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Robert Mercer Invested Offshore Dark Money to Sink Clinton. He Must Be Delighted

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By Jill Abramson, Guardian UK
11 November 17

According to the Paradise Papers, billionaire Robert Mercer achieved his political objectives while making very nice tax savings writes Jill Abramson

Even as he attempts to retreat further into the shadows of dark money, Robert Mercer can’t hide.

The reclusive hedge fund billionaire recently turned over his political operations to other family members, but his outsized role in electing Donald Trump keeps reverberating. A cache of leaked documents known as the Paradise Papers and further reporting by the Guardian revealed on Tuesday that Mercer used secret offshore companies in Bermuda to avoid taxes and fund his efforts to sink Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Leaked documents and newly obtained public filings showed how the Mercer family built a $60m war chest for conservative causes inside their family foundation by using an offshore investment vehicle to legally avoid US tax. Among the gifts from the foundation was $4.7m the Mercers gave to the Government Accountability Institute run by Steve Bannon.

Mercer used the Bermuda companies to avoid a little-known US tax of up to 39% on tens of millions of dollars in investment profits amassed by the foundation and a retirement fund for the staff of Mercer’s hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies.

Bannon’s group was crucially important because it helped create the only dossier on Russian collusion that actually affected the outcome of the 2016 election. This was not the infamous document compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which had its own secret funding (more on that below).

It was the manuscript for the book, Clinton Cash, written by Peter Schweizer and paid for by the Government Accountability Institute. Schweizer is now editor-at-large at Bannon’s Breitbart News, also funded by the Mercers.

Clinton Cash included material derived from investigative reporting by legitimate journalists and some new donor records from the Clinton Foundation, adding a few original nuggets here and there. Its most damaging finding focused on a Russian uranium deal and a multimillion-dollar contributor to the Clinton Foundation.

The book laid out a corrupt quid pro quo in which Hillary Clinton’s state department approved the deal for Russia to acquire large US uranium assets after large contributions to the foundation from the donor and his associates.

There were obvious holes in the story. Clinton herself said she had nothing to do with approving the deal. The state department was one of nine federal agencies involved in the 2010 decision and usually approved such foreign transactions. When Trump seized on the story as a central part of his Crooked Hillary brief, Politifact rated it “mostly wrong”.

Still, Bannon, flush with the cash from Mercer’s tax-averse foundation, had amazing success getting the Schweizer dossier into the right hands, the mainstream media. The New York Times and Washington Post forged “exclusive” deals to see the Clinton Cash manuscript (AKA dossier) before publication and to use it for leads.

In April 2015 the Times published a splashy takeout on the uranium deal, also suggesting, albeit more carefully than Schweizer did, a quid pro quo. Bannon, according to the book Devil’s Bargain, considered this a triumph. Injecting a clearly partisan book into the bloodstream of the mainstream press was indeed a feat, one that damaged Clinton, as her trust and honesty ratings began a nosedive in polls.

The manuscript of the 2015 book was really the only “dossier” to do damage in the campaign. The Steele dossier, commissioned first by a conservative newspaper during the Republican primaries and then funded by a law firm that represented Clinton, became public only after the election and remains one of the murky clues in Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Just as Mueller’s expected indictment of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, began to dominate the headlines, President Trump began ranting about the uranium deal all over again and calling on the FBI to investigate. This was classic Trump, the master of distraction. As the Russia noose was moving closer to his own neck, he let loose on Twitter and in White House statements. “Your real Russia story is uranium,” he repeated, once again decrying any allegation of Russian collusion with his own campaign as “a hoax”.

Fox and the rest of the rightwing press have also dusted off the uranium story, pinning their hopes on an FBI informant and a story published by a Washington DC newspaper, the Hill. The informant’s Republican lawyer claims he has more damaging information that may become public. We’ll see.

Another old scandal, Clinton’s supposedly unholy deal with the Democratic National Committee to screw Bernie Sanders out of the Democratic nomination has also come roaring back. This reprise comes via a new book by Donna Brazile, the Democratic apparatchik. But the early party help Clinton got was more or less known last summer when the Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee’s emails was first disclosed.

As the Democratic convention began, Brazile’s predecessor resigned. On 24 July, 2016, the Washington Post reported, “Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida was forced aside by the release of thousands of embarrassing emails among party officials that appeared to show coordinated efforts to help Clinton at the expense of her rivals in the Democratic primaries.”

Brazile’s book provides more details, but so what? Between President Trump on uranium and the big headlines about Brazile’s book, you’d think Hillary Clinton was still running for president.

No doubt, the Clinton-hater Robert Mercer must be delighted. His original investment in the Government Accountability Institute has more than paid off. He not only managed to finance the successful election of Trump, but also to see his original plan to kill Clinton come back to life. And, according to the Paradise Papers, all of this was accomplished at a very nice tax saving.

It’s a Trifecta. Call it the Bermuda Triangle.

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/46790-robert-mercer-invested-offshore-dark-money-to-sink-clinton-he-must-be-delighted

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Mercer is also a principal in Cambridge Analytica, the data-mining firm that's involved with the Trump/Russia mess.

The Daily Beast reported last week that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is looking into a data analytics company called Cambridge Analytica as part of its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/16/15657512/cambridge-analytica-trump-kushner-flynn-russia

The article is worth a read. Curiouser and curiouser...

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Deus X wrote:Mercer is also a principal in Cambridge Analytica, the data-mining firm that's involved with the Trump/Russia mess.

The Daily Beast reported last week that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is looking into a data analytics company called Cambridge Analytica as part of its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/16/15657512/cambridge-analytica-trump-kushner-flynn-russia

The article is worth a read. Curiouser and curiouser...

I knew about Cambridge Analytica, the Bannon connection, the Kellyanne Conway connection, etc., etc. No hard evidence yet, but it's coming. Anyone who can't connect these dots is a blooming idiot.

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