsubstantiated statements by disgruntled Carret ex-employee Joseph Wozny that I went to former President Clinton’s office “quite a few times.” I have never set foot inside President Clinton’s office, much less had a “meeting” with him.
4. My father, the late William Quasha, did not have a “close friendship” with Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos; in fact, they were well-known adversaries. Although the authors have no qualms about smearing people, my father led an exemplary life. He served on General MacArthur’s staff for four years during World War II and then in the active reserve (not the intelligence community). As a lawyer in Manila, he fought for the rights of his clients against Marcos’s tyranny. My father devoted his spare time to local charities, and when he died, he left all his assets to charity.
5. The insinuations against Harken Energy are false. When I was nonexecutive chairman, Harken’s major shareholders were George Soros, Harvard University and a joint venture I headed; none had ties with “BCCI,” “Saudi frontmen,” “a foreign dictator” or “figures with intelligence ties.”
6. Space prevents me from correcting other errors about Harken Energy (e.g., the misrepresentation of Harken’s financial record) or the innuendo that the SEC’s investigation of George W. Bush was terminated for political reasons. These are old accusations, long ago disproven in the public record. Similarly, neither the SEC nor any other government agency ever brought an action against Harken, and Harken was never sued, by anyone, for wrongdoing.
7. Renee Carret is evidently misquoted. She resigned from Carret Asset Management before we acquired it, because of her long-running dispute with its former CEO. I have never met Ms. Carret.
8. The article’s statement that “Quasha & Co…also appear to be helping the repressive Chinese government keep an eye on its own people” is false. As an investment bank, Brean Murray handles many securities offerings; to say it abets repression by representing a private company in a small private placement betrays your ignorance. Moreover, I am not an officer of Brean Murray and had no involvement in the CSST placement. And, according to CSST’s SEC filings, its revenues mostly come from commercial, not government, sales.
9. Terry McAuliffe was hired by Hassan Nemazee, not me. Nemazee is indeed a well-known Democratic fundraiser; my contributions to the Clinton campaign were made at his request, not McAuliffe’s.
10. The statements about Carret’s Washington office reflect sloppy work. The office was neither opened to lay groundwork for the Clinton campaign nor closed because McAuliffe left Carret. Instead, Carret (and other tenants) vacated the McPherson building for other space in April because of renovations. The statement that other tenants were unaware Carret had space in the building is mystifying. Carret had a nameplate on the door and was listed in the lobby directory.
11. Using vague quotes from former BCCI prosecutor John Moscow is inexcusable. There has never been any legal action tying Harken to BCCI, and Moscow has never had any dealings with me.
I am neither “mysterious” nor “notorious,” except in the eyes of people who hurt others for their own political purposes. The Nation says its mission is to “wage war… upon the vices of…exaggeration and misrepresentation,” but it looks like exaggeration and misrepresentation are the norm there.
ALAN G. QUASHA
“Hillary’s Mystery Money Men” has been swiftly discredited upon publication. Russ Baker and Adam Federman failed to conduct a basic fact-check before publication, resulting in significant errors about myself and others, to which I now draw your attention.
Two inherent problems relate to me personally: when I did respond to questions from the authors, the information I provided was not included in the article. When I did not respond to questions from the authors, they simply made up their own facts. (Perhaps this is why the authors circumvented the fact-checking process.)
I won’t detail each error across every page of this sloppy piece of journalism; others featured in the piece have already registered their complaints and corrections. Instead, I summarize the major facts the authors simply got wrong:
1. I did not receive $18 million for the sale of my Global Crossing interests. Please refer to pages 318-20 in my bestselling memoir, What a Party!
2. For the record, yet again: in 2005, after I had completed my term as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, my good friend Hassan Nemazee hired me at Carret Asset Management as vice chairman. This was a nonexecutive advisory role, a role I had played for numerous other companies.
3. The authors embarrass themselves when they intimate that I intentionally omitted my Carret involvement from my bestselling memoir, What a Party!, and infer that I was trying to conceal my involvement. But had they simply picked up the book in the course of their investigative journalism, they would have seen that it ends with the day I drove away from the Democratic National Committee.
4. The authors infer that I “weighed in” on hedge funds in a speech at the 2006 investors’ conference for Brean Murray Carret. I did not give a speech about hedge funds; I gave an overview of the upcoming midterm elections. I give speeches across and outside the United States, and the topic is always politics.
5. Quasha has articulated his many concerns already, but I will reiterate several key points involving Quasha’s and my name:
a. I was not hired at Carret by Quasha.
b. Quasha never once set foot in Carret’s Washington office.
c. Quasha has never had a role in the Clinton campaign. (If the authors had bothered to contact the campaign staff, they would have quickly learned this.)
This article has proven to be an embarrassment for all involved: the authors, who did not bother to fact-check; me and others who found themselves in an error-laden piece; and The Nation, whose reputation of quality journalism on progressive issues is now soundly tarnished.
TERENCE R. McAULIFFE
BAKER & FEDERMAN REPLY
New York City
Terry McAuliffe’s letter is a masterful effort at obfuscation and indirection. In fact, McAuliffe never responded directly to any of our numerous attempts to interview him, nor did he respond to a detailed list of questions we submitted. When we last communicated with his spokesperson, Tracy Sefl, she said, “He’s been familiar with the material from the first time we spoke. I don’t have answers, and I don’t think there will be answers.” We did include the entirety of the sparse information Sefl was able to provide us–namely, that McAuliffe was an adviser to Carret.
Both McAuliffe and Alan Quasha claim erroneously that we did not contact the Clinton campaign. As campaign chair, McAuliffe, at least, should know otherwise. Not only did we contact him (through two different offices), we also exchanged e-mails with Hillary Clinton’s traveling press secretary, Jay Carson, and told Carson that our forthcoming article would deal with Clinton, McAuliffe, Quasha and Quasha’s partner, Hassan Nemazee.
McAuliffe’s complaint about our mention of his Global Crossing stock is baffling. On page 318 of his memoir, he mentions the stock but not how much of it he sold or how much he received for it–only that as a private investor he “was under no obligation to share that information.” However, in 1999 he told the New York Times that he received about $18 million. A few years later his spokesperson said the Times had “created” the figure. But in his memoir McAuliffe relates an encounter on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes. When asked about the $18 million, McAuliffe replied, “What are you, jealous or something?”
It hardly matters whether Quasha set foot in Carret’s Washington office, but in any case we do not say he did. As to whether Quasha is a secret force behind the Clinton campaign, that is not our focus, and we don’t think it really matters whether it was Quasha, as chair of Carret, or his partner Nemazee who technically hired McAuliffe as company vice chair. The fact is that Quasha donated the maximum to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and, more important, the company owned by him and Nemazee, a top Clinton fundraiser, hired McAuliffe in 2005.
On the hedge fund issue: in our list of questions to McAuliffe we asked him about his 2006 speech, but McAuliffe did not respond, and Brean Murray, Carret was unable to provide a transcript. Nevertheless, according to advance publicity material, the subject of his speech would be not just “politics” (as McAuliffe claims) but “the current political debate in Washington, DC and its impact on Wall Street and the status of potential further hedge fund regulation.”
Quasha’s claims, many extraneous to our article, are no more substantive than McAuliffe’s. Harken’s many indirect ties to BCCI have been well documented for years; a quick Google search will tell the story. Nonetheless, we do not assert that there has ever been legal action tying Harken to BCCI, and we do not say Quasha “had dealings” with John Moscow, whose office, in its BCCI-related prosecutions, obtained sixteen convictions and $1.65 billion in restitution for the victims of the largest banking fraud in history.
As for Harken’s financial record, Platts Energy Economist describes the company as “a modern economic marvel,” somehow staying afloat after having accumulated $370 million in losses over a thirty-year period. In 1991 the SEC forced the company to restate its earnings.
We are unaware of any evidence supporting Quasha’s claim that his father and Marcos were “well-known adversaries.” According to Platts, William Quasha, a Manila-based attorney, was a “close acquaintance” of Marcos. And in 1986 William Quasha pronounced the disputed re-election of Marcos “the least dishonest and least bloody” election since Philippine independence from the United States, in a statement printed in the progovernment press. The American Chamber of Commerce condemned his defense of the election and of Marcos and issued its own statement deploring his “partisan approach.”
Regarding Alan Quasha’s company’s activities in China, here are the facts: Carret Asset Management, through an affiliate called Carret Securities, acquired Brean Murray & Co. in 2005. In 2006 Brean Murray, Carret acted as the sole placement agent in a major transaction facilitating the manufacture of surveillance systems to monitor Internet activity in China. House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Tom Lantos recently called US involvement in the Chinese surveillance industry “an absolutely incredible phenomenon of extreme corporate irresponsibility.”
On the assertions by Joe Wozny and Renee Carret, we did not misquote either. Also, Wozny never expressed animosity toward Quasha or Carret; he simply volunteered that Quasha and Bill Clinton had met numerous times. As for Carret, we interviewed her on several occasions, by phone and in person. She told us she left the firm at the time of Quasha’s takeover and stated that Quasha called to invite her to lunch, unaware that she had already resigned.
Quasha does not dispute that Carret’s Washington office was closed after McAuliffe left. As for what was written on the door, those who worked on the same floor and who visited McAuliffe and Peter O’Keefe on several occasions did not recall a nameplate or what it said–they only recalled thinking of the office simply as McAuliffe’s and said they had never heard of Carret.
Finally, let us underline the central question in our article, one neither McAuliffe nor Quasha chooses to address in his letter: did the hiring of McAuliffe have anything to do with his ties to top Democrats, and especially Hillary Clinton?
RUSS BAKER AND ADAM FEDERMAN