Jan. 28, 2005

Washingtonpost.com: Scaife: Funding Father of the Right

Scaife: Funding Father of the Right

Richard Mellon Scaife
Conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. (AP)
By Robert G. Kaiser and Ira Chinoy
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, May 2, 1999; Page A1

First of two articles

One August day in 1994, while gossiping about politics over lunch on Nantucket, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Pittsburgh billionaire and patron of conservative causes, made a prediction. "We're going to get Clinton," Joan Bingham, a New York publisher present at the lunch, remembers him saying. "And you'll be much happier," he said to Bingham and another Democrat at the table, "because Al Gore will be president."

Bingham was startled at the time, but in the years since – as Clinton has struggled with an onslaught from political enemies – Scaife's assertion came to seem less and less far-fetched.

Scaife did get involved in numerous anti-Clinton activities. He gave $2.3 million to the American Spectator magazine to dig up dirt on Clinton and supported other conservative groups that harassed the president and his administration. The White House and its allies responded by fingering Scaife as the central figure in "a vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president," as Hillary Rodham Clinton described it. James Carville, Clinton's former campaign aide and rabid defender, called Scaife "the archconservative godfather in [a] heavily funded war against the president."

know thine enemy........

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