A bit of a political angle has emerged in the FBI’s investigation into corrupt college admissions practices. We assume that the Hollywood elite are liberal in their political views, and rightly so as most are but the Operation Varsity Blues investigation includes both RNC and DNC donors. I had not thought about politics in this scandal but then I read a Page Six piece about a tweet from D-List celebrity, Tom Arnold.
Arnold, a perennial vulgarian and agitator, tweets he was involved in a dust-up with Mossimo Giannulli at a Hollywood party a month ago. Arnold was triggered because Giannulli is a Trump supporter. How dare Mossimo voice a politically conservative opinion! The dad, now under indictment along with wife Lori Loughlin, possesses a political view “right of Attila the Hun”, according to Roseanne’s ex-husband.
Couple wks ago I got into it with for 10th time with #CollegeCheatingScandal DAD at big party cause his sloppy ass was rambling on again about Trump & people carrying their own weight & his own conservative politics being “right of Attila the Hun” He embarrassed Scandal Mom again
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) March 13, 2019
The incident happened at a party for Hollywood film producer and writer Steve Tisch’s 70th birthday held at the Hollywood Palladium. There’s a witness, as though the verbal disagreement is something that needs witnesses and verification.
A spy seconded Arnold’s account, telling Page Six, “Mossimo was talking about how he agrees with Trump, and that people need to carry their own weight. He was saying there’s a lot of ‘takers’ out there and entitled people.”
How silly. Arnold just wants to piggyback off a tragic and disgusting scandal for a little publicity. Who among us hasn’t voiced a political opinion and had a listener jump down our throat? The political atmosphere is such that normal family gatherings can cause disagreements that end in family estrangement, as crazy as that sounds. It happens. Now we are told by a Hollywood celebrity that expecting people to “carry their own weight” puts you in Attila the Hun territory.
So, following along the introduction of politics into the discussion on the Operation Varsity Blues scandal, I read this article that brings some major political donors into the mix. Though the article is careful to make the distinction that there isn’t evidence that any of the big spenders used their access to politicians to help get their kids into colleges, it adds another ripple effect to the story.
Will the candidates who received contributions from the people involved in Operation Varsity Blues return the donations or donate the money to charity? Donations made by unindicted spouses were not brought into the equation.
It’s not uncommon, however, for elected officials to write letters of recommendation to universities and colleges at the behest of constituents, but the question is whether campaign donors and bundlers (donors who raise money for campaigns on a voluntary basis) were able to obtain letters of recommendation from elected officials based on no qualifying factors other than campaign funds.
HuffPost has asked all of the candidates and committees who were beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the people indicted Tuesday whether they plan to donate or return the campaign contributions and whether the elected officials ever aided the donors with their children’s college admissions by writing a letter or contacting the secondary education institutions in any way to support or influence their admission decisions. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday afternoon that he would contribute $30,000 donated by vintner Agustin Huneeus to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said he would return $5,400 contributed by Crown Realty CEO Robert Flaxman. Other politicians and organizations had not responded by Tuesday evening.
Here’s a list of contributions. The article goes on to itemize contributions from some now indicted individuals. It’s quite an extensive list. It is indeed bi-partisan. The largest amounts of monetary contributions went to the DNC and to Mitt Romney.
- At least $135,525 to the Democratic National Committee
- At least $131,800 to committees benefiting or controlled by then-presidential candidate and current U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)
- At least $73,600 to the Republican National Committee
- At least $30,000 to committees benefiting Gavin Newsom
- At least $25,000 to the Kamala Harris Senate Committee and the committee for her California attorney general candidacy
- At least $16,900 to committees benefiting or controlled by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
- $8,350 to the National Republican Campaign Committee
- $8,350 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Here are the itemized political donations from the two Hollywood names in the scandal:
Mossimo Giannulli, fashion designer, and Lori Loughlin, actress
$12,800 in total contributions to federal candidates and committees
$2,700 to the Marco Rubio senate campaign (via Mossimo Giannulli)
$5,000 to Romney Victory in 2012 (via Mossimo Giannulli)
Felicity Huffman, actress
$10,719.17 in total federal contributions
$1,537.50 of which was to the Kamala Harris Senate campaign committee
As we can see, Giannulli and Loughlin were bigger players than Huffman. This also was shown in the amounts of money paid to the college admissions counselor. Giannulli and Loughlin paid $500,000 to get their daughters into USC while Huffman paid $15,000 to help her kid.
Also, one current Democratic presidential candidate is drawn into this, as well. An indicted marketing CEO, Jane Buckingham, held a high-end fundraiser for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s exploratory run in Beverly Hills. Actor Will Ferrell and Hollywood heavy-hitter Shonda Rhimes were co-hosts. Buckingham allegedly paid $50,000 to get her son into USC.
Buckingham is listed as a co-host for a high-end Beverly Hills, Calif., event at the home of Los Angeles FC owner Larry Berg and his wife, Allison, last Saturday to fund Gillibrand’s exploratory 2020 presidential run.
Co-hosts also included Will Ferrell, “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes and her über agent Chris Silbermann, plus Harvard MBA and author Samantha Ettus. It cost donors $2,800 to be a co-host of the event.
To circle back to Tom Arnold, does the information above on Giannulli’s political contributions show him to be “right of Attila the Hun? Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio? Hardly. Those two often are on the receiving end of criticism from conservative voters. Arnold’s claim isn’t to be taken any more seriously than himself if you ask me.
This scandal isn’t going away any time soon.