In one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of Montana gubernatorial campaigns, GOP candidate Neil Livingstone last week was revealed by the New York Times to have sent a letter to Muammar Qaddafi, offering, for the small price of $10,000,000, to help Qaddafi escape Libya and relocate safely.
Alas, Qaddafi should have taken Livingstone’s offer because Gaddafi is now in a meat locker.
The letter obtained by the New York Times is signed by three people including Livingstone, making the offer to the Qaddafi family. Here is an excerpt from the NY Times story:
Even as NATO bombed Libya, the Americans [Livingstone and his associates] offered to make Col.Muammar el-Qaddafi their client — and charge him a hefty consulting fee. Their price: a $10 million retainer before beginning negotiations with Colonel Qaddafi’s representatives.
“The fees and payments set forth in this contract are MINIMUM NON-REFUNDABLE FEES,” said the draft contract, with capital letters for emphasis. “The fees are an inducement for the ATTORNEYS AND ADVISORS to take the case and nothing else.”
Neil C. Livingstone, 65, the terrorism specialist and consultant, said he helped put together the deal after hearing that one of Colonel Qaddafi’s sons, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, was interested in an exit strategy for the family. But he and his partners were not going to work for free, Mr. Livingstone said.
“We were not an eleemosynary organization,” he said.
Mr. Livingstone, a television commentator and prolific author who moved home to Montana this year to try a run for governor, said he had long been a vocal critic of Colonel Qaddafi and was briefly jailed by his government on a visit to Libya in the 1970s. The goal of the consulting deal, he insisted, was not to save Colonel Qaddafi but to prevent a bloodbath in Libya by creating a quick way out for the ruler and his family.
First, what the heck is an eleemosynary organization? (I mean, come on.)
Second, what kind of idiot would do this type of thing while actively laying the groundwork for a bid for Governor? Did Livingstone honestly believe that this activity would never be exposed? I mean, even those who are raising money for Livingstone now appear tainted. A piece in the Huffington Post last week dings former Republican Senator from Florida George Lemieux for hosting a fundraiser for Livingstone.
Needless to say, my inbox was flooded over the weekend with e-mails from anti-Livingstone folks, nudging me to write about this. Which is another strange aspect of this story. To date, not a single Montana newspaper except the Flathead Beacon has written about this crazy business. Pogie at Intelligent Discontent also has a great post up on the scandal here.
The best part about the letter is that it is signed “Your obedient servant.” Now if that doesn’t qualify you to be the GOP nominee for governor, I don’t know what does.
As I reported two weeks ago, Livingstone’s campaign is already pretty much dormant, and broke. So it’s not likely that this development would change anything on the ground. But I’m personally hoping that he can turn it around. With a little luck, maybe one of Qaddafi’s relatives will come to Montana to do a fundraiser for him.