TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Brad Woodhouse, President, American Bridge 21st Century
RE: What you don’t know about the “Clinton Cash” author
DATE: May 3, 2015
The author of “Clinton Cash,” the latest conservative hatchet job against Hillary Clinton, is a right-wing Republican operative who was an advisor to Sarah Palin and a speechwriter for President George W. Bush. But what you might not know about Peter Schweizer is that he has deep ties to the Koch brothers and the right-wing billionaire bankrolling Sen. Ted Cruz’s nascent campaign. He’s a current contributor to conservative blog Breitbart and is the president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI).
“Clinton Cash” has already been repeatedly debunked by reporters given early access to the accusations, which is no surprise given Schweizer’s history as a conservative researcher peddling misleading and false attacks that have discredited his work. American Bridge today released a video of FOX, ABC, NBC, and MSNBC anchors confronting Schweizer during his media blitz with the pesky fact that he doesn’t have any evidence for his theories.
Even Schweizer admits that he found “no direct evidence” of any wrongdoing by Clinton. Schweizer’s publisher, HarperCollins, expressly discloses that the book “does not allege illegal or unethical behavior.” When reading the coverage swirling around “Clinton Cash” or the anti-Clinton book itself, consider Schweizer’s past:
- Schweizer’s deep ties to Koch brothers
As with just about any dubious attack on Democrats, the Koch brothers are inextricably connected to Schweizer. The Koch brothers might have funneled $1.5 million to Schweizer through donations from Donors Trust, which a former top IRS official has said the Kochs use as an anonymous pass through for their donations.
In return, Schweizer has spoken to several Koch groups. In February 2014, he gave a speech to the Charles Koch Institute. In March 2014, Schweizer spoke to Regent University’s Koch Leadership Program for undergraduates. And according to The Nation, Schweizer spoke to the Kochs’ annual summer conference in June 2014.
- Billionaire bankrolling Cruz campaign also funds Schweizer
Robert Mercer is a key backer of Cruz’s campaign and is the primary donor behind the network of four Cruz-allied Super PACs that raised $31 million already. He’s also funneled at least $2.5 million to the Koch brothers’ Freedom Partners Action Fund and earned the title “ultimate behind-the-scenes kingmaker” during the 2014 midterm elections.
The Mercer Family Foundation, which is headed by Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah Mercer, donated $1 million to Schweizer’s GAI in 2013 alone. Rebekah Mercer was also on the Board of Directors at GAI. And ever since Bob Mercer funneled $2.5 million to the Koch’s Freedom Partners Action Fund, they’ve been recruiting Rebekah Mercer to join their sprawling political network.
As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explained, “When you take a closer look at Mr. Schweizer’s organization and who is backing him, it is a who’s who of big right-wing funders.”
- Schweizer attacked Clinton in 2008 book
Schweizer wrote a 2008 book called “Makers and Takers” that was filled with personal attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton, but is trying to sell “Clinton Cash” as “bipartisan citizen action” in the intro to the book.
He said Hillary Clinton had an “impressive record of public whining.” He argued that Clinton’s and other Democrats’ focus on income inequality meant they were obsessed with money and “preoccupied with material things.” He even attacked Clinton’s advice on raising children, saying “Liberals Who Express Little Interest In Having Children Of Their Own Want Control Over How Other Peoples’ Children Are Raised. As Hillary Clinton Once Told Newsweek, ‘There Is No Such Thing As Other People’s Children.’”
- Conservative Foundation funneled $1 million to Schweizer while head was on GAI’s Board
Rebekah Mercer served on the Board of Directors at Schweizer’s GAI as recently as 2013, when the Mercer Family Foundation she runs also donated $1 million to GAI. She’ the daughter of conservative billionaire Bob Mercer, who’s funneled millions to the Koch brothers and Ted Cruz, among other right-wing Republican candidates.
Mercer even threw a cocktail party for Cruz at her New York City apartment the same day he announced his presidential bid. Close friends become even closer.
- Schweizer’s prior claims have been repeatedly debunked
Schweizer has had at least 10 serious issues where fact-checkers and media outlets have found significant errors questionable sourcing, or have forced retractions of his work. Among them:
- “Bears a fatal shortcoming in Journalism 101” — In 2013, Schweizer falsely claimed that President Obama and then Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, held zero one-on-one meetings. The Washington Post said Schweizer’s story “bears a fatal shortcoming in Journalism 101.”
- “Bogus” — In 2012, The Washington Post fact-checker deemed Schweizer’s claim that President Obama skipped more than half of his intelligence briefings “bogus.” Furthermore, he said, “we had nearly given this data four pinocchios and in retrospect we were perhaps too generous with three. It turns out, presidents receive intelligence briefings in different formats that Schweizer did not consider. By Schweizer’s standards, President Reagan would have missed 99 percent of his briefings.”
- “Incorrect” — In 2011, Schweizer was forced to retract his insider trading charge against Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. The Providence Journal noted “numerous factual problems with Schweizer’s allegations, including that Whitehouse wasn’t a member of the committee in question at the time.”
- “Inaccurate”— In 2010, USA Today was forced to issue a correction on Schweizer’s op-ed. “Peter Schweizer inaccurately stated that former vice president Al Gore receives royalties from a zinc mine on his property in Tennessee despite his environmental advocacy. He no longer does, as the mine was closed in 2003.”
- “The facts don’t fit Schweizer’s claim” – In 2006, KGO TV in San Francisco investigated Schweizer’s claim against Nancy Pelosi and found “the facts don’t fit Schweizer’s claim.”
- Schweizer attacked Disney for supporting gay employees
Some of Schweizer’s most egregious attacks are in his 1998 book “Disney: The Mouse Betrayed: Greed, Corruption, And Children At Risk.” This book is so incendiary that Schweizer has scrubbed it from his website, which claims to list all of his writing under the section, “all books.”
He accuses Disney of pushing a homosexual agenda, specifically by giving benefits to their gay employees, being too accepting of gay culture, and making heroines too feminist. Schweizer alleged that there was “collusion” between Disney and the “outrageous” acts of the LGBT community. Wildly, he suggested that Disney gave its gay employees unfair “special treatment” as it was cutting benefits of straight employees.
- Schweizer co-authored book depicting theoretical U.S. wars
In 1998, Schweizer wrote about the theoretical wars the U.S. would be fighting through the next decade in a book he co-authored, “The Next War.” He believed the U.S. would begin wars with both Japan and Mexico, and that Russians would successfully occupy most of Europe. (Map included!)
Published: May 2, 2015