When money smells bad 2

Hillary Clinton did no good and a lot of harm when she was Secretary of State. The chaos that is Libya is her most notorious “achievement”.

But she did manage to use her position to make a great deal of money.

Now we have nothing against money. On the contrary, unpopular though it apparently is among the moralists of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, global warming “scientists”, and Democratic candidates for high office, we like it.

So it is not the riches of the Clintons we are against. It is how they acquired them.

The Romans used to say, “Pecunia non olet” – money doesn’t stink.

But the Clintons’ money actually does. It stinks of corruption.

The Clintons used the State Department as their own private team of enablers for their artful dodging. 

The Washington Times reports:

Back when they occupied the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton boasted that Americans “got two for the price of one”. The folks in Ireland have a good sense now what that actually costs.

As Irish businesses were arranging for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to make one of her last official visits to Ireland in December 2012, her husband, Bill, suddenly landed a half-million speaking gig for his foundation on the Emerald Island, according to newly released emails from the conservative group Citizens United that show the business of State and the business of Bill were often intertwined.

A review of Mrs. Clinton’s official travel and the former president’s for-pay speechmaking, in fact, found several instances like Ireland in which the couple passed through the same foreign country — one for government business, the other for profit or charity — within a few short weeks of each other.

We looked into the Clintons’ “charity”. How much of the Clinton Foundation’s revenue goes to charity? And what charities? For answers, put these titles into our search slot: Touched by the Clintons; What needs to be known about the Clintons’ charities; Floating up now from a sewer called Clinton; The great good works and wonky dilemmas of William J. Clinton. 

For example, Mr. Clinton gave a speech to a prestigious nonprofit in Sweden for $425,000 in May 2012, and Mrs. Clinton visited the country less than a month later to promote a Clean Air convention. On the same trip, Mr. Clinton made a stop in Denmark to give a paid speech to World Management Limited. Mrs. Clinton visited Denmark the following month for a Green Partnership for Growth event.

In June 2012, Mr. Clinton gave a $450,000 speech to YPY Holdings in France. Less than a month later, Mrs. Clinton was in the country for official business. In August of that year, Mr. Clinton made a trip to Brazil and pocketed $850,000 for two days’ work at two different venues. Mrs. Clinton was in the country two months earlier for a United Nations conference on sustainable development.

The amount Mr. Clinton commanded for speeches seemed to rise after Mrs. Clinton became America’s top diplomat.

Of the 13 speeches for which Mr. Clinton personally collected $500,000 or more each, 11 were while Mrs. Clinton served as secretary of state, according to federal disclosure records. Others, such as the donation Mr. Clinton scored while in Ireland, went directly to the Clinton Foundation.

State officials on government time also spent a significant amount of time vetting Mr. Clinton’s private activities, raising a question of what benefit taxpayers received in return.

Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle at State, including Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, often were involved in the discussions, emails show.

For instance, Mr. Clinton scheduled a trip to Africa several weeks prior to Mrs. Clinton, on official business to promote the foundation’s charitable works there. The trip was cleared through the State Department, which had to check with its embassies to ensure there would not be any problems.

“Cheryl: our embassies in both Kampala and Pretoria have informed me that they see no/no problems (with their host governments or otherwise) with President Clinton’s visit to Uganda and South Africa two/three weeks before the Secretary,” Johnnie Carson, a State official, wrote to Ms. Mills.

Ms. Mills forwarded the email to Amitabh Desai, a Clinton Foundation official, who replied: “Thanks. I also think we need a talking point for the media who ask about the timing of their trips.”

For paid speeches that presented bad optics, Mr. Clinton would ask the State Department whether the money could be donated to his charity rather than taking it personally.

In June 2012, Mr. Desai wrote an email to Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin, along with other top State Department officials asking whether Mr. Clinton could give a speech in Congo — which included a photo line with past dictators — for $650,000.

“This did not clear our internal vet, but [Mr. Clinton] wants to know what state thinks of it if he took 100% for the foundation,” Mr. Desai wrote.

That same month, Mr. Desai wrote the same group at State a similar email, concerned that a group that invited the former president to give a speech for $200,000, the Luca International Group on behalf of the U.S. China Energy Summit, didn’t check out.

“Would [the State Department] have any concerns about [Mr. Clinton] taking this and directing the proceeds to the Clinton Foundation?” Mr. Desai asked. “Don Walker is concerned about the host and agrees with us it’s strange we can’t get any more information on this host and they have no track records of prior events.”

Mr. Clinton never made those speeches, but it serves as an example of ways Mr. Clinton thought of skirting State Department ethics determinations for foundation gains. The foundation also asked in May whether the State Department would have any concerns about an invitation he received on behalf of North Korea.

“Decline it,” Ms. Mills abruptly wrote to Mr. Desai. But that didn’t stop a follow-up question.

This came via Tony Rodham [Mrs. Clinton’s brother]. So we would be grateful for any specific concerns that we could share, beyond just saying it would be concerning for [the State Department],” Mr. Desai wrote.

“If he needs more, let him know his wife knows and I am happy to call him secure when he is near a secure line,” Ms. Mills wrote back.

The Ireland trips included a fascinating web of private and public interests.

In 2012, Mrs. Clinton’s final year in office, Irish racing executive JP McManus was looking for a high-profile keynote speaker to help him hand out the All-Ireland Scholarships his charity donates annually at Limerick University. He considered Mr. Clinton to be the perfect choice.

Mr. McManus secured Mr. Clinton’s interest “with the help of friends”. “I got a friend of mine to make an inquiry,” he told the Limerick Leader in an article published Nov. 20, 2012, a few days after Mr. Clinton’s arrival. Mr. McManus’ charity also donated as much as $1 million to the Clinton Foundation, to secure the endeavor, records show.

One of Mr. McManus’ friends is Kieran McLoughlin, CEO of the Ireland Funds, who was set to host Mrs. Clinton as a keynote speaker at one of its events the following month in Belfast. It was Mrs. Clinton’s last trip to a foreign country as secretary of state.

Not only did Mr. McLoughlin attend Mr. Clinton’s speech in Limerick, according to press reports, but in the months prior, Mr. McLoughlin and Mr. McManus also celebrated in Chicago to kick off the Ryder Cup, and in Morocco, where Mr. McManus was honored by the Ireland Funds for his charitable work.

Request for comment from Mr. McManus’ charity went unreturned. A spokeswoman for the Ireland Funds said Mr. McLoughlin attended the Limerick University speech as a guest and had no involvement whatsoever in the organization of the event. The charity did give Mr. McManus a $100,000 grant in 2011 to support the work of the Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership, of which the McManus Foundation is a lead supporter. None of the funding given to Mr. McManus was used to help attract Mr. Clinton to the Limerick event, the spokeswoman said.

(Our emphasis.) So the $1 mllion that Mr. McManus’s charity donated to the Clinton Foundation (ostensibly to go through it to some other charity which the McManus charity could easily have donated to directly) came from a different compartment of Mr. McManus’s charity’s cash box? Money not after all being fungible? So no one is lying?

At the same time Mr. Clinton’s speaking engagement in Ireland was being arranged, Irish interests were pursuing Mrs. Clinton for two other opportunities: an official state visit in December 2012 and a women’s forum in 2014, after she left government.

The web of connections between the Clintons’ public and private interests was complicated throughout the Ireland conversations.

For instance, Ms. Abedin, Mrs. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, was arranging the December 2012 trip for the secretary to speak before the Ireland Fund on behalf of the State Department as part of an official trip. At the same time, though, she also was working for a private firm, Teneo Group, that was involved in the event, emails show.

The Women in Business in Northern Ireland group, seeking to get Mrs. Clinton to speak at a forum in 2014, was simultaneously talking with President Clinton’s foundation about getting more involved in its charitable work.

During those conversations, executives of the women’s business lobby asked a top official of Mr. Clinton’s foundation whether they could arrange to be invited to Mrs. Clinton’s December 2012 trip so they could “share our ambitions” with the secretary.

“Just wondering if you had any more information on the Clintons trip to Ireland,” one executive wrote the foundation. “We would really like to get involved at some level so your help here, if possible, would be great.”

The foundation’s solution? They forwarded the women’s group’s request to Ms. Abedin at the State Department.

The circular chain linked together the State Department, Mr. Clinton’s private charity and Mrs. Clinton’s future private speaking engagement.

Kent Cooper, a former federal election regulator and respected political ethics analyst, said the blurred lines between State and the foundation in the Clinton world validated the axiom that “there are many pockets in a politician’s coat to line”. 

“There are the official pockets, the political pockets, in this case the foundation’s pockets and then their own private pocketbooks, and you can see how special interests subtly work all of them with invitations, pressure and money to try to get what they want,” he said.

“There seem to have been no ethical boundaries or double checks on conflicts of interest between the activities of the secretary of state as a government official, the fundraising of a private foundation, the fees of a private consultant, and the personal income of a former government official, that being the former president.”

  • liz

    Don’t you just know that if any republican was caught doing this it would be the “scandal of the century”? The media would be all over it like flies.
    But of course the Clintons get a free pass. There are more important things to cover in the news, like all the horrible racist Islamophobic transphobic xenophobic consumerist climate denier white capitalist pigs out there!