Link to “The Quiet American” by Franklin Foer on Slate here.
Paul Manafort is a lobbyist and consultant who has advised Republican presidential nominees going back to Gerald Ford.
Manafort and Stone pioneered a new style of firm, what K Street would come to call a double-breasted operation. One wing of the shop managed campaigns, electing a generation of Republicans, from Phil Gramm to Arlen Spector. The other wing lobbied the officials they helped to victory on behalf of its corporate clients. Over the course of their early years, they amassed a raft of blue-chip benefactors, including Salomon Brothers and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Another early client was Donald J. Trump. What Trump wanted was help fending off potential rivals to his Atlantic City casino business. He especially feared the rise of Indian gaming. As the 2016 campaign has graphically illustrated, Trump doesn’t treat rivals gently. Testifying before a congressional committee in 1993, he began with his rote protestations of friendship. “Nobody likes Indians as much as Donald Trump.” He then proceeded to worry that the tribes would prove unable to fend off gangsters. “There is no way Indians are going to protect themselves from the mob … It will be the biggest scandal ever, the biggest since Al Capone … An Indian chief is going to tell Joey Killer to please get off his reservation? It’s unbelievable to me.”
Trump poured money into a shell group called the New York Institute for Law and Society. The group existed solely to publish ads smearing his potential Indian competition. Under dark photos of needles and other junkie paraphernalia, the group asserted, “The St. Regis Mohawk Indian record of criminal activity is well documented.” (It wasn’t.) “Are these the new neighbors we want?” We know that Trump and Stone were behind the New York Institute because Gov. George Pataki investigated its doings. He slapped Trump and Stone with a $250,000 fine and required them to publicly apologize for running the ads.
Manafort didn’t own the Trump account at the firm. But one of his former partners told me that he would dispense advice and pitch in, winning Trump’s trust.
Previous article about Trump’s Foreign Policy Advisor, Joseph Schmitz, here.