Not content to cut their losses, Hillary and Bill Clinton are prolonging their foreign-money scandal by insisting that she gets to keep millions from foreign governments even after she runs for president. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The Clinton Foundation said Thursday that if Hillary Clinton runs for president, it will consider whether to continue accepting contributions from foreign governments, a step that would be aimed at avoiding the appearance of conflicts of interest.
The statement didn’t commit the foundation to rejecting donations from foreign governments in the future, as Republicans and some Democrats have urged amid concerns that those nations could use Mrs. Clinton’s family philanthropy to try to gain favor with a leading presidential candidate.
And they sure don’t say she will give the millions already received back. Something is terribly wrong with this picture. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the rest paid good money for an “in” with a future president, and the foundation isn’t about to lessen the appearance of dependency. They keep the money; the oil states keep their chits. This is how the Iranians negotiate: They keep what they have, they might not keep doing it, and you stop criticizing them.
A third of foundation donors who have given more than $1 million are foreign governments or other entities based outside the United States, and foreign donors make up more than half of those who have given more than $5 million.
The prevalence of financial institutions, both foreign and domestic, as major donors is likely to stir more unease in the Democratic Party’s liberal base, which is pushing Hillary Clinton to adopt a more populist and less Wall Street-focused economic agenda. The role of interests located in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Argentina may spur questions about the independence of a potential commander in chief who has solicited money from foreign donors with a stake in the actions of the U.S. government.
Republicans are taken aback by the ethical blindness afflicting Hillaryland. Maybe the money has been spent? Maybe Clinton is so addicted to the swirl of big-money donors she can’t give up the hobnobbing. It is hard to fathom why any politician — even “we were broke” Hillary Clinton — could keep up the pretense that foreign governments can do through the back door (give via a foundation controlled by the Clinton family and run by their flunkies) what they could never do through the front door (give her campaign direct negotiations)?
It is also remarkable the amount of their time devoted to making money, raising money and making the people who give money feel so privileged to do so. The Post reports:
Since its creation in 2001, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has raised close to $2 billion from a vast global network that includes corporate titans, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests, according to a Washington Post review of public records and newly released contribution data.
The total, representing cash and pledges reported in tax filings, includes $262 million that was raised in 2013 — the year Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped down as secretary of state and began to devote her energies to the foundation and to a likely second run for president.
The financial success of the foundation, which funds charitable work around the world, underscores the highly unusual nature of another Clinton candidacy.
“Unusual” is one way to put it. And although the mainstream media are beginning to squawk, the pundits do not suggest that the money-grubbing reflects a fundamental character flaw so serious as to be disqualifying. In laughably reverential tones, the New York Times editorial board suggests: If she wouldn’t mind and not that there is anything wrong with it, she should stop taking such money. People are so critical of every little thing these days. (“No critic has alleged a specific conflict of interest. The foundation, in fact, went beyond normal philanthropic bounds for transparency six years ago in instituting voluntary disclosure of donors within broad dollar ranges on its website. But this very information can feed criticism.”) Yes, we have seen no specific criticism (!?!), just indictments of the whole sorry spectacle. Nary a critical word is uttered about Hillary Clinton’s mindset or personal ethics, which are still above reproach if anyone asks. (“Restoring the restrictions on foreign donors would be a good way to make this point as Mrs. Clinton’s widely expected campaign moves forward.”) Nothing more to see here. Shall we move on? The thought bubble above her fan club at the Times would read: “Puleez don’t make us defend this.”
Surely the mainstream media would be calling for Jeb Bush’s head if he, say, took money for his education foundation from Hamas’s patrons in Qatar. (Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell declined to remark on Clinton’s behavior but did tell Right Turn, “As part of seriously exploring a potential run for president, Governor Bush stepped down as chairman of his education foundation.” She added, “His foundation does not accept contributions from foreign governments or foreign entities.”) But then, Clinton behaves as she does because the press enables her by playing down the significance of her ethical obtuseness. Why stop if she can get away with virtually anything? It’s not a double standard so much as no standards being applied to her. She is sui generis and therefore is not only coddled but also praised for philanthropy and ultimately endorsed as the great defender of the weak and poor. All ethical judgment is suspended by those who whip themselves into outrage over the most trivial offense by other pols. In some parallel universe, some liberal pundit would declare that years of ethical slumming and unbridled greed make Clinton unfit for high office. Period.
This is a test of sorts for the Democratic Party: Is it so afraid of the Clintons and so lacking in any reasonable alternative to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy that it and all potential rivals will remain mum about this? Oh, let’s not kid ourselves. The people who raised a stink about Mitt Romney’s blind trust that had Cayman Islands mutual funds will continue to treat her as political royalty.