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McGaughey's Personal Background

Bill McGaughey (pronounced “MaGoy”) came from a privileged background. He was the oldest of four children born to Joanna and William McGaughey, Sr. in Detroit where his father held public-relations positions in the automobile industry.

His father’s father was a medical doctor who was an ardent Republican. Hence his father’s full name: William Howard Taft McGaughey. His mother’s father was a lawyer from Putnam county who became Democratic leader of the Indiana state senate. Without knowing each other then, his parents both served as pages in the Indiana legislature.

William McGaughey Sr. was a protege of George Romney, CEO of American Motors and later Governor of Michigan and Housing Secretary in Richard Nixon’s cabinet. At one time, Romney was considered Nixon’s main rival for the Republican nomination for President.

Romney and McGaughey both worked as industry representatives when the automobile industry converted to war production during World War II. While Romney headed American Motors, McGaughey became its vice president in charge of communications. His main achievement was to pick a proposed television show from a list of ad-agency recommendations. That show was Disneyland. It helped the Rambler become a brisk-selling car and launched Romney’s political career. The “compact car” revolution of the late 1950s resulted from Rambler’s success. After Romney left American Motors, William McGaughey became senior vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers in New York and Washington, D.C.

Bill McGaughey, Jr., the political candidate, was an English major at Yale who graduated in 1964. He came to Minnesota in the following year to be on his own. Having a strong interest in philosophy and in writing, he lived for the sake of expressing ideas. To pay the bills, though, he studied accounting. He passed the CPA examination in 1971. Then began a career filled with mid-level accounting positions in government, public accounting, and private industry. He was the MTC’s (now Metro Transit) cost accountant for sixteen years.

In the mid 1970s, McGaughey turned his detail-oriented attention to labor statistics concerning wages and work hours. He became a proponent of shorter-workweek legislation. This he promoted both through organization and writing. His self-published book, “A Shorter Workweek in the 1980s,” presented an economic analysis of work hours in relation to employment and productivity. It came at a time when Rep. John Conyers of Detroit introduced federal legislation, supported by labor groups, to reduce the statutory workweek. Conyers contributed a foreword to McGaughey’s book.

Similarly, McGaughey became acquainted with former U.S. Senator Eugene McCarthy when McCarthy returned to Minnesota to campaign for the Senate in 1982. They collaborated on a book titled “Nonfinancial Economics: The Case for Shorter Hours of Work”, which was published by Praeger in 1989.

In the period between 1990 and 1993, McGaughey turned his attention to issues of international trade. Tom Laney, former president of UAW Local 879 at the Ford plant, put him in touch with trade-unionist activists who were sounding the first warnings about NAFTA. McGaughey attended several conferences, offered testimony at the ITC hearings in Chicago, and, in June 1991, was an international observer at a union election at Ford’s Cuautitlan assembly plant outside Mexico City where a worker had been shot and killed. Paul Wellstone, newly elected to the U.S. Senate, requested that McGaughey send him a report.

From these experiences and assorted materials, McGaughey again produced a book. Titled “A U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement: Do We Just Say No?”, it was published in the spring of 1992 - just in time to place a copy of the book in candidate Bill Clinton’s hands when he came to Minneapolis to campaign for the Presidency.

About that time, after he participated in a union drive, McGaughey began to have inklings that his services might no longer be required at the Metropolitan Transit Commission. His job there officially ended in May 1996. McGaughey was retired at the age of 55.

In preparation for that career transition, McGaughey purchased a HUD house across the street from the apartment building where he lived in Minneapolis. It was unfit for human habitation since all the copper pipes had been ripped out. Next, in August 1993, McGaughey purchased a nine-unit apartment building next door to the house. It was the site of drug dealing. Two weeks after he bought the building, he was summoned to a meeting of the local neighborhood association, with the City Council representative in attendance, where he was denounced as a person unfit to manage rental property in that neighborhood.

There was a year of pure hell - 1994 - when McGaughey frantically tried to keep drug dealers out of his building and handle the required maintenance. Meanwhile, he was caring for a schizophrenic brother whom the state unsuccessfully tried to commit to a mental institution. (The case went to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Attorney Kurt Anderson won the case.) During this time he was being eased out of an accounting job.

In January 2005, McGaughey went to New York City to attend the third prepcom of the UN Social Summit. Joined by Eugene McCarthy, he and others put on a workshop in the UN basement. When he returned home after a week, McGaughey learned that his fellow landlords and “neighbors” in Minneapolis had arranged for the city to condemn his apartment building. Two sets of inspectors had gained entry to the building and ordered it vacated by the end of February. One gave McGaughey a long and expensive list of work orders to complete in order to lift the condemnation.

The neighborhood group organized a community meeting to denounce McGaughey and press a demand that he relinquish control of the building and keep it vacant for six months. They said the community needed “a breather” from all the crime that his building attracted. Although it was held on April Fool’s Day, the "neighbors" were not fooling. They wanted to run McGaughey out of business so someone else could get his property.

Outnumbered forty to one, McGaughey stood up before the group and denounced them all. The meeting fizzled. The contract of the neighborhood staffer who organized this meeting was not renewed. From there it was a matter of having enough credit-card capacity to complete all the work that the city inspectors required.

Later that month, the Star Tribune published an opinion piece recounting that experience. A member of a landlord group suing the city contacted McGaughey. He first met these people at a City Council hearing in south Minneapolis . Drawing upon his experience as a book promoter, McGaughey convinced the group to do a direct-mail campaign. It produced good results. The group led by Charlie Disney, a nine-time state table-tennis champion, held biweekly gripe session, followed by monthly meetings at a community center which were videotaped and shown on cable television.

For six years - from 1995 to 2001 - McGaughey, Disney, and others were a thorn in the side of city government. They picketed City Hall. They protested the city’s punitive demolition of homes. They disrupted a meeting of the Minneapolis City Council. But, above all, they held monthly televised meetings, self-described as “a cross between a public-affairs discussion and the Jerry Springer show.” Persons who had been abused by Minneapolis city government were encouraged to tell their stories.

Charlie Disney ran for mayor of Minneapolis, had a heart attack, and dropped out of the race. Bill McGaughey became a candidate in his place. After a week of active campaigning, he finished twelfth among twenty-two candidates in the primary election held on September 11, 2001. On the positive side, the incumbent mayor and the president of the city council - the same woman who had denounced McGaughey at the neighborhood meeting - were defeated in the general election. Seven of thirteen city council members were replaced.

McGaughey ran for U.S. Senate in the 2002 Independence Party primary, finishing second to Jim Moore. He ran for President in Louisiana’s 2004 Presidential primary, finishing fifth among seven candidates. McGaughey defeated Dennis Kucinich by a wide margin.

The landlord business settled down after McGaughey survived the initiation by fire. His three buildings have served a predominantly African-American clientele. He made money in some years, lost money in others, but generally stayed solvent with the help of a state pension and Social Security.


This is Do Do. He's part of Bill's family.

The new millennium saw four new self-published books: one presenting a new theory of world history, one discussing the relationship between rhythm and self-consciousness, one on the campaign for U.S. Senate, and one on the campaign for President in Louisiana. None was commercially successful. A Chinese-language version of the world-history book published in China did better.

However, McGaughey also created an extensive web site to present the views in his world-history book: Besides English, parallel pages appear in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian. Traffic to this site has gradually increased . Today it attracts 1,900 visitors and 5,000 hits per day. This site is rated in the top ten on Google for the search words “predict the future”.

Other web sites created and maintained by McGaughey include,,, and The last-mentioned site, containing more than 150 documents, is the archives of Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee.


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