Steve Clemons, of the Washington Note, is running down some dirt on John Bolton. Apparently these allegations are serious enough to have some GOP bigwigs worried about Bolton’s confirmation.

Did Bolton play any role in helping to conceal a foreign campaign contribution channeled to the Republican National Committee that may have helped the RNC prevail in the 1994 congressional elections?

Here’s the story. In the run-up to the 1994 elections, Haley Barbour formed an outfit called the National Policy Forum (NPF), a nonprofit policy and research institute. Barbour was the head of the RNC at the time, and he took the reins of the NPF as well.

As was widely reported at the time, the NPF was partially endowed via a loan Barbour solicited with the help of a Hong Kong businessman and Taiwanese citizen named Ambrous Tung Young. The value of the loan, from a lending institution to the NPF, was $2.1 million; Young put up the collateral in the form of certificates of deposit.

The NPF had owed the RNC $1.6 million; so, once the NPF had secured its loan, it paid back the RNC the $1.6 million it owed. This sounds all well and good — except for the fact that the NPF repaid the loan in October 1994, which, handily enough, gave the Republican Party that much more money to spend on its congressional candidates in elections just a couple of weeks away. Republicans gained 54 seats in the House of Representatives that election, and while no one’s arguing that they made those gains only because of this late cash infusion, it clearly couldn’t have hurt. There were additional allegations that the NPF was engaging in activities that were more directly political than the group’s charter would have allowed.

The story gets dirtier — and brings us to what is, for current purposes, the punch line. By 1996, the NPF had defaulted on the loan. In April of that year, the NPF sought to extend the loan’s maturity date and revise its terms. That having apparently failed, the NPF took a far more dramatic step in May, according to a June 8, 1997, article by Dan Morgan in The Washington Post. The NPF’s then-new president authorized the holder of the note, Signet Bank, to start taking its payments directly out of the certificates of deposit put up by Young as collateral — without Young’s knowledge, by all accounts.

That NPF president? John Bolton. –Steve Clemons:read it all

I have found some more on John Bolton’s think tank management controversy. Think tanks are usually organized as 501c3 organizations — organized for the public good but increasingly they are becoming money laundering operations for lobbyists or corporate consulting shops. It seems that John Bolton helped the National Policy Forum move well down this path.

The National Policy Forum of which John Bolton was President was stripped of its non-profit 501c3 status. Foreign money, mega-conference fundraisers, inappropriate political activity, possibly laundering foreign funds into political activities. John Bolton was an architect of this insidious mess.

Many conservatives have genuine concerns about the management of the United Nation’s after the “Oil-for-Food” scandal, even though it’s clear that the U.S. delegation to the U.N. knew what was going on.

But Bolton is a guy whose own past management experience and the blurring of legal lines in his own organization sounds a lot like what Bernie Ebbers would have looked for in his team at WorldCom or Ken Lay at Enron. –Steve Clemons:read it all

What is it with the Bush administration and its horrible vetting process?

Some other Bolton resources:

American Prospect

Yahoo News

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