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Tad Devine

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We are all Ukrainians first.
—American Tad Devine, writing for pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych in 2010[1][note 1]

Thomas A. "Tad" Devine (1955–) is a longtime political operative/ad man for the Democratic Party. He has worked on the presidential campaigns of Michael Dukakis (1987-1988), Al Gore (2000), John Kerry (2003-2004), and Bernie Sanders (2015-2016).[3] You'll find quite clearly that Devine has no real convictions beyond whoever pays him the most. Nor, apparently, does he have any success with his presidential candidates (Dukakis and Kerry lost to Republicans, Sanders didn't get the Democratic nomination, and Gore... well, Gore lost, sort of).

Although Devine was undoubtedly well-paid working as a senior advisor for the Gore and Kerry presidential campaigns, Devine somehow felt the need to work overseas for an autocrat. In 2006, Devine took a job with Paul Manafort to help Viktor Yanukovych run for president of Ukraine as the Party of Regions candidate, a strongly pro-Russian party.[1] This was after Yanukovych's political opponent, Viktor Yushchenko, had been poisoned by dioxin under suspicious conditions in 2004.[4] Devine continued to work for Yanukovych and/or the Party of Regions through 2014.[5] This support for Yanukovych was in spite of seeing Yanukovych's strongly autocratic tendencies by 2012. One particularly revealing moment was when we learned Yanukovych was building himself a US$100 million mansion, while at the same time according to Devine, Ukrainians were struggling with "joblessness, hunger and the general despair." He saw directly what Yanukovych's rule meant for the average Ukrainian.[1] It was also despite Yanukovych's ouster by popular uprising in February 2014, and the warrant for his arrest for mass murder of protesters.[6] Seemingly none of this was enough to convince Devine to drop his support all throughout his time working for Yanukovych, and the fee for selling his soul to Yanukovych was either $10,000 per day, or discounted to $100,000 per month.[1]

Ironically, Devine's next major work was in 2015, as chief strategist for Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, whose messaging included "our economy is rigged", "special interests", "all of the new wealth is going to the top of America", and "corrupt system of campaign finance".[1] Devine also worked on Sanders' 2006 senatorial campaign, the same year that he worked on Yanukovych's return to Ukrainian politics.[1] All of this could be seen as coincidence except that it is now known that besides supporting Yanukovych, the Russians were also supporting Bernie Sanders' campaign, despite Sanders himself being critical of Vladimir Putin, the Russian oligarchy, and Moscow's aggressive foreign policy; they just really wanted Hillary Clinton beaten.[7][8] Despite Sanders' running as a populist, the presidential campaign was a cash cow for Devine's firm Devine Mulvey Longabaugh, which split $10 million in commissions for ad buys with another firm.[9] Sanders continued working with Mulvey Longabaugh until January 2019, when the firm broke off cooperation citing "creative differences" with Sanders on how to conduct his primary campaign.[10]

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External links[edit]


  1. Plan B for Ukrainians first: Yanukovych subsequently received Russian citizenship by secret decree from Vlaidmir Putin in 2014 as well as Russian asylum in 2015.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The deep cynicism of Bernie Sanders’s chief strategist by Dana Milbank (August 1, 2018) The Washington Post.
  2. See the Wikipedia article on Viktor Yanukovych.
  3. See the Wikipedia article on Tad Devine.
  4. Remember when a Ukrainian presidential candidate fell mysteriously ill? by Terri Rupar (March 12, 2014) The Washington Post.
  5. Day one of the Paul Manafort trial: Jury selection, first witness called and a $15,000 ostrich jacket by Rachel Weiner et al. (July 31, 2018) The Washington Post.
  6. Ukraine's new government is not legitimate – Dmitry Medvedev. Warrant out for former president Viktor Yanukovych's arrest on charges relating to deaths of civilians by Howard Amos, Shaun Walker & Haroon Siddique (Mon 24 Feb 2014 11.33 EST) The Guardian.
  7. United States of America v. Internet Research Agency et al. (Criminal No. 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 371, 1349, 1028A) In the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (February 16, 2018)
  8. Sanders silent on claim that Russians backed him in 2016 by Gabriel Debenedetti (02/16/2018 03:46 PM EST) Politico.
  9. Bernie’s Fundraising Was Revolutionary. How He Spent His Money Was Not. What did $220 million buy? Ads, consultants, and a dispiritingly conventional campaign. by Eli Clifton and Joshua Holland (July 13 2016 3:16 PM) Slate.
  10. Top Bernie Sanders strategists split with his 2020 campaign over creative differences by Brian Schwartz (February 26 2019 1:56 PM EST) CNBC.