Opinion: Morning Examiner

Is John Podesta's patron giving bloody new meaning to the term 'dark money'?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Barack Obama,Center for American Progress,Wyoming,Liberalism,John Podesta

There may be a new meaning for the term "dark money," thanks to Hansjorg Wyss, the Swiss multibillionaire who gives millions of dollars every year to fund liberal activists like Obama White House counselor John Podesta.

As the Washington Examiner's Richard Pollock reported Wednesday, Wyss was the long-time CEO and major stockholder of a medical device company, Synthes, Inc.

Under Wyss's leadership, Synthes conducted a series of illegal human experiments that resulted in the deaths of three elderly patients. The firm paid a huge fine and four of its executives went to jail under a plea agreement in 2011.

Dark money = blood money?

Synthes was bought in 2012 by Johnson & Johnson in a deal that gave a huge boost to Wyss' already substantial wealth. Forbes rates him as the 112th richest person on earth. He now lives in Wyoming.

Wyss has long been an active and generous funder of liberal activists and activism groups. Since 2006, his HJW Foundation has give more than $110 million to 27 liberal groups.

Besides Podesta, who was a consultant to the HJW Foundation in 2013, Wyss is among the biggest donors to the Center for American Progress, which is among the most influential activist liberal think tanks in the country.

Besides CAP, which got $4.1 million from Wyss, the reclusive billionaire's generosity has benefitted the ACLU ($4.175 million), Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ($2.6 million) and the Nature Conservancy ($12.5 million).

Will liberals keep blood money?

The Examiner is asking spokesmen for each of the 27 liberal activist groups that have accepted Wyss' contributions if they were aware of his company's illegal human experiments and the three deaths that resulted from them.

The groups are also being asked, now that they know of those deaths and the conscious violation by Wyss' former company of FDA regulations that produced them, whether they will return the Wyss contributions.

It should be noted that the federal judge who heard the case against Synthes said the company's "pattern of deception is unparalleled.”

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