Trump’s Tariffs Got You Down? It Pays to Be Mick Mulvaney’s “Close Friend”

Mulvaney’s Personal Lobbying for a Campaign Contributor Means an Exemption from Trump’s Tariffs – All for the Bargain Price of $10,000


A Company Owned By a Campaign Donor and “Close Friend” of Mick Mulvaney’s Got A Waiver from Trump’s Tariffs After Mulvaney Intervened

Element Electronics, A TV Manufacturer In South Carolina, Received A Coveted Exemption from Trump Administration Tariffs… 

Element Electronics, A Television Manufacturer in Mulvaney’s Former Congressional District, Got an Exemption from The Latest Trump Administration Tariffs. “A television assembly company in a South Carolina county that Office of Management and Budget Chief Mick Mulvaney represented in Congress has won an exemption from new tariffs that the Trump administration is imposing on goods made in China.” [Dan Mangan, “South Carolina electronics company in district that Trump budget chief Mick Mulvaney represented in Congress gets an exemption from new China tariffs,”CNBC, 09/19/18]

… After Mulvaney Personally Advocated for The Company to Trump Administration Officials.

A South Carolina State Senator Cited Mulvaney’s Ties to Trump As Important in The Effort to Obtain the Waiver. “Referring to McMaster and Mulvaney and their ties to Trump, [South Carolina State Senator Mike] Fanning said, ‘If we didn’t have that relationship, I don’t think we would have really been able to tell that story’ to federal officials. A spokesman for Mulvaney declined to comment on Fanning’s characterization of Mulvaney’s role in helping to obtain the waiver for Element.” [Dan Mangan, “South Carolina electronics company in district that Trump budget chief Mick Mulvaney represented in Congress gets an exemption from new China tariffs,”CNBC, 09/19/18] 

  • Mulvaney Had Been Making “Personal Pleas” To Exempt from Tariffs Element Electronics, Which is Owned by His “Close Friend.” “President Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, is trying to use his influence to help a South Carolina business that could be badly wounded by the White House’s trade policies. Mulvaney, a former South Carolina Republican congressman, has been making personal pleas to administration officials to protect the viability of Element Electronics, a television assembly plant in his old district that has said it will halt operations because of tariffs.” Mulvaney “was not responsible for Element’s arrival [in South Carolina]… but he did eventually become close friends with Element President Michael O’Shaughnessy.” [Emma Dumain, “Trump’s budget chief is trying to protect his home state from tariffs,” McClatchy DC, 08/20/18]

The Company’s CEO and his Wife Have Given Mulvaney Over $10,000 In Campaign Cash and Personally Lobbied Him on The Issue

Element Electronics CEO Michael O’Shaughnessy And His Wife Donated Over $10,000 To Mulvaney In 2016… 

Michael And Shyan O’Shaughnessy Each Maxed Out Their Donations to Mulvaney In 2016, Giving Him A Total Of $10,800. [Mulvaney for Congress Schedule A, Federal Election Commission, 09/30/2016; Mulvaney for Congress Schedule A, Federal Election Commission, 09/30/16; Mulvaney for Congress Schedule A, Federal Election Commission, 06/14/16] 

…And Had Been Personally Lobbying Mulvaney On the Tariff Issue Before He Left Congress. 

O’Shaughnessy, Element Electronics’ President Had Been Lobbying Mulvaney Against Tariffs on His Products While Mulvaney Was Still in Congress, “Months Before” Trump’s Election.  “O’Shaughnessy was actually lobbying Mulvaney to fight for certain tariff exemptions that would help Element in 2016, months before the presidential election. At the time, Mulvaney told Reuters he faced hurdles in convincing colleagues on Capitol Hill that the exclusions wouldn’t be tantamount to ‘earmarks’ — the much-aligned, and now forbidden, practice of securing financial assistance for member pet projects in pieces of legislation.” [Emma Dumain, “Trump’s budget chief is trying to protect his home state from tariffs,” McClatchy DC, 08/20/18] 

The Company Was Previously Accused of False Advertising and Its CEO Was Implicated in A $3.7 Billion Ponzi Scheme

In 2014, Element Electronics was accused of “false advertising” for saying their televisions were assembled in the United States.“A manufacturing alliance has filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission accusing Element Electronics of false advertising…” … “The group claims Element’s assembly consists of employees removing the televisions from boxes shipped from China, checking the screens for scratches and using pneumatic screwdrivers to open the back of each television and insert a memory board. Workers also do some mechanical testing on the televisions, the group claims, which are then repackaged and sold at stores such as Wal-Mart.” [Jeff Wilkinson, “Petition calls Element’s ‘Assembled in U.S.’ claims bogus,” The State, 11/12/14] 

Additionally, O’Shaughnessy was previously implicated in a “$3.7 billion, 14-year Ponzi scheme – one of the largest scams in U.S. history.” “In April 2010, Thomas Petters of Minnesota was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for masterminding a $3.7 billion, 14-year Ponzi scheme – one of the largest scams in U.S. history. Michael O’Shaughnessy, also from Minnesota, led several companies owned by Petters, including the Polaroid Corp., during the time federal authorities said Petters was operating the Ponzi scheme, records show. Although O’Shaughnessy faced no criminal charges, ongoing federal lawsuits against O’Shaughnessy allege that he improperly received nearly $9.4 million in bonuses and fees that were funded by defrauded investors.” [Rick Brundrett, “Governor, Commerce Silent on Ponzi-scheme Lawsuits,” The Nerve, 08/28/13]

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