Vin Weber

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Vin Weber
Vin Weber.jpg
Secretary of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1993
LeaderBob Michel
Preceded byRobert J. Lagomarsino
Succeeded byTom DeLay
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byTom Hagedorn
Succeeded byDavid Minge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1983
Preceded byRick Nolan
Succeeded byGerry Sikorski
Personal details
BornJohn Vincent Weber
(1952-07-24) July 24, 1952 (age 66)
Slayton, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Minnesota, Twin Cities (attended)

John Vincent "Vin" Weber (born July 24, 1952) is a U.S. lobbyist and former Republican Congressman from Minnesota.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Weber was born in Slayton, Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities from 1970 to 1974.

Career[edit]

Weber was press secretary to Representative Tom Hagedorn from 1974 to 1975 and a senior aide to Senator Rudy Boschwitz from 1977 to 1980. He had been the co-publisher of Murray County newspaper from 1976 to 1978 and the president of Weber Publishing Company. Weber was a delegate to the Minnesota State Republican conventions in 1972 and 1978. In 1980, at the age of 28, he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, defeating Archie Baumann, 53% to 47%. Baumann had been an aide to former Representative Richard Nolan.

Weber chose not to run for reelection in 1992 and retired from Congress following the House banking scandal, in which he was implicated for writing 125 bad checks worth nearly $48,000.[2] As secretary of the House Republican Conference and key adviser to incoming Speaker Newt Gingrich, he was considered one of the architects of the Republicans' success in 1994.[citation needed] He was a commentator on National Public Radio the following year about developments in Congress after the Republicans took control of the House, providing commentary on the "revolution" he had helped create. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reported that Weber frequently offered his opinions on NPR about health care issues, but never revealed that he was a paid lobbyist for several health insurance giants.[3]

Weber was a member of the now defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and was one of the signers of the PNAC Letter[4] sent to US President Bill Clinton on January 26, 1998, advocating "the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power", along with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and 29 other notable Republicans.[5]

Weber opened and managed the Washington, D.C. branch of lobbying firm Clark & Weinstock. In 2006, home mortgage giant Freddie Mac paid Weber $360,297 to lobby on its behalf to fend off meaningful regulation in the lead-up to the subprime mortgage crisis.[6] Weber also lobbied for Gazprom, Russia's state-owned natural gas company.[7]

In 2011 Clark & Weinstock merged with Mercury,[8] and Weber became a partner in the combined firm.[9]

Weber is a prominent strategist in the Republican Party, serving as a top advisor on Dole for President in 1996, the Bush reelection campaign in 2004, and Romney for President in 2008.[10] Weber is chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit organization designed to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. He is a senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota, where he is co-director of the Policy Forum. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Law and Politics at the University of Minnesota Law School[11] and the nonprofit America Abroad Media.[12] Weber is a board member of several private-sector and nonprofit organizations, including ITT Educational Services, Department 56, and the Aspen Institute. He also serves on the board of The Council on Foreign Relations and co-chaired the Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy toward Reform in the Arab World with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In addition, Weber is a member of the U.S. Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board.

Weber was one of the Republicans who turned against the surprise Donald Trump candidacy, telling CNBC on August 3, 2016, "I can't imagine I'd remain a Republican if he becomes president."[13][14][15] On August 17, 2016, the Associated Press reported that Mercury Public Affairs LLC., which Weber heads, had received $1.02 million from Paul Manafort's European Centre for a Modern Ukraine to lobby Congress to support pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovich during the Autumn 2012 Ukrainian elections and to block the release from prison of Yanukovich's rival, Julia Tymoshenko.[16][17][18] For his lobbying Congress on behalf of pro-Russia entities, Weber received at least $700,000.[19] Established in 2012, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine had been supported by Yanukovich's pro-Russia Party of Regions and continued to pay Mercury for lobbying until February 2014, when Yanukovich fled Ukraine for Russia after the Maidan revolution.[16] From 2012 until February 2014 and directed by Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, Weber, who was the principal for Mercury's Ukraine-related lobbying portfolio beginning in 2012, acted as an unregistered agent of a foreign government and foreign political party, a felony offense under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), with a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.[16][19][20][21] On April 28, 2017, Mercury retroactively filed with FARA within the Justice Department that it had been hired by the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.[22] Mercury had filed its lobbying efforts with Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.[23] Files between Mercury and the Manafort and Gates firms connected to Yanukovich and his Party of Regions were subpeonaed by the Mueller investigation.[24] In July 2018, New York prosecutors were referred by Mueller to investigate any wrongdoing by Weber and Mercury Public Affairs LLC.[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vin Weber". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  2. ^ Priest, Dana (March 29, 1992). "Hill check-kiters face sympathy deficit". The Washington Post. Washington, DC. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  3. ^ "NPR Health Reform "Debate" Needs Second Opinion". FAIR. June 1, 1994. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  4. ^ "PNAC Letter". Archived from the original on August 22, 2006. Retrieved August 11, 2006.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 22, 2006. Retrieved August 11, 2006. PNAC Letter
  6. ^ Yost, Pete (December 7, 2008). "How Freddie Mac halted regulatory drive". Associated Press. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  7. ^ O'Brien, Luke. "Putin's Washington". POLITICO (January/February 2015). Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  8. ^ "Mercury and Clark & Weinstock to Merge in Washington, D.C." PR Newswire. October 18, 2011.
  9. ^ "Hon. Vin Weber - Mercury". mercuryllc.com. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  10. ^ "Arena Profile: Vin Weber". The Arena (Politico).
  11. ^ "Politics Law and Economics Blog - Ideas about law, politics, economics, and science policy in America". politicslaw.org. Archived from the original on October 6, 2007. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  12. ^ "Vin Weber". America Abroad Media.
  13. ^ Harwood, John (August 3, 2016). "Former top Gingrich ally calls Trump nom 'mistake of historic proportions'". CNBC. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  14. ^ "Vin Weber on American Internationalism, Trump, & Our Parties".
  15. ^ "Vin Weber Transcript - Conversations with Bill Kristol".
  16. ^ a b c "AP Sources: Manafort tied to undisclosed foreign lobbying". Associated Press. August 17, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  17. ^ Harding, Luke (5 April 2018). "Former Trump aide approved 'black ops' to help Ukraine president: Paul Manafort authorised secret media operation that sought to discredit key opponent of then Ukrainian president". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  18. ^ Hosenball, Mark; Strobel, Warren (December 20, 2013). "With cash, Ukraine's political foes bring fight to Washington". Reuters. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Sherry, Allison (August 25, 2016). "Vin Weber linked to ex-Trump strategist's Ukrainian lobbying effort". StarTribune. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  20. ^ Brodey, Sam (November 1, 2017). "How former Minnesota congressman Vin Weber could figure into Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia probe". MinnPost. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  21. ^ Schramm, Adrian Daniel (November 3, 2017). "Mueller Russia probe reveals Minnesota connection". Twin Cities Agenda. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  22. ^ Westwood, Sarah (November 4, 2017). "Why Robert Mueller is making K Street Republicans and Democrats sweat". Washington Examiner. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  23. ^ Hudson, John (June 17, 2017). "Lobbyists' Foreign Agent Filing Raises Questions: A dead-end disclosure may not really be in the spirit of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, lawyers say". BuzzFeed. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  24. ^ Vorozhko, Tatiana (November 3, 2017). "US Lobbyists Missed Red Flags in Manafort-linked Contracts". VOA. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  25. ^ Barrett, Delvin; Zapotosky, Matt (July 31, 2018). "Mueller referred foreign lobbying case to New York prosecutors". Washington Post. Retrieved September 25, 2018.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Rick Nolan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th congressional district

1981–1983
Succeeded by
Gerry Sikorski
Preceded by
Tom Hagedorn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 2nd congressional district

1983–1993
Succeeded by
David Minge
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert J. Lagomarsino
Secretary of the House Republican Conference
1989–1993
Succeeded by
Tom DeLay