If you think you've heard that line before, you are right.
The spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton, Ann Lewis, said Mrs. Clinton was not aware of Mr. Burgess's background when he held fund-raising affairs for her in 2000 and 2003, nor did she know whether other prominent Democrats had rejected contributions. She said that Mrs. Clinton's vetting procedures have been strengthened since the senator's appearance at I.P.A.That paragraph appeared in a May 2006 article in the New York Times focusing on questionable contributions to Clinton from Illinois-based International Profit Associates, a business consulting company run by a convicted criminal that is beset by fraud allegations and a massive federal sexual harassment lawsuit.
Small business owners across the country, frustrated by Hillary's continued refusal to turn away IPA funds, have written her this letter today. The small business owners were victimized by IPA's fraud and are suing IPA in a federal racketeering lawsuit pending in Chicago.
Hillary Clinton for PresidentTonight, the Democratic candidates for President are debating in New Hampshire. Considering that some of IPA's victims are from that state, it would be the perfect time for somebody to ask Hillary about how IPA has escaped her vaunted vetting procedures.
4420 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA. 22203
Dear Senator Clinton:
We, the undersigned small business owners from across the country are deeply offended that you continue to accept campaign contributions from top officials of a business consulting company, International Profit Associates (IPA), Buffalo Grove, IL., that defrauded us. As we struggle in federal court via a civil racketeering lawsuit to recover the thousands of dollars this company took from us illegally, you continue to use political donations that might have come directly from our pockets.
We also are appalled because you accepted the money amid dark clouds of fraud allegations, a criminal past by the company's founder, and one of the largest sexual harassment lawsuits ever filed by the federal government.
We are trying to fight back against this company and you, Senator Clinton, are enabling it. We ask that you immediately donate to charity the more than $150,000 the New York Times says you've accepted from IPA's top officials, a figure that includes a ride on IPA's corporate jet and a donation from a high school age son of an IPA official.
Surely, now, in the wake of the Norman Hsu scandal, your political staff will turn up the background we've known about for some time, including:
ïƒ˜ IPA is being sued by the federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for widespread sexual harassment. In a New York Times article May 7, 2006 titled, "Rubbing Shoulders with Trouble, and Presidents," EEOC lawyer Diane Smason called the allegations "probably the most egregious" ever filed by the agency's Chicago office. She said the investigation found that "sex harassment is the standard operating procedure for this company." That case is pending in U.S. District Court.
ïƒ˜ The Illinois Attorney General's office has acknowledged publicly that it is investigating IPA for alleged fraud.
ïƒ˜ The Better Business Bureau says IPA has an "unsatisfactory record" based on reoccurring complaints that total 427 in the last three years. The BBB has issued "alerts" in various states to warn businesses that IPA was soliciting work there.
ïƒ˜ The company founder, John Burgess, is a convicted criminal, according to numerous published reports. He was convicted of attempted grand larceny and of soliciting a 16-year-old prostitute, those reports state. He was disbarred as a lawyer in New York state in July 1987 for "failing to answer charges which involved perjury, larceny, a conviction for patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute, possession of drugs and engaging in a pattern over a six-year period of lies and deceit," according to The Lawyers Fund for Client Protection of New York state. Burgess also is named as a key defendant in the sexual harassment lawsuit.
ïƒ˜ The company's attorney, Myron "Mike" Cherry, also a contributor of yours, has been identified in published reports as "Individual H" in the Illinois criminal indictment of businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko. Cherry has acknowledged in published reports that he was the conduit for some of the IPA campaign contributions.
ïƒ˜ Already, politicians across the country have returned donations from IPA because of the company's checkered past. Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager are among those who have returned contributions from IPA.
We have made our fraud allegations in a federal racketeering lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Mrs. Clinton, we see from published reports that you have identified yourself as a champion for women's rights and an advocate for small business owners. We cannot fathom, in light of those self-labels, how you could possibly accept campaign contributions from a company accused by the federal government of sexually harassing scores of women and one that has left behind a long trail of fraud complaints from small business owners. Do you believe the 114 women who were allegedly sexually harassed at IPA are not telling the truth about that harassment? Do you believe the Better Business Bureau is wrong? Do you think the state Attorney General is unjustified in her investigation of IPA?
We believe this is our concern because the campaign contributions you continue to accept came from the money that we believe was taken from us illegally. We do not believe you should continue to further your political career with such tainted cash.
We are not singling you out in this request. We plan to make the same request to other public officials who continue to accept and hold IPA-related campaign contributions. We wrote you first because you are running for President and certainly should be setting an example for other politicians.
Amari Company, Inc., Amherst, NH.
Amazing Productions, Inc., Tamarac, FL.
Precision Painting and Decorating, Inc., Elmhurst, IL.
All About Construction, Inc., Fort Myers, FL.
Capital Removal, Gold River, CA.
BBQ Island, LLC., Gilbert, AZ.
Compsolution VA, Inc., Richmond, VA.
JRP Construction, LLC., Yuma, AZ.
Evco Commercial Construction, Corp., Lake Elsinore, CA.
Gunnison Metal Shop, Inc., Gunnison, CA.
Captains Select Seafood, Minneapolis, MN.
MSI Redimix Inc., Mesquite, CA.
Joseph E. Clouse, Inc., Lehigh Acres, FL.
Kyles Discount Stuff, McPherson, KS.
Dames Air, LLC., Warrenton, MO.
Home Theater Design Group, Carrollton, TX.
Gigs Inc., Tewksbury, MA.
Cool Access LLC., Mesquite, TX.
Philipsburg Electric & Supply, Inc., Philipsburg, PA.
Gilbert-American Companies, Rockwall, TX.
Hinsdale Sales and Rental, Inc., Hinsdale, NH.
Hitech Fire Detection, Inc., Houston, TX.