Clinton Faux Scandal II – The Clinton Foundation
Following up on the post about the FBI report exonerating Hillary regarding her emails, let’s now look at the supposed scandals at the Clinton Foundation. The New York Times has been especially irresponsible in their reporting on this but that is nothing new for the newspaper that brought us the bogus Whitewater scandal. However the Times is not alone in producing stories that sound bad but reveal nothing improper. Paul Glastris has a nice rundown on these bogus stories here.
Let’s start off with the AP story which seemed to imply that over half the people Hillary Clinton met with during her tenure as Secretary of State were donors to the Clinton Foundation. Of course, the implication was false. When they said half the people she met with, they really only meant half the private individuals she met with as opposed to those in government or diplomatic roles. Of course, those government officials make up the majority of the people she met with. In addition, the 154 private individuals they say she met with are solely gleaned from her official calendar – she undoubtedly met with many more than that during her tenure. And the examples the AP gave of the individuals who had donated to the Clinton Foundation were people like Muhammed Yunis, a Nobel Prize winning pioneer of micro-lending and a friend of the Clintons since Arkansas, and Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel. And, to this day, I do not believe the AP has released the entire list of supposed foundation donors who were seeking access to Clinton nor have they retracted the totally misleading tweet that hyped the story.
Next let’s go to the LA Times story about a Clinton Foundation executive who tried to set up a meeting with Hillary for some shady Lebanese businessman based in Nigeria in order to provide insight into the machinations of Lebanese domestic politics. The article details the unsavory deals this businessman has been involved in, his donations to the Clinton Foundation, and the fact that the State Department leased land from him to build an embassy. But there is nothing in the article that shows Hillary had anything to do with the leasing decision and, in addition, the businessman never met with any State Department official, much less Hillary.
Here’s a Politico story that not only implies that the Clinton Foundation was improperly using government funds for IT equipment and staff. The headline also leaves the impression that one of the IT items in question was Hillary’s private email server. The article discusses “how the Clintons blurred the line between their nonprofit foundation, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and the business dealings of Bill Clinton and the couple’s aides.” Unfortunately, the prior sentence in the article states that whatever they’ve uncovered “does not reveal anything illegal.” So, it has hard to see how the lines were “blurred” when nothing illegal happened. And you won’t find out until paragraph 24 in the article that this all revolves around the various functions that a former President is allowed to perform. When he is performing in his capacity as a former President, he is allowed to charge some of his staff time to the GSA with a cap on total staff salaries paid by the government of $96,600 per year. When he is giving a private speech or acting on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, he is not allowed to bill any time to the government. Staff time is tracked and then billed out accordingly. And Bill Clinton did exactly that. This is standard stuff for every ex-President – there is nothing shady or blurring the lines about it.
Let’s look at the NY Times story about the Clinton Foundation executives trying to influence Hillary to provide them with diplomatic passports. In addition, they also wanted to set up a meeting with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris who is a Clinton Foundation donor. That doesn’t sound very good. But you have to read the whole article to find out that these Foundation execs were traveling with Bill Clinton on an unofficial mission to North Korea in what turned out to be a successful attempt to free two jailed American journalists. Bill Clinton wanted some staff to go with him and the staff requested they be provided with diplomatic passports for the trip. After all, they were going to North Korea and those passports would provide at least some sort of protection. But their request was turned down because only Department employees and others with diplomatic status are eligible for those passports. A brief meeting with the Dow exec actually did occur but that was because he was offering the use of his private jet for Bill Clinton’s flight to North Korea. So all that access to Hillary got them absolutely nothing.
Finally, the latest bogus story from the Washington Post whose headline screams “Inside Bill Clinton’s $18 Million Job As ‘Honorary Chancellor’ At For-Profit University”. It details how the fastest growing college network in the world, Laureate International Universities, paid Bill Clinton $17.6 million over the five years between 2010 and 2015 to be its honorary chancellor. The article states that, “it seems that part of the strategy in hiring the former president was to bolster Laureate’s image by aligning it with the former president’s famous charitable efforts — thereby portraying the company as a force for good in the world.” Yes, that probably is why they hired him which is the same reason most people get hired, because they can help the company. And, unlike Trump and Trump University, Bill Clinton stayed relatively engaged with the university over the five years, making multiple appearance at Laureate’s campuses. But the reason this was a story for the Post is because Hillary Clinton added Laureate to a 2009 private State Department dinner on higher education that also included leaders from community colleges and church-funded institutions. She also wanted to add a representative from the for-profit space and since Laureate was one of the largest in the world, it only made sense to invite them. Remember, this was months before Bill Clinton was hired by the University. In paragraph five of the story, however, you get to the point, or rather the non-point of the story, “There is no evidence that Laureate received special favors from the State Department in direct exchange for hiring Bill Clinton.” And finally, in paragraph 25 you get to the kicker, “Clinton’s contract with Laureate was approved by the State Department’s ethics office, in keeping with an Obama administration agreement with Hillary Clinton that gave the agency the right to review her husband’s outside work during her tenure. An ethics official wrote that he saw ‘no conflict of interest with Laureate or any of their partners,’ according to a letter recently released by the conservative group Citizens United, which received it through a public-records request.” Once again, there is no indication that the activities of Bill Clinton or the Clinton Foundation had any influence on Hillary while she was Secretary of State.
Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye for over 20 years now. She, her husband, and her family have been continually attacked for being deceptive, corrupt, and selling influence. Yet, over all those years, and the literally thousands of negative stories that have been written about them, the only real thing the press could ever come up with is that Bill lied about having an affair. But that doesn’t stop the press. Donald Trump lies almost continuously but somehow the electorate still has the impression that Hillary is less trustworthy. If that does not indicate a compete failure of the media to appropriately inform the public, then I’m not sure what will. And the press then wonders why she hates them.