Clinton Foundation: Was there a quid for the pro quo?
“What does Hillary Clinton have to do for it to be ‘corruption?’” said Will Bunch in Philly.com. “A steady drip-drip-drip of the emails that Team Clinton put on a private server because she didn’t want you or me to see them” appears to show the Democratic presidential nominee improperly mixing State Department and Clinton Foundation business while secretary of state. Though Clinton vows she never gave foundation donors special access or granted them favors during her tenure, mounting evidence suggests otherwise. In one particularly “egregious” example, emails from 2009 appear to show top Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band asking Clinton’s State Department aide Huma Abedin to set up a meeting between Clinton and Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain—a “good friend of ours,” as Band put it, who directed $32 million to a Clinton Foundation program. Clinton and Salman subsequently met, and, in a huge coincidence, the State Department then approved $630 million worth of arms sales to Salman’s military forces (a 187 percent increase over previous years’ sales). Bahrain’s autocratic monarchy then used those U.S.-made weapons to violently crush a pro-democracy uprising. “I took four years of Latin in high school. I’m pretty sure that’s what quid pro quo means.”
You want to “slap the handcuffs” on Hillary just because she gave some face time to foundation donors? said Jonathan Allen in Roll Call.com. All officeholders give donors special access. “Meetings are how things get done,” and the Clinton Foundation did lots of good work in the world, including helping African farmers raise their crop yields and providing inexpensive AIDS drugs to millions of people. The real question is whether “access was granted, based on a donation, to anyone who shouldn’t have had it.” Answer: No. As a high-level representative of the Bahraini government, for example, Salman would have been able to secure meetings with America’s top diplomat, regardless.
Still, said Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times, some of the stories trickling out from Clinton’s private server are troubling. Neither she, as the secretary of state, nor the loyalists who worked for the State Department and/or the foundation made any attempt to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest as they moved foundation donors “to the head of the line.” The conflicts of interest were actually very real, said Robert Zapesochny in Spectator.org. Not only did the foundation gladly accept donations from 181 wealthy businessmen, companies, and foreign governments who were lobbying Hillary’s State Department, but Bill Clinton also personally accepted huge sums of money from some of these same donors for speeches and other services. Did any of these generous donors get anything in return? You bet. One, Russiaowned Rosatom, was later granted control of one-fifth of America’s uranium reserves—a deal approved by Clinton’s State Department.
Bill Clinton was later paid $500,000 to give a speech in Moscow to a bank connected to the uranium deal. In 2009, emails show, Hillary Clinton told aides to add Laureate Education, a company running for-profit colleges around the world, to a guest list for a State Department dinner on education. It just so happens that Laureate was a major foundation donor, and paid Bill $17.6 million over four years as an “honorary chancellor.” All told, Bill was paid a staggering $132 million in speaking and consulting fees between 2001 and when Clinton launched her presidential campaign last year. What a “brazen scam.”
Bernie Sanders “never understood” any of this when he famously dismissed Hillary’s email scandal, said Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post. The real question was not whether Clinton mishandled classified information. It was what she was hiding when she set up a private server and later deleted 30,000 “personal” emails, using a sophisticated program called BleachBit to wipe every trace of them from her computer. Now we know: She wanted to keep the public ignorant about “how the whole machine operated”—how the foundation worked as an “elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton, Inc.”
Clinton’s response to these revelations has been typically “disastrous,” said Elise Jordan in Time.com.Instead of holding a press conference to answer legitimate questions, Clinton has hidden behind legal technicalities, saying, “I know there’s a lot of smoke, [but] there’s no fire.” That’s not going to cut it. With every day that she refuses to address her poor judgment in blurring the line between the foundation and the State Department, she only feeds “the perception that she is dishonest and untrustworthy.” That’s “the primary hurdle on her path to the White House.”
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The Washington Post
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The New York Times
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The New York Times