O So Connected

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

O So Connected

This diamond merchant has an eye for political deals.

By Jeanne Brokaw

#101 Maurice Tempelsman, 67, New York, N.Y. Party: D. $169,000 total contributions.

View Tempelsman’s itemized contributions.

Diamond broker Maurice Tempelsman is better recognized by the paparazzi than the populace. But less known than his role as the longtime companion of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is his reputation for high-level business diplomacy.

Since the 1950s, he has cultivated close relationships with leading statesmen from diamond-rich countries. He also counts many influential friends in Washington, and his staff has included a former CIA Africa division head.

Taking up his father’s New York diamond brokerage at an early age, the Belgian-born Tempelsman used Adlai Stevenson as a lawyer between Stevenson’s presidential bids. Through Stevenson, who as a supporter of African independence was immensely popular, Tempelsman gained valuable entrée to African nationalist circles just as independence movements were gaining momentum and unlocking old colonial grips on markets.

Still a Democratic donor by dint of cultural inertia, Tempelsman today has added things Russian to his interests. Last summer the Journal of Commerce reported that he had persuaded the U.S. Export-Import Bank to back a $54.5 million loan to a business partner who is Russia’s chief diamond miner.

As usual, his connections are flawless.

Next Profile | MoJo 400 Central


The 400 List:

The full Mother Jones 400 list.

Meet the people with political pull.



Search the top 400 political donors by name, industry, state, or contribution amount.

Itemized Contributions
The details of every donation, searchable by donor, recipient, date, amount, and more.



Money & Politics
Is campaign finance reform the way to a better government?


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend