February 1, 2013

Menendez in a long capital tradition

To put the recent stories about Senator Bob Menendez' sexual behavior in some perspective, here are a few excerpts from our web page, Sex, crime & other curiosities in DC:

Progressive Review - During the Civil War there were 450 brothels in DC. Part of the mythology of Washington is what might be called the Jim Lehrer Illusion, which is to say that all people in the capital do is sit around and rationally debate policy alternatives. In fact, Washington politics is also heavily driven by cowardice, blackmail, deceit, fear, loyalty to old buddies and even older bodies, cooptation, corruption, sex, and just plain crime. 

Journalists who pretend otherwise either don't understand what is going on or are covering for someone. The public often misunderstands the importance of Washington scandals, assuming them to be a simple dalliance, individual failing, or private offense. What makes both sex and crime in DC different, at least when those in power are involved, is that there is far more opportunity for blackmail and far more skill at covering things up.

The blackmail may be used by members of one branch of government against those of another, by lobbyists against members of Congress, by the police against whomever they wish, and by foreign powers. For example, one way to keep a congress member bought is for a lobbyist to provide him with high class prostitutes. And it is noteworthy that both the Israelis and Boris Yeltsin apparently knew about Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky before the American public did.

The city's ecology lends particular importance to gay sex simply because greater public antipathy makes it an even easier target for the blackmailer, witness the case a few years back when DC police officers were found to be running an extortion racket against those who visited gay bars.

Finally, the exposure of impropriety almost inevitably raises the issue of hypocrisy since the participating official often has inveighed against the discovered offense or attempted to ban, punish, or otherwise suppress the revealed practice. One of the more ironic examples was when, during the 1960s, a white southern senator was caught with a black prostitute. Said a civil rights leader, "Oh he's just one of those sunup to sundown segregationists." Washington is full of sunup to sundown moralists.

The ability to cover up scandal or crime is also much greater in Washington. This may be accomplished by relying on the social club rules of the federal city, through the aid of acquiescent journalists, by official spin or censorship, or by resort to the capital's various law enforcement agencies, each one beholden for budget and top appointments to some federal department. For example, both the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney(who handles all DC crimes) are appointed by the president. The FBI, DEA, ATF, National Park police, the Secret Service, not to mention the Aqueduct, Zoo, and Metro police, all work for the president. And the Metropolitan Police Department is under the thumb of Congress, which approves its budget and exercises behind-the-scenes authority.

In short, there is far more politically related sex and crime in Washington then is generally reported, it is less competently investigated than is generally thought, and it is far easier to cover up than is generally appreciated.

How DC's powerful take the pressure off with a dominatrix

Reliable Source, Washington Post on the Eliot Spitzer Case -
New stop on D.C.'s sex scandal tour: Room 871 at the Mayflower. The 83-year-old hotel has a long and storied history of fat-cat partying and other Washington excesses, but it never made headlines for horizontal high jinks until "Client 9" . . . There hasn't been this much excitement since 1999, when Monica Lewinsky fought her way through throngs to (appropriately enough) the presidential suite, where she recounted her affair with Bill Clinton to congressional impeachment managers. The Mayflower was also Judith Campbell Exner's home away from home when she trysted with John F. Kennedy at the White House. And yes, history buffs, it was the hotel's Town & Country lounge where FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover lunched daily for 20 years alongside his live-in aide, Clyde Tolson.

The Mayflower now joins the list of Washington's greatest bed-and-breakfasts: The Jefferson, where Clinton confidant Dick Morris sucked the toes of $200-an-hour call girl Sherry Rowlands; the former Vista (now Westin Washington) where Marion Barry was caught smoking crack as gal-pal Rasheeda Moore looked on; and the Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, where Marv Albert bit the back of a female companion, Linda Tripp secretly taped Lewinsky talking about her affair, and Deborah Jeane Palfrey (a.k.a. the D.C. Madam) sent escorts for what she calls legal, non-sexual "dates."

ALBERT EISELE AND JEFF DUFOUR, HILL NEWS - When retiring Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) marked the end of his 38 years in the Senate on Nov. 16, he paid lavish tribute to his current colleagues but raised some doubts about the first group of senators he served with, in 1966. "I don't leave with the idea that the Senate is not what it used to be in the sense of personnel," he said in his farewell speech. "We have a way better group of senators. We had five drunks or six drunks when I came here. There is nobody drunk in the United States Senate [today]."

Hollings's remarks caused former senators and Senate aides and journalists who covered the Senate at the time to speculate on just whom he was referring to. "There were two or three places senators could go to get a free drink, including the secretary of the Senate's office," recalled former Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.).
McCarthy, who came to the Senate from the House in 1959, identified Russell Long (D-La.), Thurston Morton (R-Ky.), Warren Magnuson (D-Wash.), James Eastland (D-Miss.), Harrison Williams (D-N.J.) and Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.) as among those Hollings might have had in mind.

He said Long and Morton, who acquired the nickname "Thirsty," often drank together, while Magnuson "sometimes came on the floor and was kind of vague as to where he was, and somebody said, 'He walks from memory.'"

THE MAFIA AND DC: The New York Mafia has never been strong in DC. There have been several explanations for this. One is that DC was long too small a town to bother with. There are also unconfirmed reports that J Edgar Hoover struck some sort of deal with the Mafia to keep it out. William Garber, an attorney who represented several local crime figures, told a Washington Post reporter in the 1980s that "organized crime thought moving [into Washington] would just be pushing the FBI too far."

On the other hand an investigative reporter, who moved to Washington after learning of a mob contract on his life in the 1970s tells us a different story. He said that federal agents suggested that he move to a neutral town - one in which the mobs shared turf with none of them dominant. They suggested Las Vegas, Miami and Washington.

US NEWS & WORLD REPORT, March 30, 1998: When Kathleen Willey dropped Nathan Landow's name into her amended deposition for the Paula Jones case in February, shudders went through Vice President Al Gore's camp - and not just because Willey had presented a credible account of hormones run amok in the Oval Office. For more than a decade, Landow, a 65-year-old multimillionaire Maryland developer, has served as Gore's most enthusiastic fund-raiser. . . In Willey's original January 11 deposition in the Jones case, she denied that anyone had tried to influence her deposition, and Landow's name never came up. But a month later, in a written revision, Willey noted that she had "discussed" her deposition with Landow. In subsequent testimony before Starr's grand jury, Willey has reportedly alleged that Landow tried to pressure her into recanting her story of sexual harassment at the hands of President Clinton. Through his lawyers, Landow has issued a vociferous denial that he made any attempt to influence Willey's testimony. But sources close to Landow acknowledge that in October, weeks after Willey received a subpoena in the Jones case, Landow paid a private charter company to fly her--at her request--to his oceanside Maryland estate. According to Landow's lawyer Joe Caldwell Jr., "The contact between Mr. Landow and Ms. Willey last fall was initiated by Ms. Willey." . . . Over the past two decades, Landow has received more than his share of dings. A fund-raiser for Jimmy Carter, Landow was being considered for an ambassadorship to the Netherlands in 1977. But in January 1978, the Washington Post published a story linking Landow with Joe Nesline, a known associate of organized crime figures. The disclosure appeared to scuttle Landow's ambassadorial aspirations, but not his party influence.


PAUL M. RODRIGUEZ AND GEORGE ARCHIBALD WASHINGTON TIMES, 1989: A homosexual prostitution ring is under investigation by federal and District authorities and includes among its clients key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, military officers, congressional aides and U.S. and foreign businessmen with close social ties to Washington's political elite, documents obtained by The Washington Times reveal. One of the ring's high-profile clients was so well-connected, in fact, that he could arrange a middle-of-the-night tour of the White House for his friends on Sunday, July 3, of last year. Among the six persons on the extraordinary 1 a.m. tour were two male prostitutes . . . Reporters for this newspaper examined hundreds of credit-card vouchers, drawn on both corporate and personal cards and made payable to the escort service operated by the homosexual ring . . . Among the client names contained in the vouchers - and identified by prostitutes and escort operators - are government officials, locally based U.S. military officers, businessmen, lawyers, bankers, congressional aides and other professionals . . .

WAYNE MADSEN REPORT There was no mistake that when Deborah Jeane Palfrey's phone records were made public by order of US Judge Gladys Kessler, shortly before she asked to be reassigned from the case, that Palfrey's Pamela Martin & Associates escort agency had some very intriguing clientele. If one were to have mapped the phone numbers on Palfrey's list, McLean, Virginia would have looked like the epicenter of an earthquake. McLean is the home to the CIA, Washington's top politicians, and assorted foreign and domestic business movers and shakers who travel in and out of the CIA's shadow. . .

In fact, it is a certainty that one of the actual "corporate clients" of the PMA agency was the CIA itself. Palfrey's escorts included college professors, a naval officer, a legal secretary for one of Washington's top international law firms, essentially those who would be reliable to pick up needed intelligence from a designated target. PMA's clients included as many foreign political and business leaders as American ones. It was the potential for blackmail and seeking favors that made PMA, in business for over 13 years, a favorite for the CIA. No other escort agency in the Washington area provided the top-level credentials possessed by PMA. For that reason, PMA was the agency of choice for the CIA. . .


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