Stanford Lobbyist, Bush Admin. Medicare Bamboozler Host Kasich Fundraiser

Two of the hosts of a fundraiser for Ohio GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich have some interesting items on their resumes: One was a senior executive and top lobbyist for alleged Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, while another is a former Bush administration official who threatened to fire a subordinate if he revealed to Congress the true cost of a major bill.

This afternoon, Washington’s tony Capitol Hill Club was the scene of a fundraiser for Kasich, the former Ohio congressman who is the presumptive Republican nominee to take on the incumbent Democratic governor, Ted Strickland, this fall. According to an invitation obtained by TPMmuckraker, the 15-person host committee includes Jim Conzelman and Tom Scully.As we reported earlier this year, Conzelman, a former top staffer on the House Ways and Means committee, was one of two men that Allen Stanford turned to in 2008 — while federal probes of the Texas banker were underway — to run an in-house lobbying operation. Conzelman was even given the title of Senior Vice President of Stanford Financial. That year, Stanford’s firm spent $2.2 million on lobbying. Stanford was charged last year with orchestrating an $8 billion Ponzi scheme.

As for Scully, as the Bush administration’s director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services, he was found to have directed a subordinate, Richard Foster, to withhold from Congress the true cost of the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit bill, and to have threatened to fire Foster if he revealed the cost. Foster’s cost estimate was not released until after Congress had very narrowly passed the bill.

Neither Conzelman nor Scully has become persona non grata since these episodes. Conzelman now runs the Ripon Society, a group of moderate Republicans. Scully is with the powerhouse law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird, where he works on health-care issues. Just last month, he published an op-ed in the Washington Post that called for “bipartisan health reform.”

So perhaps it’s no surprise that Kasich would be glad to have them host a fundraiser for him. But that may say more about Washington than anything else.