|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st district
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1977
|Preceded by||Fred Schwengel|
|Succeeded by||Jim Leach|
|Chairman of the
Pennsylvania Democratic Party
August 13, 1981 – June 28, 1986
|Preceded by||Alex Debreczeni|
|Succeeded by||Harris Wofford|
|Born||January 17, 1937|
|Spouse(s)||Myra Shulman (1963–1974, divorced)
Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (1975–2007, divorced)
|Relations||Norton Mezvinsky, brother|
|8 years imprisonment|
|Released, probation expired|
|Conviction(s)||bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud|
Edward "Ed" Mezvinsky (//; born January 17, 1937) is a former congressman. A Democrat, he represented Iowa's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives for two terms, from 1973 to 1977.
Mezvinsky grew up in Ames, Iowa and played high school football there. He received his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1965. After being elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1968, he lost a race for Congress in 1970, then won in 1972. He made several unsuccessful Senate attempts in the 1980s.
In 2001, he was convicted of several dozen charges of fraud, and served five years in federal prison.
Life and career
Mezvinsky grew up in Ames, Iowa, the son of Jewish grocery store owner Abe Mezvinsky. He was an all-state football end and member of the Ames High School state championship basketball and track teams of 1955.
Mezvinsky received his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1965. He returned briefly to Iowa to practice law, but quickly began a political career. In 1965, he worked for former Rep. Neal Smith in Washington on lobbyist disclosure and ethics bills. He was elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1968, where he attracted publicity as a consumers' advocate. He lost a 1970 campaign to unseat Republican Congressman Fred Schwengel in Iowa's 1st congressional district by only 765 votes (out of over 120,000 cast). After reapportionment improved his chances, Mezvinsky won a 1972 rematch.
During his first term in Congress, he sat on the House Judiciary Committee and voted for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon for his activities in the Watergate scandal. Although Mezvinsky defeated Davenport businessman Jim Leach in 1974 in the immediate aftermath of the impeachment hearings, Leach defeated him two years later, in 1976.
Six months into his first term in Congress, Mezvinsky separated from his wife of ten years Myra Shulman; they were divorced two weeks after his 1974 re-election. During his final term he married Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, a television journalist. After his 1976 defeat, they relocated to suburban Philadelphia. Together, they raised eleven children, several of whom were adopted.
After serving in Congress, Mezvinsky was United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from 1977 until 1979. Mezvinsky unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat held by retiring incumbent Republican Richard Schweiker in 1980, losing to former Pittsburgh Mayor Pete Flaherty. He then became chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, before making a failed run for state attorney general in 1988. He won the Democratic primary, but lost to Republican Ernie Preate in the general election. He also unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 1990, losing to incumbent Mark Singel.
From 1993 to 1995, Edward Mezvinsky's wife Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky served one term in Congress, and was the party's nominee for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 1998. In 2000, she was running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate when his business problems forced them to file for bankruptcy and caused her abrupt withdrawal. They were divorced several years later.
In 2010 Edward Mezvinsky's son, Marc, married Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former U.S President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S Senator from New York Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Mezvinsky was involved in a series of business transactions that ultimately led to his downfall.
Beginning in the early 1990s Mezvinsky fell prey to a wide variety of 419 scams. According to a federal prosecutor, Mezvinsky was conned by "just about every different kind of African-based scam we’ve ever seen." In order to raise the funds needed to front the money for the fraudulent investment schemes he was being offered, Mezvinsky became, himself, a conman, tapping his network of contacts and dropping the name of the Clinton family to convince unwitting marks to give him money.
In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Nearly $10 million was involved in the crimes. Shortly after his indictment, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but the judge at his trial disallowed a mental illness defense. He served his time at Federal Prison Camp, Eglin. Mezvinsky, Federal Bureau of Prisons # 55040-066, was released in April 2008. He remained on federal probation until 2011, and still owes $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.
- "Pennsylvania Demos elect Ed Mezvinsky". The Telegraph-Herald. August 14, 1981. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- Medina, Regina (30 July 2010). "Pop the questions on Chelsea's wedding". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- "Iowa ex-congressman to leave prison". Gazette, The. April 9, 2008.
- Kilen, Mike (2003-08-03). "Whirlpool of lies swallows Mezvinsky". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2008-05-18..
- Larry Eckholt, "Mezvinskys End Marriage," Des Moines Register, 1974-11-20, at 9.
- "MEZVINSKY, Edward Maurice - Biographical Information". Bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
- Ross, Brian (8 December 2006). "Former Congressman Duped by Nigerian Scams - ABC News". ABC News. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- Carbonara, Peter. "The Scam That Will Not Die NIGERIAN ADVANCE-FEE SCAMS HAVE FOOLED AMERICANS FOR DECADES. THANKS TO THE INTERNET, THEY'RE NOW STAGING A DISTURBING RESURGENCE. - July 1, 2002". Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- The Scam That Will Not Die, accessed 2010-05-14.
- "National Briefing | Mid-Atlantic: Pennsylvania: Ex-Congressman Enters Prison." The New York Times. February 11, 2003. Retrieved on August 23, 2010.
- Bureau of Prison Inmate Locator, accessed 2008-05-20.
- "Will Father of the Groom Be Welcome Figure at Chelsea Clinton's Wedding?". ABC news. December 1, 2009. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
- Edward Mezvinsky at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- "Nigerian 'Black Money' Scam Turns Deadly for Two Suspected Con Men", April 1, 2009
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st congressional district
|Party political offices|
|Chairman of Pennsylvania Democratic Party
|Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Pennsylvania