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‘Clinton Cash’ and an Unprecedented Question

Democratic loyalists are reacting in predictable ways to the flurry of publicity for a new book about the way Bill and Hillary Clinton got rich via donations from foreign governments to their charity due out in a few weeks. Their instincts tell them to dismiss the allegations in Peter Schweitzer’s book as just the latest manifestation of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” out to get the Clintons, to use Hillary’s memorable phrase from the 1990s. But the attention being paid to the book by the New York Times and not just Fox News is making it hard to do so. It remains to be seen whether Schweitzer’s charges about foreign entities making massive contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative as well as paying enormous speaking fees to the former president in return for favors from the State Department when the former first lady led it will be substantiated. But what cannot be disputed is that the Clintons have behaved in an unprecedented manner. The real question is whether their pushing of the boundaries of ethical behavior will ultimately be seen as disqualifying or if, instead, be disregarded as just one more set of rules that the once and future first family can ignore with impunity.

On its face, the reports about Schweitzer’s book appear to indicate that what he has done is merely to collate a vast array of material about the Clintons, their charity, and U.S. foreign policy, and to attempt to connect the dots between subjects that Bill and Hillary would like very much for us to keep separate. In response, the Clinton machine is trotting out the gang of usual suspects to put it down as politicized reporting that unfairly attempts to stigmatize the work of a noble charity as well as to besmirch Hillary’s record at the State Department.

Yet however much they huff and puff about the effrontery of those who dare to question the Clintons’ behavior, they can’t entirely squelch concerns about the way the couple has pushed the conventional boundaries of ethical political behavior in ways that are completely unprecedented in American political history. Though this is being viewed as a purely political question, there’s more here than just an opportunity for conservatives and Republicans to throw dirt at the putative 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. Even if you admired the previous Clinton presidency and think Hillary would make an admirable successor to Barack Obama, the facts about the Clinton charity and the way it has solicited donations give even liberals a queasy feeling about the manner in which has operated. More than that, there is simply no previous example of a former president and his family creating such an entity that is dependent in part on foreign riches while one of its principals has been actively conducting American foreign policy and preparing for a future presidential run.

It must be conceded that just because there has never been anything like the Clinton power couple before doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. But in an era when conflicts of interest involving public officials are often justifications for lengthy and costly investigations–and possible prosecution if authorities think they can substantiate a link, however circumstantial, between official behavior and actions from donors that benefit an official and/or his or her family–the most favorable way of characterizing the Clintons’ behavior is to say that it is very fishy. Yet we should probably take it as a given that the Clintons and their lawyers are likely so savvy about how to push the envelope on ethics that they have been careful to avoid breaking any laws or at least that they have done so in ways that will make it difficult, if not impossible for them to be prosecuted.

It is also true that former President Clinton’s conduct seems very much in line with the kind of activity that nowadays we treat as normal from former members of the House and Senate who routinely cash out on their political careers after retirement or defeat at the polls by becoming lobbyists, consultants, or otherwise profiting from their status as former power brokers. Past presidents have often been involved in charity work, though never on the scale of the Clinton Global Initiative before. But even if other former chief executives have made money speaking, those paying them exorbitant honorariums were never before doing so while a presidential spouse was in power or planning to get it, raising issues of quid pro quo transactions that have never before been lodged before against one of our former presidents and their families.

Are the American people are really comfortable with the idea of a former president profiting from the largesse lavished upon him and the charity he runs from foreign sources while his wife presides over the State Department while biding her time before running for president? Clinton’s defenders are anxious that we think it no big deal while their antagonists seem to think that merely pointing out what is already on the record about their behavior is enough to disqualify Hillary from consideration in 2016. But what we don’t know is which of these two possible responses characterizes the thinking of the electorate.

It is possible that just as Bill Clinton broke new ground in violating norms about personal behavior in the White House without forfeiting the support of many, if not most Americans, so, too, the tale of the “Clinton Cash” will similarly be forgiven, if not altogether ignored by enough Americans to ensure their return to the White House. But just as there is no precedent for their behavior and the questions they have raised about the intersection of policy, charity, and speeches for profit, there is also none that can give us an answer to this question about how such hijinks influence presidential elections. All we know is that the Clinton way of doing charity work for profit and power has raised questions about Hillary’s candidacy and her party in ways that not even the sagest pundits can be sure about the people’s response to this mess.



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8 Responses to “‘Clinton Cash’ and an Unprecedented Question”

  1. MARIAN TANENBAUM says:

    Clinton Foundation quid pro quo is Clinton corruption on steroids.

    While Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State, the couple pocketed billions in “pay to play.” There are so many vectors of transaction, it is dizzying. There is so much cash, it is nauseating.

    This latest scam of theirs makes their 90s White House quid pro quo look like, (if you’ll pardon the oxymoron) penny ante treason.

    The Clintons have a long history of selling out this country to the enemy, often in plain sight. And some of it involved nukes, e.g., Clinton wholesale release of atomic secrets to China, Clinton facilitating China’s theft of the nuclear legacy codes and warhead data, Clinton sale of supercomputers to China to upgrade and maintain its nuclear arsenal.

    For eight years, the Clintons methodically, seditiously and with impunity auctioned off America’s security, sovereignty and economy to the highest foreign bidder.

    And they are selling out the country in plain sight today with the biggest cover and slush fund of all time: The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation… which brings us full circle and explains why Hillary Clinton chose to scrub the server and risk being charged with obstruction of justice. The alternative is a capital offense.

    You put these two miscreants back in power at your own peril. And your children’s.

    • MARIAN TANENBAUM says:

      edited:

      This latest scam of the Clintons makes their 90s White House quid pro quo look like, (if you’ll pardon the oxymoron), penny ante treason.

      While Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State, the couple pocketed billions in “pay to play.” There are so many vectors of transaction, it is dizzying. There is so much cash, it is nauseating.

      The Clintons have a long history of selling out this country to the enemy, often in plain sight. And some of it involved nukes, e.g., Clinton wholesale release of atomic secrets to China, Clinton facilitating China’s theft of the nuclear legacy codes and warhead data, Clinton sale of supercomputers to China to upgrade and maintain its nuclear arsenal.

      For eight years, the Clintons methodically, seditiously and with impunity auctioned off America’s security, sovereignty and economy to the highest foreign bidder.

      And they are selling out the country in plain sight today with the biggest cover and slush fund of all time: The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation… which brings us full circle and explains why Hillary Clinton chose to scrub the server and risk being charged with obstruction of justice. The alternative is a capital offense.

      You put these two miscreants back in power at your own peril. And your children’s.

  2. F JAY HOENEMEYER says:

    Ultimately the issue is whether the electorate can see this for what it is and whether then they will vote for her anyway . The Clintons have been doing this for decades : using the cattle futures scam to pull down a $100,000 $bribe from Tyson Chicken was , in fact , pure genius . The Foundation is nothing more than a front on a grand scale and the so-called contributions are nothing less than payoffs . Moreover I guarantee that Foundation employees are working on her campaign , pretty much shredding campaign finance law . And there is nothing anyone can do about that , nothing . AND YET , given the demographics of the Electoral College , she will most likely be elected. and given how Obama has shredded the Constitution as to executive authority , our fair Republic will be at her mercy . Have a nice day .

    • MARIAN TANENBAUM says:

      I am more optimistic.

      Mrs clinton has nowhere to go but down.
      Her current number are, in fact, ominous.

      Why?

      1- She has 100% name recognition, yet she cannot clear 50% against any Republican.

      2- Since her emailgate and servergate obstruction of justice and Foundation-gate illegal preemptive kickbacks (but before this book), her poll numbers on trust are underwater, and her head-to-head match-ups are trending in favor of the Rs.

      3- A certain percentage of “low-information voters,” will, in the course of the campaign, become disgusted by what they learn about this corrupt, unfit candidate, if only by osmosis.

      4- The immutable if perverse hillary clinton law of inverses: As exposure to hillary clinton increases linearly, support for her decreases exponentially

      • MARIAN TANENBAUM says:

        Polls taken while Hillary is invisible & mute show her high mark. The Clinton Machine understands well the paradox of this peculiar candidate: In order for Hillary to have any chance of winning elections, she must all but vanish from the public stage.

        How to do it?

        According to hillary herself, the plan is to use ‘technology,’ by which she means ’virtual reality.’ (In reality, virtual virtual reality: It is highly unlikely this royal-in-her-mind-only tech illiterate does her own tweets. (Or her own server scrubs.)) Her twitter presence will shield her from the risk of real questions from real people in real time and space while conferring on her an aura of accessibility. Mrs Clinton cannot afford another Katherine Prudhomme moment, you see. (Google it.)

        But even the Clinton Machine cannot keep the candidate cosseted in cyberspace & softball venues forever. That is why this early entry, forced by emailgate (& Foundation-gate), is Hillary’s worst nightmare.

  3. STEPHANE S LUBICZ M D says:

    For liberalism, self expression has no boundaries, not even the rights of others.

  4. MARIAN TANENBAUM says:

    This latest scam of the Clintons makes their 90s White House quid pro quo look like, (if you’ll pardon the oxymoron), penny ante treason.

    While Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State, the couple pocketed billions in “pay to play.” The multifarious vectors of transaction and the massive, disproportionate gains are prima facie evidence of the crime. Why else would so many pay so much for so little?

    The Clintons have a long history of selling out this country to the enemy, often in plain sight. For eight years, the Clintons methodically, seditiously and with impunity auctioned off America’s security, sovereignty and economy to the highest foreign bidder.

    And they are selling out the country in plain sight today with the biggest cover and slush fund of all time: The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation… which brings us full circle and explains why Hillary Clinton chose to scrub the server and risk being charged with obstruction of justice. The alternative is a capital offense.

    You put these two miscreants back in power at your own peril. And your children’s.

    • MARIAN TANENBAUM says:

      The clintons’ appetite for money and power is insatiable. Like laboratory rats, put enough of the goodies in front of these two and they will eat themselves to death.




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