Friday, August 15, 2003
Romney + Tony Coelho = 1 Degree of Separation

Willard Mitt today named Paul G. Afonso chairman of the Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE). Afonso will oversee the regulation of the Massachusetts utility industry. (source: Office of (fraud) Gov, 8/15/2003)

Earlier this year, Romney said he would make appointments based on principle, not politics. His transition team called it “an era of inclusion," (Boston Globe, 1/12/2002) And today Team Reform made good on their word. In the past they have appointed persons associated with Republican scandals. Today, they appointed someone associated with a Democratic scandal.

Romney’s press release stated that Afonso was graduated from Boston College in 1986, and from Georgetown University Law in 1989. But it didn’t mention his work with The Bristol Group.

Hmmm. Curious omission.

After graduating from Georgetown (and serving as an aide to Senator Claiborne Pell on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and to Congressman Mike Andrews of Texas, on the House Ways and Means Committee) Afonso served as General Council to The Bristol Group, an international trade and strategic planning consulting firm with offices in Washington DC, Lisbon, Portugal, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (source: bristolgroup.net)

While with The Bristol Group, Afonso worked with Tony Coelho, who ‘used government employees and resources to raise funds to help repay a $300,000 personal loan that he obtained from a Portuguese bank.’ (source: public-i.org)

Coelho’s funds went to the Luso-American Wave Foundation, which paid for a Portuguese-American memorial wall sculpture at Lisbon’s Expo 98. (source: New Bedford Standard Time, 4/21/1998; USAToday, 3/24/2000). At one time, the foundation was nothing more than ‘a toll-free telephone number and a mailing address within the offices of a Washington lobbying firm.’ (source: public-i.org)

Afonso was executive director of the Luso-American Wave Foundation and was involved in a free air travel scheme with Coelho. (source: public-i.org) After a State Department investigation into whether he "abused his position as U.S. commissioner to the 1998 World Exposition in Lisbon, Portugal, to promote his many business dealings and a private foundation" Coelho ended up leaving the Gore campaign. (source: Wash Times, 5/12/2000; Associated Press, 6/16/2000)

And Afonso returned to Boston.

Oh. So that’s why Romney’s release didn’t mention The Bristol Group.

Unless, of course, Mitt Romney’s Paul G. Afonso (BC: ‘86; Georgetown: ‘89) is a different person than Tony Coelho’s Paul G. Afonso (BC: ‘86; Georgetown: ‘89).

Sure sure.


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