Trump and his shady consiglieres

Trump and his shady consiglieres

by digby

This story in the Washington Post about Trump's Atlantic City lawyer and the elections legal adviser he hired at his urging is a fascinating look at how Trump really does his "deals":

Trump turned to a portly Irish American attorney named Patrick McGahn — “Paddy” to his friends, and Uncle Pat to his nephew Don.

Paddy, the son of a shopkeeper and recipient of three Purple Hearts from the Korean War, was known to have the best professional connections in town, and the high legal fees worthy of them. As Trump gobbled up real estate, Paddy paved the way.

When Trump was seeking city approval to build an employee parking lot at Trump Castle, Paddy threw a party for the mayor’s wife, inviting about 16 people aboard the Trump Princess yacht and taking them out to a dinner at one of the casino’s gourmet restaurants, according to news reports at the time.

When Trump purchased property from two brothers with Mafia ties, he paid double the value, according to Wayne Barrett’s book, “Trump: The Deals and the Downfall,” and put the title in the name of Paddy’s secretary before transferring it to one of his corporate entities.

There was no problem too big or too small for Paddy, who once represented Trump in a fight with a vendor selling hot dogs outside a Trump property. Trump was so appreciative that he named a cocktail lounge for him at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City: Paddy’s Saloon.

The dealmaker didn’t even mind paying top price, according to John R. O’Donnell, former president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. In his book, “Trumped!,” O’Donnell recounted the time he complained to his boss about McGahn’s exorbitant fees.

“Jack, I’m 13 and 0 with this guy,” Trump said. “What do you want me to do? He gets things done in this town.”
Did Trump recognize a name he could trust when he decided to hire Don McGahn to get things done in This Town? McGahn did not respond to repeated requests for an interview, nor did the Trump campaign.

“I got to believe that Trump came to Don because of Pat, that’s got to be the connection,” said Bill Pascrell III, a lobbyist who worked on behalf of Trump casinos for more than a decade. “When Trump needed an election lawyer, I doubt he just Googled ‘good election lawyers.’ ”

McGahn during his tenure as on the Federal Election Commission in April 2013, when he was known for loosening many campaign finance regulations. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
Even if he had, he could easily have landed on McGahn. There aren’t many top-tier election lawyers, and even fewer with a résumé as strong as McGahn’s.

At the FEC, he frustrated campaign finance reform advocates by pushing to minimize government oversight; the commission’s top lawyer resigned when McGahn attempted to keep his office from sharing information with federal prosecutors. But he also won praise for opening up many formerly closed-door deliberations. He later moved on to the campaign-finance practice at the law firm Patton Boggs LLP and spent nearly 10 years as counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Currently, he hangs his hat at Jones Day, another high-profile law firm.

Despite McGahn’s establishment bona fides, he makes a surprisingly good fit with the insurgent candidate.

“I could see them getting along,” said Jack Deschauer, who worked with McGahn at Patton Boggs. “Don’s a straight shooter, tells it like it is, and isn’t at all stuck up.”

He’s always been a bit of an iconoclast. Until recently he kept his hair long, and he still plays bass in an ’80s cover band that gigs in Ocean City, Md. While many of his colleagues boast Ivy League diplomas, McGahn got his law degree from Pennsylvania’s Widener University. Like Trump, he’s something of an outsider no matter how far inside he gets.

[Cable news, a welcoming home for the weary ex-campaign staffer]

But there’s another reason McGahn may have been willing to work for Trump.

Shortly after McGahn started at Jones Day he picked up a new client: Aaron Schock, the congressman who was then reeling from a scandal involving the misuse of federal funds and has since left office. To this day, according to FEC reports, Schock has still not paid Jones Day the nearly $750,000 he owes them. (Jones Day representatives also did not return calls.)

Getting stiffed by Schock put McGahn in a difficult position with his new law partners, said a Republican strategist who has worked with him. “He had this huge hole to fill. And when Trump came along, he was under a lot of pressure by management to fill that hole.”

So far, according to FEC reports, Trump has filled nearly $700,000 of that hole.

That's the ti[ of the iceberg of this story. McGahn, the hack election lawyer, has got Jones Day partners all up in arms because they can't stand being associated with Trump.So, as much as they want that Trump cash they're mortified by Trump himself.

This is the way a businessman would run the government. And it's not any better, actually worse, than the way the "Washington Cartel" is run today by lobbyists and the revolving door. Why thee Trump voters think this guy is above all that kind of back-scratching and double dealing I'll never understand. He's a rich guy who pays people off. That's how his business is done.

He says he'll do all that on behalf of "the country" which is nice. But rich guys are going to get richer. That's how the art of the deal is done. The working man doesn't factor into it all anymore --- productivity gains all go to the 1% these days.

Anyway, it's a fascinating look into one small slice of Trumpworld. Well worth reading.