Algore, besides receiving Chinese contributions from his $5000/each Moonie/Budhist monk buddies.......|
now has a crooked weasel for a campaign manager.......
Tony Coelho accused of misdeeds
Gore's campaign manager faces criticism for actions taken in 1998
WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 — Tony Coelho, Vice President Al Gore's campaign manager, misused airline tickets, gave his niece a federal job and received a $300,000 personal loan that may be repaid by the government — all while he directed the U.S. pavilion at a 1998 exposition in Portugal, State Department investigators report.
Stanley Brand, Coelho's personal lawyer, said his client did not violate any laws in a job that did not pay him a salary. (riiiiight!)
THE DEPARTMENT'S inspector general found Coelho, who carried the presidentially appointed title of commissioner general, hired two stepsons of the U.S. ambassador to Portugal for jobs at the “Expo 98” fair; approved “questionable payments” including $26,000 to a consultant who worked out of New York City; and drove used a chauffeur-driven Mercedes while vans were available.
The report was released by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit organization that tracks government fraud, waste and abuse and ethics conflicts by government officials.
GORE CAMPAIGN DEFENDS COELHO
Coelho got strong support in a statement issued by Kiki Moore, Gore's campaign (..mouthpiece..) press secretary.
“Tony Coelho does a great job as general chair of Gore 2000,” the statement said. “Day in and day out he makes a tremendous contribution. Under Tony's leadership, the campaign will continue to advance an agenda that will improve the lives of America's working families — fighting to protect Social Security and preserve Medicare, making health care available to all of our children and calling for revolutionary change in our public schools.”
Stanley Brand, Coelho's personal lawyer, said his client did not violate any laws in a job that did not pay him a salary. “He devoted two years of his life and spent substantial amounts of his own money,” Brand said.
Brand acknowledged “there may have been management lapses” as in many government contract programs, but contended most of the negative conclusions were aimed at United States Information Agency officials rather than Coelho personally.
POSSIBLE VIOLATIONS The allegations, which the inspector general said could involve possible violations of federal regulations and laws, surface at a time that Gore has been reeling from Democratic presidential challenger Bill Bradley's surge in the polls and a several days after the vice president shook up the campaign and moved it to Tennessee.
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Coelho, a prolific fund-raiser since his days in the House, left Congress 1989 amid questions about his financial dealings. He served as House Democratic whip and head of his party's congressional money-raising operation.
The inspector general's report alleges Coelho arranged for federal agencies to provide money for the fair after his private fund-raising efforts failed. This may have violated a 1994 law that no tax dollars could be used for the fair unless specifically allocated by Congress.
The inspector general said he believes that the United States Information Agency “may have violated the spirit, if not the letter” of the law to support Coelho's efforts to fund the exposition, the report said.
The report and further information developed by the non-profit group said that Coelho: Urged the USIA to reimburse the New York contractor $26,000 even though officials “could not find a legal basis to reimburse expenses not expressly covered in the contract.” It was among several “questionable payments” initiated by the commissioner.
Received a $300,000 personal loan from a Portuguese bank for a large steel and tile sculpture. The money initially went into USIA Trust Funds for the exposition, but later was removed when it was discovered the funds were a loan to Coelho. The report lists the obligation to pay for the sculpture, “The Wave,” as a potential government liability.
Stayed in an $18,000 a month luxury apartment that was billed to USIA, and traveled to and from Lisbon on first-class airline tickets donated by Continental Airlines. The inspector general said “responsible officials did not properly manage airline tickets and upgrade passes.”
Hired his niece, Debra Coelho, in violation of USIA regulations. And hired two stepsons of Gerald McGowan, the U.S. ambassador to Portugal, at inflated salaries.