At this point, the media stories are too numerous to mention individually so I’ll try to give a little rundown of what is happening as a result of the “Clinton Cash” book which has recent come out. The book is a scathing look at the financial dealings of the Clinton Foundation, a charitable organization operated by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The book raises numerous points of concern with financial filings, foreign donations, and conflicts of intersted between Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State and Bill Clinton’s speaking and lobbying efforts.
Report on the various stories from New York Magazine:
The qualities of an effective presidency do not seem to transfer onto a post-presidency. Jimmy Carter was an ineffective president who became an exemplary post-president. Bill Clinton appears to be the reverse. All sorts of unproven worst-case-scenario questions float around the web of connections between Bill’s private work, Hillary Clinton’s public role as secretary of State, the Clintons’ quasi-public charity, and Hillary’s noncompliant email system. But the best-case scenario is bad enough: The Clintons have been disorganized and greedy.
The news today about the Clintons all fleshes out, in one way or another, their lack of interest in policing serious conflict-of-interest problems that arise in their overlapping roles:
The New York Times has a report about the State Department’s decision to approve the sale of Uranium mines to a Russian company that donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, and that a Russian investment bank promoting the deal paid Bill $500,000 for a speech in Moscow.
The Washington Post reports that Bill Clinton has received $26 million in speaking fees from entities that also donated to the Clinton Global Initiative.
The Washington Examiner reports, “Twenty-two of the 37 corporations nominated for a prestigious State Department award — and six of the eight ultimate winners — while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State were also donors to the Clinton family foundation.”
And Reuters reports, “Hillary Clinton’s family’s charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors.”
The Clinton campaign is batting down the darkest and most conspiratorial interpretation of these stories, and where this all leads remains to be seen. But the most positive interpretation is not exactly good.
As noted, the Clinton campaign has the issue, via CNN:
Hillary Clinton on Monday dismissed an upcoming book that will reportedly outline favorable treatment from her State Department in exchange for foreign donations to her family foundation, saying it comes with the territory of running for president.
“We are back into the political season and there are all kinds of distractions and attacks,” Clinton told reporters in New Hampshire on Monday, her first comments to the media. “And I am ready for that. I know that that comes, unfortunately, with the territory. It is, I think, worth nothing that the Republicans seem to be talking only about me. I don’t know what they would be talk about if I wasn’t in the race. But I am in the race and hopefully we will get onto the issues and I look forward to that.”
Hillary’s statement was on Monday. The new stories are out over the past two days so the dust has yet to settle. My guess is she’ll lay quite low and let the majority of the backlash burn out over the next few days. It will be easy by some to discount the book given the author’s Republican-leanings and connections to the right-leaning Hoover Institute. However, as noted in the New York Times piece above, the Times built on some of the author’s claims and then uncovered even further details which indicate some level of conflict within the foundation’s financial dealings.
The “Clinton Cash” author, Peter Schweitzer, claims to be taking on Jeb Bush with a similar look at the Bush family financial dealings.
We’ll see how this plays out. I’m interested to revisit the story in a week and see whether the general public actually cares or not.