Edward Mezvinsky

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Edward Mezvinsky
Edward Mezvinsky.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1977
Preceded by Fred Schwengel
Succeeded by Jim Leach
Chairman of the
Pennsylvania Democratic Party
In office
August 13, 1981[1] – June 28, 1986
Preceded by Alex Debreczeni
Succeeded by Harris Wofford
Personal details
Born (1937-01-17) January 17, 1937 (age 79)
Ames, Iowa, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Myra Shulman (1963–1974, div.)[2]
Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (1975–2007, div.)[3]
Relations Norton Mezvinsky(brother)
Marc Mezvinsky(son)
Children 11
Religion Judaism
Edward Mezvinsky
Criminal penalty 8 years imprisonment
Criminal status Released, probation expired
Conviction(s) bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud

Edward Maurice "Ed" Mezvinsky (/mɛzˈvɪnski/; born January 17, 1937) is an American former politician and congressman. A Democrat, he represented Iowa's 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms (1973–77).

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 (1965). After being elected to the Iowa Legislature (1968), he lost a race for Congress in 1970, then won in 1972. He made several unsuccessful U.S. Senate attempts in the 1980s.

In 2001, he was convicted of 31 charges of felony fraud, and served five years in federal prison.[4]

In 2010, he became father-in-law to Chelsea Clinton.

Life and career[edit]

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.[5]

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.[5] 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.[5]

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.[6] During his final term he married Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, a television journalist.[5] 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.[7]

Mezvinsky unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat held by retiring incumbent Republican Richard Schweiker in 1980, but lost to former Pittsburgh Mayor Pete Flaherty.

He then became chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and made a 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 a term in Congress.

In 1998, she was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. In 2000, she was running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate when her husband's business problems forced them to file for bankruptcy and forced her abrupt withdrawal.[5] They divorced several years later.[8]

Marc Mezvinsky[edit]

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 former U.S. Senator from New York Hillary Rodham Clinton.[9]

Criminal activities[edit]

Beginning in the early 1990s, Mezvinsky was duped by a wide variety of 419 scams. According to a federal prosecutor, Mezvinsky was conned using "just about every different kind of African-based scam we’ve ever seen."[10] The scams promise that the victim will receive large profits, but first a small down payment is required. To raise the funds needed to front the money for the fraudulent investment schemes he was being offered, Mezvinsky tapped his network of former political contacts and dropping the name of the Clinton family to convince unwitting marks to give him money.[11]

In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.[12] 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.[5] He served his time at Federal Prison Camp, Eglin.[13] Mezvinsky, Federal Bureau of Prisons # 55040-066, was released in April 2008.[14] He remained on federal probation until 2011, and as of 2010 still owed $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.[15]


  1. ^ "Pennsylvania Demos elect Ed Mezvinsky". The Telegraph-Herald. August 14, 1981. Retrieved December 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ DesMoinesRegister.com | News
  3. ^ Medina, Regina (30 July 2010). "Pop the questions on Chelsea's wedding". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Iowa ex-congressman to leave prison". Gazette, The. April 9, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Kilen, Mike (2003-08-03). "Whirlpool of lies swallows Mezvinsky". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2008-05-18. .
  6. ^ Larry Eckholt, "Mezvinskys End Marriage," Des Moines Register, 1974-11-20, at 9.
  7. ^ "MEZVINSKY, Edward Maurice - Biographical Information". Bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  8. ^ Meet Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton's Fiancé
  9. ^ Seeing the "for worse" hasn't scared Chelsea from the altar - Philly.com
  10. ^ Ross, Brian (8 December 2006). "Former Congressman Duped by Nigerian Scams - ABC News". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2011-11-01. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  12. ^ The Scam That Will Not Die, accessed 2010-05-14.
  13. ^ "National Briefing | Mid-Atlantic: Pennsylvania: Ex-Congressman Enters Prison." The New York Times. February 11, 2003. Retrieved on August 23, 2010.
  14. ^ Bureau of Prison Inmate Locator, accessed 2008-05-20.
  15. ^ "Will Father of the Groom Be Welcome Figure at Chelsea Clinton's Wedding?". ABC news. December 1, 2009. Retrieved July 1, 2010. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Fred Schwengel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Jim Leach
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alex Debreczeni
Chairman of Pennsylvania Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Harris Wofford
Preceded by
Allen Ertel
Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Joe Kohn