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Edward Mezvinsky

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st district
In office
1973–1977
Preceded by Fred Schwengel
Succeeded by Jim Leach

Born January 17, 1937 (1937-01-17) (age 72)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky
Religion Jewish

Edward "Ed" Mezvinsky (born January 17, 1937) is a former congressman who was later sentenced to 80 months in prison for fraud. As a Democrat he represented Iowa's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives for two terms, from 1973 to 1977.

Life and career

Mezvinsky grew up in Ames, Iowa, the son of grocery store owner Abe Mezvinsky. He was an all-state football end and member of the Ames High School state championship basketball and track teams of 1955.[1]

Mezvinsky received his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1965.[1] He returned briefly to Iowa to practice law, but quickly began a political career. In 1965, he worked for former Rep. Neal Smith in Washington on lobbyist disclosure and ethics bills.[1] He was elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1968, where he attracted publicity as a consumers' advocate. He lost a 1970 campaign to unseat Republican Congressman Fred Schwengel in Iowa's 1st congressional district by only 765 votes (out of over 120,000 cast). After reapportionment improved his chances, Mezvinsky won a 1972 rematch.[1]

During his first term in Congress, he sat on the House Judiciary Committee and voted for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon for his activities in the Watergate scandal. Although Mezvinsky defeated Davenport businessman Jim Leach in 1974 in the immediate aftermath of the impeachment hearings, Leach defeated him two years later, in 1976.

Six months into his first term in Congress, Mezvinsky separated from his wife of ten years; they were divorced two weeks after his 1974 re-election.[2] During his final term he married Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, a television journalist.[1] After his 1976 defeat, they relocated to suburban Philadelphia. Together, they raised eleven children, several of whom were adopted.

After serving in Congress, Mezvinsky worked at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights until 1979. Mezvinsky unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for United States Senate from Pennsylvania in 1980, losing to Peter F. Flaherty. He then became chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee before making a failed run for state attorney general in 1988. He won the Democratic primary, but lost to Republican Ernie Preate in the general election. He also unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 1990, losing to incumbent Mark Singel.

Mezvinsky was also involved in a series of business transactions that ultimately became his downfall. Prosecutors later would call him a one-man crime wave.[1] In 2000, after examining his business deals since 1980, prosecutors said that they uncovered elements of fraud in nearly every one.[1]

In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.[3] Nearly $10 million was involved in the crimes. Shortly after his indictment, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but the judge at his trial disallowed a mental illness defense.[1] According to the Bureau of Prison's Inmate Locator, Mezvinsky was released from federal prison on April 11, 2008.[4]

From 1993 to 1995, Edward Mezvinsky's wife Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky served one term in Congress, and was the party's nominee for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 1998. In 2000, she was running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate when his business problems forced them to file for bankruptcy and caused her abrupt withdrawal.[1]

Edward Mezvinsky's son, Marc, is engaged to Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former U.S President Bill Clinton and current U.S. Secretary of State and former U.S Senator from New York Hillary Rodham Clinton.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kilen, Mike (2003-08-03). "Whirlpool of lies swallows Mezvinsky". Des Moines Register. http://crab.rutgers.edu/~mchugh/nigeriamezvinsky.html. Retrieved 2008-05-18.  .
  2. ^ Larry Eckholt, "Mezvinskys End Marriage," Des Moines Register, 1974-11-20, at 9.
  3. ^ http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/2002/07/01/324998/index.htm The Scam That Will Not Die.
  4. ^ Bureau of Prison Inmate Locator, accessed 2008-05-20.
  5. ^ Chelsea Clinton's Vineyard wedding, accessed 2009-05-02.
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