Turns out The Inter-American Economic Council, the non-profit which honored Allen Stanford in 2006, was basically a big Stanford front, a group that allowed him to lobby congress for fewer restrictions on offshore banking.
Of course, you can’t have a big non-profit all geared towards exploiting tax loopholes, so ostensibly it was about promoting investment opportunities in the hemisphere. But that was just a euphemism.
Of course, you already know that Stanford enjoyed a cozy relationship with many politicians, taking them down to Antigua on fact-finding missions. But since the politicians obviously didn’t learn squat about what was going on, we can assume that they were basically just comfy vacations.
Even knowing this, we were blown away reading the extent of the IAEC’s influence in Congress over at TPMMuckraker:
In fact, the IAEC even seems to have used its clout to create a new congressional caucus — the Caribbean Caucus — made up of may of the lawmakers who went on the IAEC-backed trips.
After one such trip in 2003, attended by then-Rep. Phil Crane (R-IL), among others, Featherman, the IAEC president, revealed that “Congress is expected to form an informal, bipartisan Caribbean caucus to focus on issues of interest to the region,” according to the AP (via Nexis).
The Caribbean Caucus would at various times include, among others, Ney, Meeks, Sweeney, Sessions, Feeney, Charlie Rangel, Mel Watt, Donald Payne, Phil English, Steve Chabot, Donna Christensen, Diane Watson, and Al Wynn, all of whom went to events on IAEC’s dime.
Indeed, Stanford seems to have had some sway not only over the IAEC, but over the membership of the Caribbean Caucus itself. That Bloomberg story from 2006 reports that it was Stanford himself who asked Sessions to become a member of the caucus. Sessions seems to have agreed.
Wow. Our Congress is so wholly owned by special interests that a private individual with enough money can establish a Caucus on his behalf and then help select which Congressmen get to serve in it.