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WaPo Overlooks CAP Ties to Controversial Swiss Billionaire

CAP founder John Podesta / AP
• January 22, 2015 11:31 am

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A Washington Post article on the Center for American Progress revealing its top donors overlooked John Podesta's association with a controversial Swiss billionaire who "conducted illegal human experiments that resulted in the deaths of three elderly patients," according to the Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner.

Tapscott writes that Greg Sargent's "otherwise-thorough" report failed to mention that Podesta, who will likely be at the helm of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, took in $4.1 million for CAP from Hansjorg Wyss.

Sargent did not tell his readers, however, of a potential problem for Clinton, CAP and Podesta — the latter's association with "Hansjorg Wyss, a reclusive Swiss billionaire whose company conducted illegal human experiments that resulted in the deaths of three elderly patients." That's how the Washington Examiner's Richard Pollock described Podesta's patron in a July 23 story that generated little notice when it was published.

"Justice Department attorneys negotiated a $23.8 million plea deal in 2011 with Synthes Inc., and Norian Corporation, its wholly owned subsidiary, and sent four of its U.S. executives to prison. The money was paid to the federal government," Pollock reported.

Wyss was CEO of Synthes and opened its U.S. office in 1974. He remained CEO until the company was bought by Johnson & Johnson in 2012 for $21.3 billion.

Podesta and Wyss "have been financially linked for years," according to Pollock. "Among the Swiss billionaire's largest gifts in recent years have been those made to the Center for American Progress. CAP received $4.1 million from Wyss during Podesta's tenure as the liberal nonprofit’s founding president and chief executive officer."