At the upcoming Virginia 10th CD debate, sponsored by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, it’s an almost 100% certainty that Barbara Comstock will attempt to play up how she was a “small business owner,” a prime example of the virtues of free enterprise, the American way, etc.
Before Comstock launches into her spiel, I thought it would be worthwhile to look into exactly what Comstock’s business – Corallo Comstock – was all about.
- Corallo Comstock is a public relations firm, a one-person operation until Republican political operative Mark Corallo hired Comstock – “who, like Corallo, had assisted the defense team of Scooter Libby” – to help the Hearst Corporation “quash a subpoena to compel testimony by two San Francisco Chronicle journalists who broke the story of the BALCO steroids investigation.” Charming, eh? The best of American entrepreneurship? Or perhaps not.
- Also check out Right-Wing Operatives Form ‘Crisis Management Firm’ To Profit Off Scandal-Ridden Conservatives, which reported in late 2006 how “Mark Corallo and Barbara Comstock are forming a law/PR firm — Corallo Comstock — to help defend Bush administration aides.” Gotta love this quote: “Together, they’ll be doing crisis management, communications strategy, strategic consulting, government relations and basically helping GOP folk who are up a creek without a paddle.”
- According to this 2006 ThinkProgress piece, “Corallo and Comstock’s new firm may be begging for more work than they can handle. TPMMuckraker has the growing list of ‘scandalized administration officials.'”
In short, this “small business” was anything but the kind that makes things, innovates, creates cool new products and services to make people’s lives better, or anything like that. To the contrary, this firm epitomized everything people hate about Washington, DC, pretty much.
A few more interesting factoids about Corallo Comstock will probably have you wanting to take a long, hot shower after reading…
- Corallo Comstock “helped Blackwater with crisis communications as it faced questions about repeated controversies stemming from its security work in Iraq.”
- According to the NY Times, among other things Blackwater “authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were intended to silence their criticism and buy their support after a September 2007 episode in which Blackwater security guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, according to former company officials.”
- Also per the NY Times, Corallo Comstock client Blackwater was accused by two former employees of “defrauding the government for years by filing bogus receipts, double billing for the same services and charging government agencies for strippers and prostitutes, according to court documents unsealed this week.”
- And in 2012, Blackwater agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle federal criminal charges related to arms smuggling and other crimes.
Other than Corallo Comstock, what has Barbara Comstock been up to over the years? How about: defending Rep. Tom DeLay, guilty of money laundering; defending former Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, guilty of leaking the identity of an undercover CIA agent; defending Rep. Jerry Lewis, one of the most corrupt members of Congress.
So that’s basically Comstock’s “small business” career in a nutshell. In stark contrast, Democratic nominee LuAnn Bennett really IS a small businesswoman, having taken over when her husband died tragically of leukemia in 1994, and having “worked on projects that helped create job opportunities for more than a thousand workers and generated millions of dollars in economic development for the Metro region, while promoting energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable development.”
That’s right: LuAnn Bennett’s small business built things, created jobs – lots of ’em, in fact! – and generated a great deal of economic activity, all in areas that benefit society. Comstock’s “small business” defended slimeballs, created no jobs, and generated no economic activity. Which would you call the real “small business,” and which candidate would you call the real “small businesswoman?” Just keep that in mind when Comstock goes on and on at the Chamber of Commerce debate about her “small business” experience.