We’ve been sitting for a couple weeks on our latest addition to the TPM Document Collection. So let me just introduce it now, though only with a minimal introduction. The new dossier is our first installment of the foreign agent’s registration for Richard Schechter and Wyatt Stewart on behalf of Bogoljub Karic and the Karic companies.
Karic was a big-time crony of Slobodan Milosevic who made billions of dollars in the uneven, jagged privatization of the Yugoslav economy.
This filing illustrates an extremely common practice in the foreign agency game: foreign leaders who don’t want to hire DC representation themselves will often get a businessman crony to do it for them. In this case what Karic et al. wanted was very clear: they were trying to get sanctions lifted.
Schechter is a lawyer and apparently something of a real estate developer. Stewart, meanwhile was pretty clearly brought on board because of the juice he had with Republican heavies in Washington, DC. Stewart is a storied DC Republican political operative who was with the National Republican Congressional Committee back into the mid-1970s. Here’s Republican uber-insider Rich Galen calling Stewart the man “whom Washington insiders know as the man who, for all intents and purposes, invented the use of direct mail in politics.”
I’m still working over these documents to get a handle on precisely what was going on. But the basic outline is pretty clear. Schechter and Stewart were trying to work the Contract-With-America-era Republican power structure to make the Yugoslav sanctions into a partisan issue and hopefully get them lifted.
Here you can see how one part of the deal was that Schechter was supposed to set up a front group called the “International Committee for Peace in the Balkans” in Washington, DC.
Here you can see how he’s supposed to hook Karic up with Ted Turner and Larry King.
Here you can see how Schechter was trying to pitch Karic on some hot real estate properties in Texas.
And, finally, here you can see how Schechter and Stewart were trying to convince Karic that their “very substantial relationships with the large fruit companies active in South America” could help him set up some other lucrative venture. (Sort of sounds like a set-piece for a lefty college course on Latin America, doesn’t it?)