If Paul Manafort somehow manages to avoid a federal penitentiary, the man should open up his homes to an MTV camera crew and show America how he lives. According to a federal indictment, the global powerbroker laundered more than $18 million by spending lavishly.
And well, it all seems kind of boring.
The $31,900 art. The $62,750 Mercedes and three $163,705 Range Rovers. The $1.9 million Virginia home. That all makes sense, perhaps. But the other charges make Manafort look less like a super villain and more like a blander version of Martha Stewart.
Manafort dropped $934,350 on rugs at an antique store in Alexandria, Va. He also ponied up another $623,910 at an antique mall in New York, presumably to buy more of the same. His wardrobe easily cost more than a million dollars, and he spent more than 15 times the median American income, $820,240, just on landscaping.
Obviously the goal was to make the cash disappear, not to live like Scarface. And Manafort clearly did a good job. But still it seems kind of lame. After all, what does it profit a man if he destabilizes American democracy and silences the Ukrainian people, but spends his ill-gotten dollars like a bored, shopping network addicted housewife?
Not that working secretly for a foreign state should be condoned, but Manafort really needed a better hobby. Instead of buying old rugs, he should’ve tried falconry. Or rather than all those tacky suits, perhaps a water jetpack? There are literally thousands of more exciting things to buy with those millions.
Next time Manafort tilts the world to enrich himself, he should at least spend it on something interesting.