Marc Mezvinsky’s parents, Edward Mezvinsky and Marjorie Margolies (formerly Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky), both served in Congress and have colorful pasts in politics. They are now the in-laws of Chelsea Clinton and grandparents to Chelsea and Marc Mezvinsky’s two children.
ABC News calls the Mezvinskys a “once powerful political family.” Edward Mezvinsky spent time in federal prison for a felony fraud scheme, and his wife is a former television reporter and adoption advocate who lost her Congressional seat after casting the deciding vote for Bill Clinton’s federal tax-raising budget.
Marc Mezvinsky was prominently featured at Chelsea’s side during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Edward Mezvinsky Was Convicted of Fraud & Spent Time in Federal Prison For a Ponzi Scheme
Marc’s father, Edward, was convicted for “running a Ponzi scheme,” according to Politico.
In 2002, Edward Mezvinsky pleaded guilty to 31 counts of felony bank fraud after being accused of stealing almost “$10 million from unsuspecting investors, including $309,000 from his 86-year-old mother-in-law,” reports Politico. He blamed bipolar disorder, says ABC News. The court records say, “The defendant, Edward M. Mezvinsky, pleaded guilty to various counts of fraud, false statements, filing a false tax return and structuring currency transactions. On January 13, 2003, this Court sentenced the defendant and, among other things, ordered him to pay $9,399,354.47 in restitution to numerous victims.”
In 2009, ABC News reported, “Mezvinsky was convicted in 2002 of bilking his associates, friends and family members — even his own late mother-in-law — out of millions of dollars. Despite being released in April 2008 after serving five years in prison, Mezvinsky remains on federal probation and still owes almost $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.” A court document in 2013 said he still owned more than $8.1 million.
According to ABC News, Edward Mezvinsky also “fell prey to a number of get-rich-quick schemes,” including a Nigerian scam that involved a chemical that “was supposed to remove ink off of $100 bills.” The New York Post says Mezvinsky spent time in federal prison for perpetrating a “one-man crime wave” by “routinely” pulling “business scams that netted him $10 million in ill-gotten loot.” Politico also mentioned the Nigerian scheme, adding, “Mezvinsky eventually got in so deep that he fell for one of the original Nigerian-guy-needs-cash email scams, losing up to an estimated $3 million just to try to feed the scheme.”
Politico says that Marc Mezvinsky’s parents declared bankruptcy during the middle of a run she was making for Rick Santorum’s Senate seat. They owed creditors more than $7 million.
An Associated Press story at the time of Edward Mezvinsky’s sentencing reported that Mezvinsky, then 65, received a nearly seven-year prison term “for defrauding investors” and “collected millions of dollars starting in the 1980s. It was supposed to have been invested in several international business deals, but instead went to prop up a globe-trotting lifestyle and failed get-rich-quick schemes.”
Marjorie Margolies walked her son down the aisle when he married Chelsea Clinton because the family is still angry at Edward Mezvinsky, says Showbiz411. However, The New York Post quoted Edward as saying he was grateful to be part of the wedding and said he was remorseful for the crimes he committed. UK Daily Mail says Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea’s husband, also lost investors’ money by investing in Greece while working for a hedge fund.
2. Edward Mezvinsky Asked Bill Clinton to Pardon Him But It Wasn’t Granted
Politico reported that Edward Mezvinsky and his wife, Marjorie, “pleaded with the former president for a presidential pardon to head off the looming federal case.”
The documents were released by Clinton’s presidential library and included a letter from Edward Mezvinsky that said, “I have real reason to believe that without a pardon, charges will be brought against me in the very near future, and that I will then be faced with a long and difficult process of defending myself, and ultimately the prospect of a long prison term,” said Politico.
Marjorie Mezvinsky wrote Politico that she did not believe the White House took any action on the requests and the political site said it’s not clear whether Clinton saw the letters. ABC News says Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky met as children at a political retreat and fell in love at Stanford University. According to ABC, Marc Mezvinsky avoids the spotlight and has described himself as a “nerdy Jewish boy from Philly.”
Television star Roseanne Barr tweeted about Chelsea’s husband on May 29, 2018, writing, “CORRECTION: CHELSEA CLINTON IS NOT MARRIED TO A SOROS NEPHEW. HER HUSBAND IS THE SON OF A CORRUPT SENATOR, SO SORRY!” Snopes has debunked the false rumor that Marc Mezvinsky is related to billionaire George Soros. Barr then apologized for a tweet posted on the same day comparing former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to an ape. ABC then cancelled Roseanne’s show. “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement released on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.
3. Mezvinsky’s Parents Are Divorced & Raised 11 Children Together
A Congressional history of Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky’s life says she became so “moved by the experience” of covering a story on Korean orphans as a television reporter in 1970 that she “became the first single woman in the United States to adopt a foreign child, a Korean girl.”
The biography says she also adopted a Vietnamese girl a few years later. While covering another story on adopted children, she met Edward Mezvinsky, who was then a representative from Iowa. They married in 1975 and raised 11 children, including the two children Margolies-Mezvinsky adopted, “Mezvinsky’s four children from a previous marriage, two sons born to them, and three Vietnamese boys whom they adopted together,” says the history published by Congress.
Marc Mezvinsky is the eldest of the couple’s two birth children; the second, Andrew, is an artist, Politico says. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky later authored a book on refugee children. The Mezvinskys divorced in 2007, says the bio.
4. Edward Mezvinsky Served in Congress & Was a Democratic Party State Chairman
According to the U.S. Congress biographical directory, Mezvinsky was born in Ames Iowa on Jan. 17, 1937. He was a representative from Iowa who attended public schools and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1960, an M.A. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1963, and a JD from Berkeley in 1965. He was admitted to the Iowa bar.
The biography says that Mezvinsky was a legislative assistant to U.S. Rep Neal Smith (Iowa) in the 1960s, and was a member of the Iowa state legislature before being elected as a Democrat to U.S. Congress in the 1970s. He was defeated in 1976 in a reelection campaign, says the biography.
The biography says he served as Democratic Party state chairman in Pennsylvania in the 1980s and unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania in 1990. He lives in Pennsylvania, said the biography.
5. Marjorie Margolies Also Served in Congress & Lost Her Seat By Supporting Bill Clinton’s Budget
According to the U.S. Congress biographical directory, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 21, 1942. She graduated from high school in Baltimore, Maryland before receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. She was a CBS News Foundation Fellow at Columbia University in New York and then worked as a television journalist for WCAU-TV from 1967-1971 and then served as a television journalist for NBC from 1971-1991.
She was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1993 and served two years before being defeated in 1994, says the Congressional biography. She has served as chair of the National Women’s Business Council as well as director of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. She ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House in 2014, says the bio. Bill and Hillary Clinton supported her in the 2014 race, says ABC News. ABC News said her campaign was hampered by a report that she had “doubled her own salary as head of a small, largely taxpayer-funded charity into the six figures” while Edward Mezvinsky faced fraud charges.
A history of Margolies-Mezvinsky published by the U.S. House says: “Her brief congressional career turned, quite literally, on a single vote when the Pennsylvania Congresswoman abruptly backed the William J. Clinton administration’s budget after being an outspoken critic of the legislation.”
She spoke at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, and she had run as a “non traditional Democrat” advocating reduced spending for taxes and social programs, says a U.S. House history on her. However, she switched her vote on the Clinton budget after receiving a personal call from him even though it proposed a federal tax increase, said the Congressional history. Clinton was one vote short to get his budget passed, recalls Time Magazine. Time Magazine says she lost her seat over the vote as she served in a Republican-leaning Democratic district.