Bill Clinton is backing daughter Chelsea’s mother-in-law in a bid for Congress, amid a controversy that Marjorie Margolies may have misused funds for a small charity that she headed in 2001, when she was experiencing financial difficulties. The Huffington Post reported that Margolies doubled her pay as the head of the charity that was almost exclusively funded with taxpayers dollars. According to the Huffington Post, Margolies tried to get the charity to renovate and lease a mansion for her personal use. They further reported that she billed the charity for a car lease, and used staff from the charity to assist her in her faculty position at a local university.
Marjorie Margolies was once a one-term member of Congress, who was swept out of office in 1994 during the Newt Gingrich “Republican Revolution.” She was one of 34 democrat incumbents to lose reelection in the 1994 midterm elections. During that election, the Republicans would capture the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Marjorie Margolies would gain infamy by casting the deciding vote on President Bill Clinton’s controversial tax increase package in 1993. Many believe this vote cost her the 1994 election, and these tax increases played some role in the defeat of the 34 democrat incumbents.
Marjorie Margolies is no stranger to controversy. In 2001,her ex-husband, former Iowa Congressman Ed Mezvinsky, would be charged with dozens of fraud charges. He would ultimately would serve five years in a federal prison camp at Eglin Air Force base. She filed for bankruptcy, but her petition for bankruptcy protection was rejected by the court. She and her ex-husband would later see all their assets liquidated. It would also spoil her bid at running for US Senate. She subsequently withdrew her bid for US Senate.
Over a decade later, things would change for Margolies. Her son, Marc Mezvinsky, would marry presidential first daughter, Chelsea Clinton. She is now seeking another comeback by running for her old Congressional seat in suburban Philadelphia. She faces a tough Democratic primary scheduled for May 20, 2014. Margolies has one advantage over her Democratic opponents. She is backed by a former President and presidential daughter-in-law. Bill Clinton will appear at a fundraiser to be held for her on Thursday in Philadelphia. Tickets are believed to between $1,000 and $5,000.
Congressional candidate Margolies has fought back at the suggestions by the Huffington Post that she abused her position at the charity to help herself financially. She disputes claims that she set her own salary, and said that her salary was comparable to other similar sized charities. Her campaign manager has accused the Huffington Post of “cherry picking” the data used in their reporting. The Margolies campaign has said that it is also contemplating litigation against the Huffington Post. One of her senior campaign advisors referred to the Huffington Post report as a “political hit job.”
Margolies still defends her historic and controversial vote on the Clinton tax increases. She believes the tax increases ushered in the largest economic expansion since World War II. The other Democratic candidates had no comment on Bill Clinton backing daughter Chelsea’s mother-in-law in her bid for Congress, despite and amid controversy.
By John J. Poltonowicz
Follow John J. Poltonowicz on Twitter