He was born in New Jersey, of Italian heritage, and raised Catholic. Graduated from high school, then got an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. He moved onto law school, and later set up a small independent law practice. And then years later, he got deeply involved in conservative politics.
The facts above describe John Donald Cody, who now sits in an Ohio jail cell, awaiting trial for fraud and other felony charges. Until recently he was known under an alias, “Bobby Thompson,” founder of the scam outfit known as the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. It raised tens of millions of dollars from good-hearted unsuspecting givers. And under that fake name “Thompson” he contributed at least $180,000 to politicians across the United States. Almost all of them were ultra conservatives.
You can read more about him and his background, and his bizarre career, in the Tampa Bay Times.
Coincidentally, the same set of facts in the first paragraph above also are true for Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli.
“Cooch,” as he is known by supporters and detractors, was born in New Jersey of Italian heritage and raised Catholic. Cuccinelli also graduated from UVa with an undergraduate degree, went on to law school, then hung out a shingle. Later, he became deeply involved in politics as a Tea Party favorite. Today, he’s the odds-on favorite to be the GOP nominee for Virginia governor.
There are some differences, of course. Cody, who was born in 1947, is 21 years old than Cooch, who was born in 1968. Cody was raised outside Trenton and graduated form public high school there; Cuccinelli was born in Edison, about 100 miles north, but graduated from a private Catholic high school in Washington D.C.
Cody graduated from Harvard Law; Cuccinelli’s law degree came from George Mason University. Cuccinelli’s involvement in politics was as a candidate. Cody’s was as a financial contributor, with millions he allegedly scammed in a nationwide con game that went on for years. And it was with those contributions that the similarities between the two UAa grads from New Jersey once again converged, in 2009.
It was that year that Cody, posing as ‘Bobby Thompson’ invested $55,500 in the campaign for Virginia attorney general of then-Sen. Kenneth Cuccinelli. “Thompson” was seeking a law in Virginia to thwart state bureaucrats who had put the kibosh on his scam fundraising in the commonwealth. And he got that, in the 2010 General Assembly. The law was later repealed after The Roanoke Times exposed that sordid mess.
The sum of Cody’s contributions to Cuccinelli stands out for a number of reasons.
First, it was the second largest individual contribution that anyone the whole campaign laid on the Cooch. It came in three increments: $5,000 in June 2009, then $500 more Aug. 19 and finally $50,000 on Aug. 31, after Cuccinelli had personally called “Thompson” and appealed for more money.
It was also, by far, the single largest amount of money “Thompson” laid into any individual campaign. The second largest amount he gave was the $10,000 he laid on the campaign of right-wing fruitcake Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota.
It’s enough to make you wonder what transpired in that August phone call from Cuccinelli to “Thompson.” Did Cuccinelli and Cody discover so many similarities in their backgrounds, and bond over those? Was that what moved Cody to make such a large investment in Cuccinelli’s campaign?
There are among many questions still unanswered, so it’s hard to say.
In a handwritten letter after his arrest to his former landlady in Tampa, quoted in the Tampa Bay Times, Cody wrote something rather cryptic.
“Mine is a political case though I suspect they will try to keep certain names out of it and pray I do not testify.”
It sounds like a bit of a threat. And it makes you wonder who’s saying those prayers.