I apologize for taking such a long time to figure this out. Upon reflection, it’s been obvious for a long time. I wonder if the Clintons’ fans and supporters understand that their heroes have no respect for ethics? Perhaps they don’t care.
The lightbulb went off for me when it was revealed that the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation has changed its policy on soliciting and accepting contributions from foreign governments and has now received millions from foreign governments including Qatar, a prominent backer of Hamas.
Playing stupid (and protecting the Clinton’s flanks the best they can, as is their nature), the Washington Post and other media outlets have written that this raises “ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency.” No, it doesn’t raise any ethical questions at all. This is unethical. It’s blatantly unethical. The Clintons know it’s unethical, but because they are themselves unethical, they are doing it anyway. What’s the question?
At the National Journal, that Passenger Pigeon of journalists, Ron Fournier, correctly calls the decision “sleazy and stupid.” I’m not so sure about stupid, if the only objective is to elect Hillary Clinton, and it is reasonable that Bill and Hillary have concluded that anyone who still supports them care as little about ethics as they doe. Besides, ethics schmethics, LOOK AT ALL THIS MONEY, BILL!
From the Washington Post:
Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline. United Arab Emirates, a first-time donor, gave between $1 million and $5 million in 2014, and the German government—which also hadn’t previously given—contributed between $100,000 and $250,000. A previous donor, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has given between $10 million and $25 million since the foundation was created in 1999. Part of that came in 2014, although the database doesn’t specify how much.
The Australian government has given between $5 million and $10 million, at least part of which came in 2014. It also gave in 2013, when its donations fell in the same range. Qatar’s government committee preparing for the 2022 soccer World Cup gave between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2014. Qatar’s government had previously donated between $1 million and $5 million.
Oman, which had made a donation previously, gave an undisclosed amount in 2014. Over time, Oman has given the foundation between $1 million and $5 million. Prior to last year, its donations fell in the same range….
To point out what should be obvious, the policy and the resulting tidal wave of foreign cash creates a clear, sinister, conflict of interest. The Obama Administration, which has habitually waived its supposedly strict conflicts rules whenever an appointee found them inconvenient, wouldn’t waive them for Hillary when she was Secretary of State. It was obvious that the occupant having that job allowing her family’s foundation to accept money from governments vying for U.S. favor would be an open door to corruption, an invitation to attempts at unethical foreign influence of U.S. policy, and at very least, create the appearance of impropriety undermining the public trust. Another good reasons for the Administration not to allow such tempting contributions to its Secretary of State’s non-profit is that it couldn’t trust Hillary to do the right thing when money beckons. Her husband, we now know, as President pardoned a rich and criminal fugitive, Marc Rich, in exchange for a hefty contribution to his library. (This is known as “a bribe.”) Hillary charges obscenely high fees to non-profit colleges who then pass them on to students who must burden themselves with huge loans to pay their tuition. Hillary doesn’t care. She’s greedy. Would she sell out the interests of her nation for a big check from , say, Qatar? Obama felt that it was better to be safe than sorry.
Now, however, the Clintons think it’s fine to allow foreign governments curry favor with them, even though they have made it clear that she is aiming for the White House. As Fournier writes, “What do these foreign countries expect in exchange for their donations? What pressure would Clinton face as president to return financial favors?” The Jennifer Rubin’s commentary in the Washington Post is more detailed, obliterating the “questions” statement:
“The foundation of course provides luxury travel for Hillary Clinton and her spouse, a high-visibility platform and access to mega-donors. She is beholden in a meaningful sense to its donors. No presidential candidate can justify a conflict of interest of this magnitude; it is not merely the appearance of conflict but actual conflict of interest.
If former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell (R) might go to jail for receiving lavish gifts for a donor for whom he made a few phone calls, what would be the remedy if, once in office, Hillary Clinton extended her office not only to make calls but also to approve policy and financial arrangements worth billions back to these countries? How will the American people ever be satisfied we are getting her undivided loyalty? No matter how much she protests, her judgment would be questioned as influenced by gratitude toward the foundation’s wealthy patrons. And, of course, a president cannot recuse himself or herself from dealings, so there is no practical way to avoid the conflict.”
Showing that the Clinton Foundation’s employees are willing to do their Machiavellian and shameless boss’s bidding no matter how humiliating and corrupting, the spokesman for the Foundation gave this “defense” of the policy, according to CBS:
Craig Minassian defended the organization’s acceptance of foreign donations, and said to the Journal in a statement, “The Clinton Foundation is a philanthropy, period.” He added that the foundation has “strong donor integrity and transparency practices,” which include disclosing all donations on its website.
This is by turns ridiculous, misleading,deceitful and irrelevant:
1. As also pointed out by the Post, it’s philanthropy includes benefits like rich salaries and perks for the Clintons. They directly benefit. I have worked in non-profits for over 30 years. Because it has a lofty mission doesn’t mean a foundation’s employees and officers wear hair shirts, or don’t live well off of its income. See: The Saint’s Excuse
2. It doesn’t matter what the organization does. It wouldn’t matter if it gave 100% of its money to crippled puppies: if it has the Clintons’ name on it, and the Clintons’ for any reason would be grateful for and feel obligated as a result of a donation, then there is a conflict of interest. Ask Charlie Rangel: this was one of the ethics violations that got him in trouble. Don’t insult my intelligence by telling me that the Clintons don’t understand this, or that pathetic, lying Mr. Minassian doesn’t. They understand. They just don’t care. They want the money.
3. Being transparent about a conflict of interest doesn’t cure the conflict. Its just means that spinning spokespersons can confuse the public, most of whom feel their eyes fog over and the need to take a nap at the sound of “conflicts of interest,” about what the “transparent” information means.
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