How to get a Mueller indictment
Tips for scoring the hottest seats in Washington
Hate to admit: I’m jealous of the folks being named in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
To be a target, you clearly need power, money, and high-level U.S. and global political connections. I have none of these.
You also need what reluctant assassin Martin Blank described in the 1997 film, Grosse Point Blank: a psychic profile that fits a certain … “moral flexibility.”
I confess to having a touch of that, mostly applied to low crimes and misdemeanors. Like fibbing about having a “court meeting” that implies a legal conference but really means I’m playing tennis during a work day.
For that and other reasons, I have no standing to judge anyone.
In fact, while many are enjoying naughty schadenfreude from the Mueller indictments or tearing ocular muscles rolling their eyes at the sputtering Trump defense, deflection, and redirection toward Hillary, I’m taking a lesson in how to succeed in Washington infamy:
- Rise from a lowly Congressional/White House staffer or political party functionary and leverage connections along the way to become a multimillionaire Washington consultant or lobbyist. And Fox/CNN guest. And industry conference keynote speaker/headliner at $10,000-$35,000 for delivering 20 minutes of PGO (Penetrating Glimpses into the Obvious).
2. Position yourself as a do-gooder. If Republican, by promoting freedom, democracy and economic growth. If Democratic, by promoting freedom, democracy and economic growth. Best to be bipartisan or nonpartisan, though, and promote freedom, democracy and economic growth.
3. Transition from political/campaign clients to $1,000/hour Fortune 50 corporate clients for the same reason Willie Sutton said he robbed banks (that’s where the money is). Push the work you land onto young associates making $120/hour and pocket the margin. The old saying — “consultants borrow your watch to tell you what time it is” — is not a slam; it’s a strategic plan. Many major corporations with brilliant executives don’t know the political world, so they’re grasping at straws. Give them straws!
4. Recognize that the U.S. political and corporate market has become too crowded and competitive with people like you, and your growing firm has big bills to pay for the Architectural Digest downtown offices, five-star restaurant checks and year-end partner payouts. So you leverage political connections to land foreign clients that pay over $1 million a year for your invaluable advice. Not because you can pick up the phone and get senior White House staff or Congressional committee chairs to take your clients’ calls or meet with them.
5. Ignore your moral compass and rationalize the turpitude to represent foreign clients with sketchy funding sources, clients that nobody with any common sense or conscience will touch. For instance, murderous despots who need “rebranding.”
6. Avoid registering as a foreign agent. Hide/launder foreign client payments through scores of U.S. and foreign corporations and bank accounts. Minimize disclosure to conceal schemes with false and misleading cover-ups.
7. Use hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States, without paying taxes on the income, including mortgages, children’s tuition and interior decorating of $6 million residences in DC or Northern Virginia. Plus ski and summer properties. All belying the cliché that Washington is a town of ill-paid wonks and bureaucrats in cheap Joseph Banks suits.
8. Leverage your vast wealth to become a celebrated and admired art collector and philanthropist with your name on hallowed Kennedy Center walls and fundraising gala programs. You’ll need a closetfull of tuxes that would impress Jack Donaghy.
9. Show up at pro bono nonprofit client meetings in $5,500 bespoke Brioni suits, $300 Hermes ties and pocket squares, $500 Ferragamo slip-ons, gold Rolex and cuff links, and $200 Zimmerli 100 percent cashmere dress socks. Don’t worry if you stand out. You know they want to be you.
10.Don’t ever worry about being a hypocrite. Everyone’s a hypocrite in some form or fashion, right?
I’m kidding about all this, of course. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of Mueller’s targets. This is a cruel way to drain the swamp.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.