American Politics Journal
Melinda Pillsbury-Foster Speaks Out
The "Fund Affair" reaches a crossroads
By The Editors
NEW! Read Melinda Pillsbury-Foster's open letter to John Fund!
Jan. 16, 2001 -- NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (APJP) -- Early this afternoon, our publisher had a conversation with Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, the mother of Morgan Pillsbury, whose live-in relationship with conservative editorialist and commentator John Fund has been the subject of reports, rumor and speculation for the last few months.

In early September of last year, John Connolly broke a story concerning Ms. Pillsbury's pregnancy by Fund during the peak of "Lewinsky-Mania".  The article was accompanied by a Windows Media recording of a phone conversation between Ms. Pillsbury and Fund, whose audacious caddishness defies description.

In recent weeks, political bulletin boards, particularly Capitol Grilling, have been rife with discussion of the relationship.  Most of the subject threads on Capitol Grilling were removed as one rumor after another would surface: claims of police visits to Mr. Fund's apartment, suggestions of his involvement with other women, and questions concerning the circumstances of Fund's planned departure from the print edition of the Wall Street Journal.  We believe the first claim to be true, based on documents provided to American Politics Journal by Ms. Pillsbury herself.

In the last few days, both Jeannette Walls at MSNBC and the New York Post's Page Six have picked up on the story.

Ironically, the one gossip-obsessed outlet that seems to have passed on the story is FOX News.  About three weeks ago, political strategist and writer Jeff Koopersmith tipped off Roger Ailes to the brouhaha.  The next day, Fund was a guest on one of the FOX News Channel's programs.  Shades of Dick Morris and Newt Gingrich!

The terse and blunt nature of Ms. Pillsbury-Foster's subsequent press release, which is reproduced in its entirety below, speaks volumes in and of itself.  While the editors leave it to our readers to reach their own conclusions, they  believe that her assertions concerning Fund are not only credible but may be convincingly supported.

In many ways, we feel the most damning comment by Ms. Pillsbury-Foster is her assertion that Fund "has used slander, lies, and the power of his position to hide his actions from friends and the public."  This sounds practically identical to accusations Fund himself hurled at President Bill Clinton at the height of the wave of orchestrated and phony "scandals" that were used to hobble his administration and falsely impeach him.

Now that push appears to have come to shove, it would not surprise us if Fund acts just as Ms. Pillsbury-Foster claims the notorious talking head did with respect to the TALK magazine article to which she refers, and attempt to circle the wagons by going to his best pals in the press -- especially the Washington gossip corps -- to attempt to bully, demean and defame Ms. Pillsbury.

And this is not the only case we know of in which Fund has been implicated in a "trash and burn" press campaign.  For some years, it has been rumored that Fund and cybergossip Matt Drudge had orchestrated the "Sid Blumenthal beat his wife" story that first appeared in the Drudge Report during 1997 (a story Drudge was forced to retract) and triggered a protracted lawsuit. In a prior conversation between Morgan Pillsbury and our publisher, she not only claimed that Fund and Drudge were prime movers behind the story -- but also claimed that Fund told her they both lied to their lawyer and Drudge lied under oath during the course of the lawsuit.

We were unsuccessful in attempts to contact Fund this evening for his reaction to any of these claims.

But given Fund's chequered history, it is not out of the realm of possibility that if he elects to attack Ms. Pillsbury and her mother in the press, he may well open the door wide for blowback -- not just from Ms. Pillsbury, but from other women he may have been involved with and individuals who may have been on the receiving end of Fund's journalism of personal destruction.


Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
regrets to announce that
the marriage of her daughter
Morgan Frances Pillsbury
and
John H. Fund
will not take place.

Having issued this terse pro forma announcement of a nonevent would in most circumstances be more than enough said. It is regrettable that these circumstances are not usual or normal or even civil in the accepted sense.

I had believed at some point late last summer that Morgan and John would marry. It seemed like a reasonable solution for each of them. I believed there were strong and enduring affections on both sides; that each cared about the other.

But the course of events has disabused me of these hopeful expectations.

I very reluctantly agreed to sponsor a small and very private wedding. I rescind that sponsorship now with a sense of relief.

But that leaves us with the question of what really happened.

If I could leave that question to the idle speculation of strangers I would be tempted to do so. But there are compelling reasons to speak out.

First, lying is wrong. Slander is wrong. And while I wish Morgan had never started a relationship with John that is, in fact, what happened. The relationship has never ended. The two are together as I write this.

It is a fact that Morgan became pregnant by John; true that he manipulated her into having an abortion; true that he then became emotionally abusive. That abusive behavior has continued to the present time, escalating to physical violence.

He has broken every promise he has made to change his behavior.

I do not expect to be believed solely on my word. Documentation is available.

I believed in good faith that John understood the need to do the right thing. The right thing in any situation where you know you have harmed another is to admit your fault, offer apology and appropriate restitution and learn to be a better person. Sometimes our actions make further relations impossible. But most people accept apologies and amends; these can make relationships stronger.

Who among us has not done wrong? Relationships, as well as individuals, can be healed.

Appropriate behavior is reinforced by the presence of those around us. Disapproval and condemnation are powerful tools that should never to be misused. But they are important because they help us understand when we do wrong.

John has used slander, lies, and the power of his position to hide his actions from friends and the public. He used emotional abuse nd violence to control Morgan. This was very wrong.

His reasons for that are easy to understand. No public figure, even a small one like John, wants it known he is abusing and battering the woman with whom he is living. But the behavior of his various professional associates is harder to understand.

Why was John able to stop the publication of the original article in TALK Magazine? I urged Morgan not to talk to John Connelly, but agreed to confirm her story when she insisted. I have been told that John Fund has been very busy lying to various fellow journalists for months. I have been told, but do not know, that he has used threats to keep the story unpublished. But no media outlet has done any research to confirm or disprove the story. If I am to believe what I have been told, this is because John used his power as a respected pundit to deny the truth, slandering both Morgan and myself in the process.

This goes beyond sloppy journalism. Those responsible enabled and empowered John's abuse.

Journalists exercise enormous power. That power should never be misused. If they failed to act because John is useful to them and suppressing the story was in their interest then they acted in collusion and are party to the subsequent abuse and slander. What they condemn in politicians and in business must also be guarded against within their own ranks. The misuse of power is wrong no matter who or what is involved.

Doing the right thing applies to all parts of our lives. Doing the right thing in the private places of our lives most defines who and what we really are.

I have no explanation why John asked me to sponsor a wedding. I have urged for months that he get into therapy with Morgan if she would not leave him. When I learned of the abuse I begged her to leave and insisted she file a police report for her protection.

Treating domestic violence as a disease instead of as a very ugly way to get what you want must stop. Power should not immunize anyone to the consequences of their actions.

Not even very large pundits.


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ISSN No. 1523-1690