Fact Check

Ed Mezvinsky — Father of the Groom

The father of Chelsea Clinton's husband is a former congressman who pled guilty to fraud charges.

Published Aug 15, 2010

The father of Chelsea Clinton's husband is a former congressman who pled guilty to fraud charges.

On 31 July 2010, 30-year-old Chelsea Clinton (the daughter of former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), who had recently received a master's degree from Columbia University's Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, married 32-year-old Marc Mezvinsky, an investment banker. These nuptials were no ordinary occasion, however: the event was widely covered by U.S. and international news media because the bride's parents were two of the most prominent U.S. politicians of recent decades: former president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Less known to the general public was the fact that both of the groom's parents were also politicians at the federal level: former congressman Edward Mezvinsky of Iowa and former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinksy of Pennsylvania.

As the Houston Chronicle noted, the lives of the Clinton and Mezvinsky parents were intertwined, both personally and politically, long before the Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky announced their engagement in November 2009 — and some of those links were decidedly controversial:

The Clintons and Mezvinskys have long been political allies and friends.

In 1993, Margolies-Mezvinsky, then a freshman Democrat, cast the vote that got President Bill Clinton's controversial tax package through the House of Representatives.

"She earned an honored place in history, with a vote she shouldn't have had to cast," Bill Clinton wrote in "My Life," his 2004 memoir.

On a darker note, federal prosecutors said Ed Mezvinsky habitually dropped the Clintons' names and boasted of their friendship during the 1990s as he defrauded friends, family members and institutions out of more than $10 million.

Ed Mezvinsky was sentenced in 2003 to serve 80 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a massive fraud that prosecutors said amounted to a Ponzi scheme. He was released from custody in April 2008, but remains under federal probation supervision.

Both he and his wife were forced into bankruptcy, and they quietly divorced in 2007, court records show.

Margolies-Mezvinsky was not implicated in any wrongdoing, but the scandal effectively ended her political ambitions. She founded and remains at the helm of Women's Campaign International, a nonprofit dedicated to the political empowerment of women.

Some coverage of the Clinton-Mezvinsky nuptials reported that Marc Mezvinsky was walked down the aisle by his mother rather than his father, because the latter is persona non grata with much of the rest of the family:

Chelsea Clinton has in-laws now. You wouldn't know it from the coverage. There were no pictures of them and nary a mention of them.

Yet, this much is true: only Marc Mezvinsky's mother, former Pennsylvania congresswoman Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky, walked him down the aisle. The family is still so angry at former Congressman Edward Mezvinsky that he's on the outs with most of them. In 2002, Mezvinsky pleaded guilty to 31 counts of fraud. He ripped off friends and family, including his mother in law, for $10 million. His wife divorced him. "Basically," says a friend, "he stole all her money."

According to ABC News, Mezvinsky's downfall stemmed from an activity that has long been the subject of one of this site's most frequently-accessed articles, the ubiquitous Nigerian scam (also known as 419 fraud):

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.

An ABC News investigation revealed that Mezvinsky, a former Democratic Congressman from Iowa, had been caught up in a series of Nigerian e-mail scams and began to steal from people to further his schemes.

"He was always looking for the home run. He was always trying to find the business deal that would make him as wealthy as all the people in his social circle," said federal prosecutor Bob Zauzmer. According to Zauzmer, Mezvinsky, who is now 72, will be on supervised release, the federal version of probation, until 2011.

Edward Mezvinsky was elected to Congress as an Iowa representative in 1972, and he won a re-election campaign in 1974 before losing a bid for a third term in 1976. It is true that during his first term in Congress, Mezvinsky was a member of the House Judiciary Committee and voted for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. However, the statement that "when he ditched his wife for a New York reporter, the Iowa voters ditched him" is a bit problematic to verify as a cause-and-effect event: Mezvinsky separated from Myra Schulman, his wife of ten years, six months into his first term in Congress, yet a year and a half later he was successful in securing re-election to his House seat. (The couple divorced immediately after that 1974 election.) Mezvinsky married Marjorie Sue Margolies, then a reporter with NBC News in New York, in October 1975.

Some versions of this item claim that Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky's wedding was hosted at "George Soros' mansion." This is false: the couple was married at the Astor Courts in Rhinebeck, New York, an historic property owned by Kathleen Hammer and Arthur Seelbinder.


Keil, Jennifer Gould.   "Chelsea's $10M Digs at Mad. Sq."     New York Post.   14 March 2013.

King, Larry and Derrick Nunnally.   "Chelsea Clinton Announces Engagement."     The New York Times.   30 November 2009.

Rhee, Joseph.   "Will Father of the Groom Be Welcome Figure at Chelsea Clinton's Wedding?"     ABC News   1 December 2009.

Seelye, Katharine Q. and Christine Haughney.   "Town Elbows Its Way Into Clinton Wedding."     The New York Times   31 July 2010.

The New York Times.   "Rep. Edward Mezvinsky to Wed Marjorie S. Margolies of NBC."     3 August 1975.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.