Person

Dick Gephardt

Richard Andrew “Dick” Gephardt is a former Democratic Party politician and lobbyist for corporate, labor union, and Democratic Party-aligned organizations. [1]  Gephardt played a role in the 2020 presidential election by shoring up corporate donations to create a messaging coalition designed to signal that mail-in-ballots were a legitimate form of voting and that such votes would be counted after election day. The intent behind this messaging effort was to ensure high mail-in-ballot turnout by Democratic voters.

Early Career

Gephardt began his political career in 1968 when he was elected a Democratic Party precinct captain in St. Louis’s 14th ward. In 1971 he was elevated to alderman for the 14th ward, where he served until 1976. In 1976, Gephardt successfully ran for federal office and represented Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District for 28 years. [2] Between 1989 and 1995 Gephardt served as the House Majority Leader, the second-highest-ranking member of the House of Representatives behind the Speaker of the House. [3]

Lobbying

In 2005 Gephardt retired from Congress and started the Gephardt Group, a lobbying firm. [4] Some of Gephardt’s clients include ABF Freight System, Allison Transmission, Bath Iron Works, Boeing, CenturyLink, Chevron, Constellium, United Airlines, Freeman, GE Aviation, Hawaiian Airlines, IAM National Pension, and the National Football League (NFL). [5]

2016 Democratic National Convention

The Missouri Democratic Party presidential nomination system provided for 84 delegates to attend the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Of those delegates, 71 were assigned as “pledged delegates” and required to vote in accordance with the electoral votes of the 2016 Missouri Democratic Primary. The remaining 13 delegates, assigned as “unpledged delegates”, and commonly referred to as superdelegates, were not required to adhere to the results of any election when casting their vote. [6]

Gephardt was a superdelegate for Missouri in the 2016 Democratic National Convention and voted for Hillary Clinton. [7] Clinton received 36 total delegate votes from Missouri, whereas her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), received 35 delegate votes from that state. [8]

2020 Presidential Election

Gephardt played an important role as a member of a coalition formed by an assortment of Democratic Party-aligned individuals, organizations, and corporate entities that planned to create mass unrest in an effort to prevent President Donald Trump from objecting to the results of the 2020 presidential election. [9]

Before the 2020 election, Democratic Party strategists were worried that concerns over the legitimacy of mail-in-ballots, as well as concerns that mail-in-ballots would not be counted after November 3, 2020, would decrease Democratic voter turnout. [10] Gephardt spearheaded a messaging coalition, using his connections as a lobbyist, to shore up $20 million in contributions from the private sector to signal to the public and “local officials–the secretaries of state, attorneys general, governors who would be in the eye of the storm” to press on the position that mail-in-ballots were a legitimate form of voting, and according to his messaging, that they should continue to be counted past November 3, 2020. [11]

Biden Administration

In 2020 and 2021 controversy surrounded Pine Island Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with Gephardt on its payroll. [12] A public prospectus of the organization filed with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) before the November 3, 2020, election included potentially objectionable language. [13] The prospectus presented Pine Island Acquisitions Corp. as an attractive opportunity for investors, stating “[w]e believe that with our access, network and expertise, we are well-suited to take advantage of the current and future opportunities present in the aerospace, defense and government services industries.” [14] The prospectus was filed with the SEC on September 23, 2020, and on November 24, 2020, Pine Island announced that its initial public offering of Class A common stock generated $213,380,0000 in purchases. [15] This included purchases from two large investment firms, Citadel Advisors and Millennium Management. [16]

The access and network referred to in the September 23, 2020, prospectus is speculated to be access to a potential Biden Administration. [17] Later, the Biden Administration appointed Anthony Blinken as Secretary of State and General Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense. Both Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin were members of Pine Island Capital Partners, an investment firm from which the Pine Island Acquisition Corp. SPAC branched off. [18]

Political Contributions

Richard Gephardt has made political contributions to various Democratic Party candidates. Candidates to whom Gephardt has given money include Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Dick Durban (D-IL), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Emanual Cleaver (D-MO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ted Strickland (D-OH) , Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). [19]

Gephardt has also contributed to the 2020 presidential campaign of Joe Biden and the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. [20]

References

  1. “Honorable Richard Gephardt” Gephardt Group. https://www.gephardtgroup.com/Honorable-Richard-Gephardt ^
  2. “Honorable Richard Gephardt” Gephardt Group. https://www.gephardtgroup.com/Honorable-Richard-Gephardt ^
  3. “The Role of the House Majority Leader: An Overview” Congressional Research Service. https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RL30665.html ^
  4. “Honorable Richard Gephardt” Gephardt Group. https://www.gephardtgroup.com/Honorable-Richard-Gephardt ^
  5. “Clients” Gephardt Group. https://www.gephardtgroup.com/Clients ^
  6. “Dick Gephardt” Ballotpedia. https://ballotpedia.org/Dick_Gephardt ^
  7. “Unpledged Delegates – By State 2016” Vox. https://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/6622695/Unpledged_Delegate_List_5.27.16.0.pdf ^
  8. “Dick Gephardt” Ballotpedia. https://ballotpedia.org/Dick_Gephardt ^
  9. Ball, Molly. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election” Time Magazine. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  10. Ball, Molly. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election” Time Magazine. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  11. Ball, Molly. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election” Time Magazine. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  12. Evers-Hillstrom, Karl. “Biden Cabinet picks worked alongside influential lobbyists at private equity firm” Open Secrets. December 9, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2020/12/biden-cabinet-picks-worked-at-pricate-equityfirm/ ^
  13. Schwartz, Brian. “SPAC with ties to Biden Cabinet picks sees surge in support from Wall Street after offering ‘access’” CNBC. December 9, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/09/spac-with-ties-to-biden-cabinet-picks-sees-surge-in-wall-street-support.html ^
  14. Schwartz, Brian. “SPAC with ties to Biden Cabinet picks sees surge in support from Wall Street after offering ‘access’” CNBC. December 9, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/09/spac-with-ties-to-biden-cabinet-picks-sees-surge-in-wall-street-support.html ^
  15. “Pine Island Acquisition Corp. Announces Partial Exercise and Closing of Underwriters’ Option to Purchase Additional Units in Connection with its Initial Public Offering” businesswire. November 24, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2021. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201124005987/en/Pine-Island-Acquisition-Corp.-Announces-Partial-Exercise-and-Closing-of-Underwriters%E2%80%99-Option-to-Purchase-Additional-Units-in-Connection-with-its-Initial-Public-Offering ^
  16. Schwartz, Brian. “SPAC with ties to Biden Cabinet picks sees surge in support from Wall Street after offering ‘access’” CNBC. December 9, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/09/spac-with-ties-to-biden-cabinet-picks-sees-surge-in-wall-street-support.html ^
  17. Schwartz, Brian. “SPAC with ties to Biden Cabinet picks sees surge in support from Wall Street after offering ‘access’” CNBC. December 9, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/09/spac-with-ties-to-biden-cabinet-picks-sees-surge-in-wall-street-support.html ^
  18. Schwartz, Brian. “SPAC with ties to Biden Cabinet picks sees surge in support from Wall Street after offering ‘access’” CNBC. December 9, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/09/spac-with-ties-to-biden-cabinet-picks-sees-surge-in-wall-street-support.html ^
  19. “Richard Gephardt -Individual Contributions” Federal Election Commission. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=individual+contributions&contributor_name=richard+gephardt ^
  20. “Richard Gephardt -Individual Contributions” Federal Election Commission. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=individual+contributions&contributor_name=richard+gephardt ^
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