Trump Pardons Junk Bond King After Wealthy Supporters Give Nearly $40 Million To Campaign Effort And Inauguration

Washington DC – President Donald Trump announced a full presidential pardon this week for notorious 1980s “Junk Bond King” Michael Milken and several other white collar criminals. Milken’s pardon was publicly backed by a variety of wealthy Trump friends and associates that have collectively funded Donald Trump’s campaign and inauguration to the tune of nearly $40 million, consumer watchdog group Allied Progress found. Additionally, just last year, Milken flew Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin from Washington, DC to Los Angeles on his private yet. The swamp it appears is alive and well.

Milken was originally fined $600 million and sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to “six felony counts, including securities fraud, mail fraud and aiding in the filing of a false tax return,” but has since rebounded to become a billionaire who runs The Milken Institute, an economic think tank.

“Donald Trump pardoned one of the poster children for Wall Street greed because some big donors told him to. It’s a glaring reminder that the President has always been a swamp lover, not a swamp fighter,” said Derek Martin, director of consumer watchdog group Allied Progress. “Do the Senators who hoped the President ‘learned his lesson’ after trying to abuse presidential power for personal political gain now have any concern that he’s turned to auctioning off our justice system to the highest bidder?”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Trump Pardons Michael Milken As A Favor To Campaign Donors And Prominent Supporters

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Who Advocated For Michael Milken’s Pardon, Is A Longtime Friend Of Milken And Was Even Given Access To Milken’s Private Jet And Allowed Milken To Attend A “High-Level Dinner At The Treasury Department.”

In January 2019, Michael Milken Allowed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – A Longtime Friend Who Had Encouraged Trump To Pardon Milken Since At Least 2018 – Use Of His Private Jet To Fly From Washington, D.C. To Los Angeles. 

In January 2019, Michael Milken Let Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Use His Private Jet To Fly From Washington, D.C. To Los Angeles, California. “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin flew from Washington to Los Angeles this month on the private aircraft of Michael R. Milken, the billionaire ‘junk bond’ king who pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 1990 and served two years in prison. The flight, which was confirmed by the Treasury Department on Friday, was the latest example of Trump administration officials using luxury or government aircraft for personal reasons. Mr. Mnuchin, who was accompanied by Secret Service agents on Mr. Milken’s jet, travels frequently to California to visit his children who live there.” [Alan Rappeport, “Mnuchin Flew to L.A. on Private Jet of Billionaire Michael Milken,” The New York Times, 01/18/19]

Steven Mnuchin, A Longtime Friend Of Michael Milken, Had Been Encouraging Trump To Pardon Milken Since At Least 2018.  “A Treasury Department spokesman said that Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Milken have known each other for years and that after reviewing internally the secretary’s plans to take the flight, it was decided that he did not need an ethics waiver. Mr. Mnuchin has reimbursed Mr. Milken for the cost of the flight, the spokesman said, but did not disclose the amount. Trump administration officials, including Mr. Mnuchin, had been encouraging President Trump last year to pardon Mr. Milken, who pleaded guilty to six criminal charges related to securities transactions undertaken in the 1980s.” [Alan Rappeport, “Mnuchin Flew to L.A. on Private Jet of Billionaire Michael Milken,” The New York Times, 01/18/19]

In July 2019, Michael Milken Attended A “High-Level Dinner At The Treasury Department” That Not Even The British Ambassador To The United States Was Allowed To Attend.

In July 2019, Michael Milken Attended A “High-Level Dinner At The Treasury Department” In “Honor Of The Emir Of Qatar” That The British Ambassador To The United States Was Not Even Allowed To Attend. “The British ambassador to the U.S. was disinvited to a high-level dinner at the Treasury Department Monday night in honor of the emir of Qatar, as President Trump moved to freeze out the diplomat who wrote unflattering cables about his administration. […] Among the guests at the dinner were […] Milken Institute Chairman Michael Milken” [Dave Boyer, “Trump shuts out British ambassador for high-level dinner,” Washington Times, 07/08/19]

Nelson Peltz, A Major Trump Fundraiser Who Built His Fortune On Michael Milken’s Junk Bonds, Advocated For Milken’s Pardon.

Nelson Peltz, Who Recently Raised Over $10 Million For Trump’s Re-Election Campaign, Advocated For Michael Milken’s Pardon – Peltz Also Used “More Than $1 Billion In Junk Bond Debt, Courtesy Of Milken” To Create The “Biggest Packaging Company In The World” In The 1980s.

Nelson Peltz, “The Chief Executive Officer And Founding Partner Of Trian Fund Management LP” Who Recently Held A Fundraiser At His Home That Raised “More Than $10 Million For The President’s Re-Election Campaign,” Advocated For Milken’s Pardon. “Also among those who backed Milken’s pardon is Nelson Peltz, the chief executive officer and founding partner of Trian Fund Management LP, according to the White House. Peltz threw a fundraiser for Trump at his Florida home on Saturday that raised more than $10 million for the president’s re-election campaign.” [Jordan Fabian and Josh Wingrove, “Trump Releases Blagojevich From Prison, Pardons Financier Milken,” Yahoo! Finance, 02/18/20]

Starting In 1985, Nelson Peltz Created The “Biggest Packaging Company In The World, Triangle Industries,” By Using “More Than $1 Billion In Junk Bond Debt, Courtesy Of Milken,” To Purchase “National Can And American Can.” “After dropping out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1962, [Nelson] Peltz (who still has only a high school diploma) built his family’s tiny frozen-food business in Brooklyn into the largest distributor in the Northeast. Starting in 1985, he marshaled more than $1 billion in junk bond debt, courtesy of [Michael] Milken, to assemble the biggest packaging company in the world, Triangle Industries, by gobbling up National Can and American Can, among other prey.” [Shawn Tully, “The Former Takeover Titan Is Now A Brand Builder–And Maybe Even The Shareholder’s New Best Friend,” Fortune, 03/19/07]

Individuals Who Advocated For Michael Milken’s Pardon Have Donated Or Fundraised Over $32 Million To Trump-Associated Campaign Committees And Over $6.7 Million To The 2017 Trump Inauguration.

Donor Name Money to Trump Campaign Committees Money to Trump Inauguration
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson $20,000,000 $5,000,000
Nelson Peltz $10,000,000 $100,000
Anthony Scaramucci $150,400 n/a
Thomas Barrack $786,600 n/a
William Ford n/a $250,000 (Donation from Ford Motor Co.)
Robert Kraft n/a $1,000,000 (Donation from Kraft Group)
Richard LeFrak $360,800.00 $150,000
John Paulson $355,400.00 $250,000
Steven Roth $555,600.00 n/a
Total $32,208,800 $6,750,000

Nelson Peltz, Sheldon And Miriam Adelson, And Robert Kraft Supported Milken’s Pardon. “Nelson Peltz, a billionaire who threw Trump a fundraiser Saturday night, backed pardoning Milken, as did billionaire political donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Fox host Maria Bartiromo, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and some of Trump’s New York friends.” [Reis Thebault, “Who is Michael Milken, the ‘junk bond king’ Trump just pardoned?,” The Washington Post, 02/18/20]

Milken’s Pardon Was Also Supported By Billionaires Thomas Barrack, William, Ford, Richard Lefrak, John Paulson, And Steven Roth. “This pardon has widespread and longstanding support, including from the following individuals […] Tom Barrack, […] William Ford, […] Robert Kraft, Richard LeFrak, […] John Paulson, Nelson Peltz, Steven Roth, David Rubenstein, Larry Ruvo, Marc Stern, Steven Tananbaum, Ted Virtue, Andrew von Eschenbach, Mark Weinberger, and Gary Winnick.” [Press Release, White House, 02/18/20]

Anthony Scaramucci, The Former White House Communications Director, Also Advocated For Milken’s Pardon. “The idea of a Milken pardon is being supported by Anthony Scaramucci, the financier who briefly directed White House communications; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; and Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, the people said.” [Greg Farrell, Katherine Burton, and John Gittelsohn, “Trump Insiders Seek Pardon for ‘Junk Bond King’ Michael Milken,” Bloomberg News, 06/15/18]

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