Why 'Crooked Hillary' is likely to stick
Donald Trump has a knack for nicknames. Low-energy Jeb caught something of Jeb's entitled aura. "Little Marco" got at something truly juvenile and naive about Marco Rubio. And "Lyin' Ted" was an effective way of branding Ted Cruz's dishonesty. Lately, Donald's been trying new nicknames for Hillary Clinton, but he seems to like his original "Crooked Hillary" best.
And his first instinct is best. The Clinton Foundation and other associated concerns really are a kind of globalist grift.
Funded by the rich, the foundation allows the Clintons to travel around the world and to network with other high net worth individuals. It even pays the salaries of Clinton friends and other flunkies. And where does the money come from? Bill Clinton would often raise it from people who had direct financial interests at play in the U.S. State Department when Hillary was there. One such deal resulted in a Russian company, Uranium One, obtaining control over one-fifth of the world's uranium production.
As Peter Schweizer's book Clinton Cash details, Hillary's loyalty could be well-bought. Consider the financial interests of Mohammed al-Amoudi, who committed $20 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2007. Al-Amoudi profits from the Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies, which could have been harmed by U.S. policy changes in Ethiopia, particularly if the U.S. government scrutinized Ethiopia closely for human rights violations, as required by U.S. rules on foreign aid. Clinton dutifully gave a waiver to Ethiopia during her time as secretary of state. Bill Clinton would praise Ethiopia's leaders as a new guard for the continent, even if their rule included extra-judicial killing and plunder.
There are dozens of other sordid little tales, like that of Claudio Osorio, currently in federal prison for fraud. The Clintons, to whom he donated generously, helped his firm InnoVida obtain a $10 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. More evidence of financial corruption may be coming now that Charles Ortel, who uncovered wrongdoing at General Electric, is examining the Clinton Foundation's disclosures. He's already describing their work as "charity fraud."
There's also the matter of Hillary's speaking fees. In just the two years between leaving the Obama administration and launching her bid for the presidency, she made nearly $22 million from speeches. Right after her service to Obama, Hillary Clinton began giving one to two speeches a month at around $225,000 or more per speech. Who wanted to hear Hillary speak? Lots of financial services companies, including Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Fidelity Investments. Goldman Sachs even hired her to speak in South Carolina in June of 2013, and then again in New York and Arizona that October. Her clients included major investors in government projects, like TD Bank, which had major investments in the Keystone Pipeline.
Clinton has steadfastly refused to release any transcripts from these speeches despite pressure from the Bernie Sanders campaign. It's easier to find out what she said in official State Department email. That's too bad for her. Because she has a long-term partner in this financial corruption. If there isn't some value in it for the companies that pay the Clintons' speaking fees and honorariums, why did the price for Bill Clinton appearances suddenly rise when his wife was made secretary of state in 2009?
Now, of course, Donald Trump himself has openly admitted to participating in exactly this kind of pay-for-play political corruption from the private sector side. He's gotten government to bully property owners that stand in his way. He admits to donating to politicians as the price of doing business, even referring to donations to Hillary Clinton herself.
But what does the public find more shameful? Is it the businessman who looks after his own interests, using government to smooth his real-estate business and casino interests? Or the government official, who prostitutes the public offices she uses, not only for personal gain, but sometimes in ways that work to legitimize human-rights abusers in Africa, or enrich shady Middle Eastern business concerns, or give Russian companies greater access to weapons material? We're going to find out.
The Democrats have only themselves to blame for this. For years, liberal politics has been moving away from the triangulating, neo-liberal, wine-track politics of the Clintons. And for years, the public at large has become more and more restive when it comes to the politics of elite cronyism and bailouts for big players.
But Democrats nominated one of their most impeachable figures anyway.