NYMag.com reports that
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.
When you are a power couple consisting of a former president and a current secretary of State and likely presidential candidate, you have the ability to raise a lot of money for charitable purposes that can do a lot of good. But some of the potential sources of donations will be looking to get something in return for their money other than moral satisfaction or the chance to hobnob with celebrities. Some of them want preferential treatment from the State Department, and others want access to a potential future Clinton administration. To run a private operation where Bill Clinton will deliver a speech for a (huge) fee and a charity that raises money from some of the same clients is a difficult situation to navigate. To overlay that fraught situation onto Hillary’s ongoing and likely future government service makes it all much harder.
And yet the Clintons paid little to no attention to this problem. Nicholas Confessore described their operation as “a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.” Indeed, as Ryan Lizzareported in 2012, Bill Clinton seemed to see the nexus between his role and his wife’s as a positive rather than a negative:
Regardless of Bill Clinton’s personal feelings about Obama, it didn’t take him long to see the advantages of an Obama Presidency. More than anyone, he pushed Hillary to take the job of Secretary of State. “President Clinton was a big supporter of the idea,” an intimate of the Clintons told me. “He advocated very strongly for it and arguably was the tie-breaking reason she took the job.” For one thing, having his spouse in that position didn’t hurt his work at the Clinton Global Initiative. He invites foreign leaders to the initiative’s annual meeting, and her prominence in the Administration can be an asset in attracting foreign donors. “Bill Clinton’s been able to continue to be the Bill Clinton we know, in large part because of his relationship with the White House and because his wife is the Secretary of State,” the Clinton associate continued. “It worked out very well for him. That may be a very cynical way to look at it, but that’s a fact. A lot of the stuff he’s doing internationally is aided by his level of access.”
The Obama administration wanted Hillary Clinton to use official government email. She didn’t. The Obama administration alsodemanded that the Clinton Foundation disclose all its donors while she served as Secretary of State. It didn’t comply with that request, either.
The Clintons’ charitable initiatives were a kind of quasi-government run by themselves, which was staffed by their own loyalists and made up the rules as it went along. Their experience running the actual government, with its formal accountability and disclosure, went reasonably well. Their experience running their own privatized mini-state has been a fiasco.
On Jan. 8, 1996, in a still-relevant commentary titled “Blizzard of Lies,” New York Times columnist William Safire described Hillary Clinton as “a congenital liar.”
Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar. Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.
1. Remember the story she told about studying The Wall Street Journal to explain her 10,000 percent profit in 1979 commodity trading? We now know that was a lie told to turn aside accusations that as the Governor’s wife she profited corruptly, her account being run by a lawyer for state poultry interests through a disreputable broker.
She lied for good reason: To admit otherwise would be to confess taking, and paying taxes on, what some think amounted to a $100,000 bribe.
2. The abuse of Presidential power known as Travelgate elicited another series of lies. She induced a White House lawyer to assert flatly to investigators that Mrs. Clinton did not order the firing of White House travel aides, who were then harassed by the F.B.I. and Justice Department to justify patronage replacement by Mrs. Clinton’s cronies.
Now we know, from a memo long concealed from investigators, that there would be “hell to pay” if the furious First Lady’s desires were scorned. The career of the lawyer who transmitted Hillary’s lie to authorities is now in jeopardy. Again, she lied with good reason: to avoid being identified as a vindictive political power player who used the F.B.I. to ruin the lives of people standing in the way of juicy patronage.
3. In the aftermath of the apparent suicide of her former partner and closest confidant, White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster, she ordered the overturn of an agreement to allow the Justice Department to examine the files in the dead man’s office. Her closest friends and aides, under oath, have been blatantly disremembering this likely obstruction of justice, and may have to pay for supporting Hillary’s lie with jail terms.
Again, the lying was not irrational. Investigators believe that damning records from the Rose Law Firm, wrongfully kept in Vincent Foster’s White House office, were spirited out in the dead of night and hidden from the law for two years — in Hillary’s closet, in Web Hubbell’s basement before his felony conviction, in the President’s secretary’s personal files — before some were forced out last week.
Why the White House concealment? For good reason: The records show Hillary Clinton was lying when she denied actively representing a criminal enterprise known as the Madison S.& L., and indicate she may have conspired with Web Hubbell’s father-in-law to make a sham land deal that cost taxpayers $3 million.
Why the belated release of some of the incriminating evidence? Not because it mysteriously turned up in offices previously searched. Certainly not because Hillary Clinton and her new hang-tough White House counsel want to respond fully to lawful subpoenas.
One reason for the Friday-night dribble of evidence from the White House is the discovery by the F.B.I. of copies of some of those records elsewhere. When Clinton witnesses are asked about specific items in “lost” records — which investigators have — the White House “finds” its copy and releases it. By concealing the Madison billing records two days beyond the statute of limitations, Hillary evaded a civil suit by bamboozled bank regulators.
Another reason for recent revelations is the imminent turning of former aides and partners of Hillary against her; they were willing to cover her lying when it advanced their careers, but are inclined to listen to their own lawyers when faced with perjury indictments.
Therefore, ask not “Why didn’t she just come clean at the beginning?” She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.
No wonder the President is fearful of holding a prime-time press conference. Having been separately deposed by the independent counsel at least twice, the President and First Lady would be well advised to retain separate defense counsel.
The late, great William Safire was a prophet.
The volcanic eruption of revelations concerning the Clintons’ influence peddling via means of the Clinton Foundation, over the last 24 hours, is breath-taking in its size and scope.
With the revelation of “the gift” of massive quantities of Uranium to the Russians and an Iranian Connection regarding some of the money given to the Clinton Foundation, this is not just a scandal involving money and unscrupulous political ladder-climbing through the peddling of “favors”, the actions of the Clintons crossed the line into the abhorrent abyss of treason.
Hillary Clinton does not belong in the White House.
She belongs in the jail house.
Until He Comes,