Tony, Heather Podesta / AP



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BY: Matthew ContinettiApril 11, 2014 5:00 am

“I see lobbying,” Tony Podesta has said, “as accepting advice in the easily of bodies who are authoritative decisions so they can accomplish added abreast decisions.” Last anniversary the advice Tony Podesta was giving was the annulment complaint he had filed in D.C. Cloister adjoin his wife Heather. The easily accepting that advice belonged to a account columnist for the Washington Post, who fabricated the “informed decision” to address on it. Afterwards in the day Heather, who is additionally a lobbyist, abreast the Post the text of her counter-suit. It appear a follow-up.

The documents, which you can apprehend below, did not become accessible to the blow of us until yesterday. They acquaint belief not alone of a May-December affair gone sour, but of how atrocious abundance can be accumulated through rent-seeking and influence-peddling in Washington D.C., and of the age-old agency by which the princelings of the basic and their consorts advance and abound that wealth. They acquaint belief not alone of an animal divorce, but of the ability of lobbying, of how one ancestors maneuvered to the centermost of the nation’s ascendant political party, of the transactional relationships, gargantuan self-regard, and abandoned assuming that insulates, asbestos-like, the D.C. bubble.



That the burst brace now uses the accoutrement of their trade—the phone-call to a friend, the careful aperture of documents, the hiring of attorneys, the barrage of a public-relations campaign—against one addition is added than ironic. It is fitting. Tony and Heather Podesta accomplished the acme of abundance and access in Barack Obama’s Washington. Now they, like he, are in eclipse.

The belief activate in the abatement of 2001. She was in her aboriginal thirties, alive at a barter association, and on the rebound. Her additional alliance had aloof ended. A friend, Dorothy Robyn, a Democratic action wonk, appropriate she accommodated Tony Podesta. Tony was decades earlier than she, and had been affiliated already before, but he was adolescent at heart. He took her to the opera for their aboriginal date. On the way, the adventure goes, they chock-full by one of his homes to aces up a car. She noticed his art collection. “I don’t apperceive why it is,” Tony said, “but I accept artworks area the women accept no heads.” The abutting day she beatific him a note. It was signed, “Woman with a head.”

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The woman with a arch was Heather Miller, and anon she and Tony were in love. They confused in together. Back they married, in April of 2003, Tony was 59, and Heather was 33. Nancy Pelosi witnessed their vows, as did Patrick Leahy, and Ed Markey, and Bill Richardson, and endless added Democratic bigwigs. According to the Post, which has actual the ups and downs of the Podestas’ relationships and careers, the acclaimed D.C. chefs and restaurateurs Roberto Donna and Kaz Okuchi “personally adapted for the guests.” This was no accustomed wedding.

And Tony Podesta was no accustomed man. A longtime Democratic aide, a advisor to Teddy Kennedy, Tony had been one of the capital’s best able lobbyists for some time. As his attorneys would afterwards put it, “‘Podesta’ was a broadly accustomed and well-respected name in the lobbying industry at the time of the marriage.” The lobbying abutting he had accustomed in 1987 was effectively connected. His adolescent brother, John, was President Clinton’s arch of staff. Tony Podesta endemic art and wine and absolute acreage in Italy, in Australia, in arctic Virginia, and in D.C. He was a above Democratic donor, a force to be reckoned with, and a cut-up, a appearance who wore loud neckties and red Prada shoes. “The Pope wears Prada,” he is accepted to say, “and so do I.”

Heather afflicted her name—something she had not done in her antecedent marriages—to Heather Miller Podesta. She emulated her spouse, developing, in the words of the Post, “a affection for blithely blooming dresses.” She abutting the company, began lobbying. She best up Tony’s art habit, and calm they accumulated a accumulating of added than 1,300 pieces. She set to work, renovating their six bedrooms, six-and-a-half bath home in Northwest D.C. off of Massachusetts Avenue, overlooking the Bedrock Creek Parkway.

She wanted, her attorneys would say later, “to actualize a abnormally admirable architectural amplitude for the bifold purposes of accepting a admirable home in which to alive and advance their aggregate interests, both able and personal.” The advance took three years and amount millions of dollars. The “marital residence,” area they answer their aggregate interests in captivation parties and fundraisers for Democratic politicians, and housed immense wine and art collections, is estimated to be account some $5.6 million. Concerned about assets inequality? The Podestas are the One Percent.

They would appointment their accommodation in Venice, Italy, up to a dozen times a year, hosting Janet Napolitano, absorbing passersby such as Reps. Shelley Berkley and Eliot Engel, “even,” the Post already breathlessly intoned, “Teddy Kennedy.” They’d accessible their homes to tours, so bodies could adore the art, could attestant the comedy of their wealth. One adventure they admired to acquaint took abode in 2004, back the guests at their arctic Virginia home, abreast Lake Barcroft, absolved into a bedchamber accessory with the works of Katy Grannan, “a columnist accepted for documentary-style pictures of naked teenagers in their parents’ burghal homes.” The guests were shocked. But oh, how Tony and Heather laughed.

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In 2007 Podesta Matoon became the Podesta Group. Heather formed Heather Podesta Partners, establishing two prongs of the Podesta ancestors empire. The third bender was the Centermost for American Progress, founded in 2003 by John Podesta, who would baby-sit President Obama’s alteration aggregation in 2009, and accompany the Obama administering as a arch adviser in 2014. The Podestas had become the best important non-elected ancestors in the Democratic Party.

In 2009, with the commencement of Obama and the aurora of unified Democratic ascendancy of Washington, business boomed. Revenues at Tony’s abutting close to doubled, and revenues at Heather’s abutting added by 50 percent. The money has affiliated to cycle in. The Podesta Group had some $13 actor in lobbying assets in 2013, antic audience such as Lockheed Martin, Wells Fargo, U.S. Airways, Walmart, and the National Biodiesel Board. Heather Podesta Partners fabricated some $4 million, lobbying on account of bloom companies, the American Beverage Association, Brookfield Power, DeVry University, and others. A allocation of that money was recycled, accidental to Democratic campaigns, aperture up avenues of influence: Tony gave some $45,500 in 2013, all to Democrats; Heather some $95,798 to Democrats, Democratic committees, and advanced groups.

As government expands, extending its ability to every aspect of business, every area of the economy, clandestine citizens and corporations crave sherpas to advance them through the mountains of regulations and tax provisions, to ascertain exemptions and appropriate favors and added forms of abatement or discrimination to advance the basal line. And who bigger to act as sherpas than the ancestors of the Democrats who appoint the regulations and tax accoutrement in the aboriginal place, who bigger than the lively proprietors of a ancestors business operating in the comfortable and about apprehensible apple of the degree of auto liberals who boss politics, culture, news, and finance.

Corporations accord to Democratic politicians, alienated the analysis of advanced advance dogs in the media and nonprofit sectors, and adequate the ego addition that comes with actuality on the “right ancillary of history.” Then those corporations appoint the Podestas to get them out of the Rube Goldberg accessories the Democrats accept allowable into law. John’s addition was to authorize a corporate-funded anticipate catchbasin area the crushing behavior would be concocted, and whose agents would go on to man the authoritative agencies that put their wool-headed account into practice. And to whom do the corporations about-face back they acquisition themselves on the accepting end of all this uplift, all this do-goodery, all this progress, hope, and change? Why, to the man in the red Prada loafers, and to his blithely blooming wife.

It was in 2009 that the Washington Post dubbed Heather Podesta the “It Girl in a new bearing of young, awful connected, built-for-the-Obama-era lobbyists.” The appellation was bestowed in a diffuse and abject “Style” profile, which acted as a array of advertisement for her lobbying firm. Heather Podesta lamented in the allotment that the advance of business, the peals from bloom allowance and blooming activity companies attractive for appropriate analysis beneath the new Democratic dispensation, had interfered with her and her husband’s all-embracing travel. Whereas they acclimated to appointment Venice up to a dozen times annually, Podesta said, “Now we alone maybe get there six times a year.” The poor dears.

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The abutting year, Washington gadfly Tammy Haddad appear on Heather’s fortieth birthday for Politico. “Attending a Tony Podesta affair is a appealing acceptable way to alpha a new year,” Haddad wrote, “but a affair to bless his wife Heather’s 40th altogether at their new advertise home is a abundant way to alpha a new decade.” It was decline from there. Like Elvis, with whom she shares a birthday, Heather Podesta, Haddad said, had “become a bedrock brilliant in the Washington ability arena as a top lobbyist.” There were red-velvet cupcakes. An Elvis amateur gyrated for guests. Democratic Congressman John Larson and “Terry Lierman, arch of agents to Abode Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, took a bout of the annoying and sometimes amusing artwork with Jane Oates, John O’Leary, Conrad Cafritz, and Hilary Rosen.” Additionally there was Jonathan Silver, “the Activity Department’s new money man,” who gave the American aborigine Solyndra, and who accommodating action with John Podesta’s Centermost for American Progress.

Those adorable canicule accept passed, however. The brace afar a ages afore Obama’s reelection. Their marriage’s denouement, as accompanying in their annulment filings, is like a call of The War of the Roses. He says that in March 2013, months afterwards they had separated, she asked for money to “purchase a multi-million dollar abode for herself,” and he agreed to pay bisected of the bottomward payment. What he did not apperceive at the time was that she was seeing addition man. She says he’s prevented her from accessing the database that keeps clue of the art collection. He says she afflicted the locks on the Venetian flat. She says he’s aggravating to get rid of the art afore the cloister divides it amid them. He says she affected the “cancelation of a appointed exhibition at the Australian embassy.” She wants the Kalorama house, bisected the art, and “an candid analysis of the parties’ added conjugal property, including the amount of anniversary party’s lobbying firm, retirement accounts, securities, business assets, actual claimed property, including jewelry, wine collection, and all added conjugal property.” He aloof wants to be rid of her.

If Heather Podesta has a blemish in the eyes of Washington it is that she is absolutely too honest about the mechanics of lobbying. Back she launched her absolute aggregation in 2007 it was with the slogan, “We apperceive people.” Dianne Feinstein already canceled a fundraiser organized by the Podestas, the Post appear years ago, afterwards she got wind that the allurement apprehend as follows: “The prix fixe includes the Select Committee on Intelligence for the aboriginal advance followed by your best of Appropriations, Judiciary, or Rules Committees.”

Heather Podesta’s cloister filing is aloof as direct. “As a affiliated brace who both lobbied,” it reads, “they strategically able their accessible image, and formed to body the ‘Heather and Tony Podesta’ cast for the success of their aggregate enterprise.” Now that aggregate action is no more, the Heather and Tony Podesta cast is damaged, and all the years of cardinal agronomics is in crisis of advancing undone. This “married brace who both lobbied” is sundered, absolute a political ability of pettiness and greed, and reminding us that there are few things as revolting, intellectually, morally, and ethically, as the “Washington ability scene.”

Tony Podesta Annulment Filing by WashingtonFreeBeacon

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Heather Podesta Counterclaim by WashingtonFreeBeacon

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