I received an email from a veteran friend yesterday passing along a story that has been making the rounds on the Internet for some time now – at least a year - warning of a possible takeover of the American arms and ammunition industry by leftist billionaire George Soros, who supposedly would then shut it down.
I started researching the information in the email, found some of it to be factual – although I can't say whether its conclusions are accurate. But of far more importance was that my research led me to an apparent connection between Soros and GOP presidential contender and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney!
This as the Romney camp is doing everything it can to downplay reports that Romney staffers have had numerous contacts with the Barack Obama White House.
The email said that the Freedom Group, a company that has been in the firearms business since the early 1800s recently bought out ammunition manufacturer Barnes Bullets. Freedom Group is owned by Cerberus Capital Management L. P. which many people say is "controlled" by billionaire leftist George Soros.
That really is the big question here. Is Cerberus Capital Management "George Soros Controlled" as is claimed in many Internet posts? Soros does not appear on the board of directors or any list of corporate officers, yet he is repeatedly held up as controlling the firm.
I have not found anything that says Soros controls or has any other connection to Cerberus, but some notable Republicans do, including former Vice President Dan Quayle.
The email listed numerous firearms businesses that are owned by Freedom Group Inc., which again, is owned by Cerberus, and opined that Soros may be attempting to circumvent Americans' 2nd Amendment rights by controlling the market on American firearms and ammo. By ending all sales of civilian arms and ammunition he could the put a stranglehold on one of America's most basic rights - according to the email.
I’ll say up front that the Internet has a spotted record regarding sending out conspiracy theory emails so I always take them with a grain of salt until I do my own research. Often someone responds with a counter email that warns readers to check out the alleged implications with Snopes or Fact Check; except that both of those outlets turned out to be less than balanced themselves.
So I do my own work. What I found on this issue went far beyond what was in the original email. I learned that Freedom Group has indeed purchased Barnes Bullets and does own a significant portion of the American arms industry – which in itself raises the issue of whether a monopoly is being formed regardless of who owns or "controls" it.
On its website Freedom Group describes itself thus: About Freedom Group, Inc. Freedom Group is the world’s leading innovator, designer, manufacturer, and marketer of firearms, ammunition, and related products for the hunting, shooting sports, law enforcement, and military markets. As one of the largest manufacturers in the world of firearms and ammunition, we have some of the most globally recognized brands including Remington, Bushmaster, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin, Harrington & Richardson, Dakota Arms, L.C. Smith, Parker, EOTAC, and INTC.
But there is much more.
At the bottom of Freedom Group's website I found a drop-down menu that led to various company documents including one that said former Board of Directors member W. Grant Gregory resigned earlier this year in a streamlining process. Wondering who W. Grant Gregory is, I did a search for him and he popped up on the Notable Names Database as a member of Mitt Romney's team in his run for the presidency!
Here's the link. http://www.nndb.com/org/745/000167244/
I couldn't help but wonder why a guy who is on the board of directors of any group that is tied in any way to George Soros also is listed as a big-time supporter of a top-tier candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge the guy whose presidency many people believe was purchased by George Soros. IF being the operative word, regarding whether Soros actually has any control over Cerberus.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek profiled Gregory saying: Mr. W. Grant Gregory has been the Chairman of Gregory & Hoenemeyer, Inc. (merchant banking) since 1988. Mr. Gregory spent 24 years at Touche Ross & Co., a corporate processor of the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu international accounting firm, serving from 1982 to 1986 as its Chairman. While at Touche Ross, Mr. Gregory became an internationally- acclaimed authority on Tax Policy and Economic Development and participated in a number of M&A transactions and restructurings. He ... has been Vice Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. since 2005. In the mid-1980's, he served as a member of the U.S. Trade Representative's advisory committee on international trade in services. Mr. Gregory has been a Director of Verizon Business since August 2003. Mr. Gregory has been a Director of Doubleclick Inc. since its inception in January 1996 and Fuel-Tech, Inc. since August 2011. Mr. Gregory has been a Director of Ambac Financial Group Inc. since 1991 and Lead Independent Director since 2004. He serves as a Director of Junior Achievement, Inc. Mr. Gregory served as a Director of InaCom Corp. Mr. Gregory served as a Director of MCI Group since August 29, 2003. Mr. Gregory served as a Director of Worldcom Group (formerly WorldCom Inc.). Mr. Gregory graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska in 1964, where he was later awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, as well as the Builder Award, the University's highest non-academic recognition. Mr. Gregory completed Advanced Management studies at New York University and Harvard University's Graduate School of Business and attended the Air Force War College.
Vice Chair of Cerberus Group! The firm that George Soros allegedly "controls?" And a supporter of Mitt Romney too!
Did you see today that the White House came out criticizing Romney for being a flip-flopper? Which is incredibly suspicious since it was just revealed that Romney staffers have been having regular meetings at the Obama White House apparently to discuss national health care!
What's up with that? Sounds like damage control for Romney seeing as how people don't like his ties to Obama.
Considering what resulted from a fairly cursory Internet search on Freedom Group I also wondered who else is on the list of Romney supporters, which contains dozens of big money people – two of the most common descriptions on the list are "CEO" and "Billionaire" – so I spent some time going over the entire alphabetized list.
When I got to the "H" section I found none other than Jon Huntsman – former Obama Administration Ambassador to China and GOP presidential contender who is still in the race against Romney! What the hell is going on under the covers out there?
Now, I'll be the first to admit that these connections are tenuous at best. Maybe the "Soros-controlled" Cerberus organization is actually a bunch of conservative businessman and Soros really doesn't have any control over it. But maybe they still should be investigated for trying to create a monopoly.
And maybe Huntsman was a Romney supporter before he launched his own campaign and will go back to being a Romney supporter when he runs out of campaign money and still hasn't gotten out of the single digits in the polls. Also, it could very well be that Romney doesn’t know where his money is coming from, although that certainly would lead to questions about his control of his own campaign and of course his competence.
I am not claiming to have any answers to these questions, but the existence of a person who some say is a George Soros associate on a list of Mitt Romney's inner circle is troubling at best and the voters deserve an explanation. Maybe someone can explain what the connection supposedly is between Soros and Cerberus.
That at least would be a great place to start.
Thursday, October 13, 2011