Chelsea Clinton's Baggage. No, Not Them.
Once a Clinton, always a Clinton.
Sunday's New York Times featured, as the lead article in its Style section, a heartwarming profile of Chelsea Clinton. In particular, the piece -- obviously intended to introduce the Third Clinton to Times readers and opinion-leaders everywhere -- addressed her career(s) so far and the reasons behind Chelsea's recently reported move to NBC News. Headlined "Chelsea Clinton, Living Up to the Family Name," the piece highlighted the former First Daughter's decision to come out from the shadows of her famous parents and be her own woman.
Well, not entirely her own woman. Chelsea's Wikipedia entry, besides listing the new gig with NBC News, identifies her as a "philanthropist, working through the Clinton Global Initiative." That would be First Father Bill's baby. I mean, philanthropy.
According to Times reporter Amy Chozick, here's what's been driving Chelsea.
"She wanted to stop pretending she was not Chelsea Clinton." In other words, she wants to cash in and join the Family Business.
The Times piece, of course, does not say that. It leaves a few other things out, too.
For its reporting, the Times appears to have relied on a network of close Chelsea pals and Team Clinton sycophants. There are references to her involvement in all the right causes (childhood obesity, violent video games, gay marriage) and her enjoyment of all the right places, things, and associations (Sidwell Friends School, Stanford University, NYU, Cipriani, Wall Street, New York's Core Club, the gay rights group FriendFactors, the Manhattan nightclub Lavo, Pellegrino water, Brasserie 8½, a rented house in Jackson Hole for skiing). Also to Chelsea's service on the board of the School of the American Ballet and on the corporate board of IAC/InterActiveCorp, where she sits with the likes of Barry Diller, Michael Eisner and Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
And then there's the family dog. Chelsea and husband, it appears, have a "miniature Yorkshire terrier, Søren, named after the philosopher Søren Kierkegard."
That's right. Søren.
Not exactly First Dog Buddy, is it? Or Socks the Cat?
There's also this proud factoid. The Times reports that Chelsea's husband, "Mr. [Mark] Mezvinsky, a former Goldman Sachs banker, will soon start a hedge fund with a friend." It also says that Chelsea herself left a job with a hedge fund. According to Wikipedia, that hedge fund was Avenue Capital Group. It has $20 billion under management, making it the 13th-largest hedge fund in the world. It specializes in distressed securities and private equity, with offices worldwide and 350 employees.
Avenue Capital was started by a brother-and-sister team of Moroccan immigrants named Marc and Sonia Masry. On March 3, 2010, Forbes listed Marc Masry in a piece titled "The World's Billionaires."
So Chelsea Clinton and her husband are obviously no strangers to finance. In fact, they're about to go into that business themselves. Take that, #OWS!
Hedge funds manage other people's money. Given that connection to finance, the Times piece -- startlingly syncophantic and self-referential, not to say cloying, in other respects -- leaves a couple of things out.
- As reported in Mark Halperin's and John Heilemann's Game Change, Bill and Hillary Clinton's political careers have been fueled over the years by significant donations from the Indian-American business community. These links have sometimes been controversial. In 2008, Halperin and Heilemann write, Barack Obama vetoed an effort by his staff to make those connections an issue in the primary battle with Hillary.
- Chelsea Clinton's first job after graduating from Stanford was with the international consulting firm of McKinsey & Co. When Chelsea arrived at McKinsey in 2003, McKinsey was headed by Rajat Gupta. Rajat Gupta was a major contributor to Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate campaign, as well as to other Democratic candidates and causes.
- Earlier this year, Gupta -- a former Goldman Sachs director -- was indicted and arrested by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York City on a string of charges for alleged insider trading. Besides his position with Goldman Sachs, Rajat Gupta served at various times on the boards of Proctor & Gamble, American Airlines (AMR), the Gates Foundation, the Global Fund, and the International Chamber of Commerce. Gupta has pleaded not guilty and is free on a $10-million cash bond.
- Chelsea Clinton's husband, Marc, is the son of former Democratic Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky. Mrs. Margolies-Mezvinsky -- a former TV news reporter and published novelist -- was famously denied a second term in Congress by voters after she repudiated a no-new-taxes pledge and voted to provide the winning margin for President Bill Clinton's tax increase in 1993.
- Marc's father, Edward Mezvinsky, is also a former Member of Congress. However, Ed Mezvinsky is best known for being convicted in 2001 of several counts of investment-related fraud. He served five years at the federal prison camp in Eglin, Florida, and completed his term of probation only this year. According to Wikipedia, Mezvinsky père still owes substantial restitution to his victims.
The world is actually a very simple place. It just takes a long time to figure out all the connections, who people really are, and how things work. And, most important of all, who the Right People are. Because in Clinton World, there are still -- it would seem -- no Wrong People.
We're grateful to Chelsea Clinton for showing us the way.