Dirty Politics, Brass-Knuckles Elections:
'Confessions of a Political Hitman'

During the Bush-Clinton election in 1992, Marks uncovered photos of Bill Clinton sharing a podium with "Q Bone" and Leon Gulette, two former gang members, at an event to promote a truce between the Bloods and the Crips. Marks believed that photos of the event, at which Clinton told "Q Bone," a convicted killer, "I need your help" was a smoking gun that would have damaged the candidate.

Marks even faxed copies of the photo and its caption to Bush's top campaign advisers. But they never used the issue against Clinton, which Marks attributes to a fear of being labeled racist.

When Marks helped unearth information about former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt's real estate deals that appeared to violate IRS and federal banking laws, he was shocked that it took over a year for any Congress member to file a complaint against Gephardt with the House Ethics Committee, which eventually dismissed allegations against him.

"I gave the Republicans the goods, and they apparently were either too cowardly or too frightened by the thought of their own unethical behavior coming to light to take any action against Mr. Gephardt."

During the Cleland-Millner election, Marks was so desperate to get a photo of Cleland posing with Ted Kennedy's nephew, Michael, at a veterans center that he lied to one of the vets, claiming that his uncle was in the picture so that Marks would be permitted to get a copy of the photo.

The most effective opposition research focuses on revelations that are clear and simple for the public to understand, says Marks.

When George H.W. Bush was trailing Dukakis at the polls, his staff brought in file cabinets full of anti-Dukakis research to legendary campaign manager Lee Atwater. But Atwater told them to get rid of the file cabinets and bring him one index card with three simple hits to be used against Dukakis: Willie Horton (while on furlough, the convicted murderer raped a woman and pistol-whipped his fiancée), the Pledge of Allegiance (as governor, Dukakis opposed public school children reciting the pledge), Boston Harbor (Dukakis claimed that he had "cleaned up" the harbor, which was notoriously dirty).

Not all his exploits were political. Marks was also hired by Charles and David Koch, heirs to an oil fortune, during a nasty feud with their brother Bill. But the gambit backfired because Marks realized that there was more negative information out there about his own clients, including evidence of environmental damage caused by the brothers' oil company.

"So not only does Oppo Man help elect low-life politicians too incompetent to discuss with a straight face, he also helps guys like Jack Abramoff and companies like Koch Industries, just because they are connected to the Republican Party?" Marks writes.

Several of his clients had more skeletons in the closet than their opponents, and no amount of opposition research could repair the damage.

While working for Democrat Shane Guidry, who was trying to unseat Louisiana councilman Butch Ward, it was revealed that Guidry's father had pleaded guilty to paying former Gov. Edwin Edwards $1.4 million in bribes to get a casino license. Guidry was trounced in the election and was later arrested and charged with battery after getting into a shouting match with Popeye's Famous Fried Chicken founder Al Copeland during a brawl at a steakhouse.

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