The controversy over the connection between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation continues to hound her as she runs for president.
E-mails surfaced this month indicating some donors to the foundation asked for — and were granted — meetings with Secretary Clinton.
There’s been no evidence, so far, to support the “pay for play” charge. Clinton dismissed the criticism, telling CNN “there’s a lot of smoke and no fire.”
An open letter on the foundation’s website from former president Bill Clinton outlines steps that would be taken to limit donations and separate himself and his wife from the foundation if Mrs. Clinton wins the election.
Large donors usually have loud voices when it comes to political campaigns. Is this corrupt practice or politics as usual?
The Real Clinton Foundation Revelation
Richard W. Painter – The New York Times
When I was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, I asked many prospective administration officials if they would sell stock in companies, give up stock options, step down from nonprofit boards or make other painful choices to enter public service…
I know about the difficult questions, and entanglements, that crop up in public service….There is little if any evidence that federal ethics laws were broken by Mrs. Clinton or anyone working for her at the State Department in their dealings with the foundation.
This is not the typical foundation funded by family wealth earned by an industrialist or financier. This foundation was funded almost entirely by donors…This dependence on donations — a scenario remarkably similar to that of many political campaigns — means that the motivations of every single donor will be questioned whenever a President Clinton does anything that could conceivably benefit such donors.
Mothball the Clinton Foundation
Editorial Board – USA Today
[F]ormer president Bill Clinton belatedly announced plans to tighten the ethical safeguards for the Clinton Foundation, the family charity, to eliminate “legitimate concerns about potential conflicts of interest.” The plans range from the laughable to the laudable, and they are woefully incomplete….
Yes, the Clinton Foundation supports many good works, notably the fight against HIV/AIDS. No, it is not “the most corrupt enterprise in political history,” as Donald Trump is calling it, nor is there enough evidence of potential criminality to warrant appointment of the special prosecutor Trump is seeking.
But the only way to eliminate the odor surrounding the foundation is to wind it down and put it in mothballs, starting today, and transfer its important charitable work to another large American charity…
Don’t Close the Clinton Foundation
Robert Kelty – Boston Globe
I was in India at the time, working for the Gere Foundation India Trust on an HIV/AIDS prevention and anti-stigma campaign. The Clinton Foundation, then just a few years old, announced it was partnering with the Indian National AIDS Control Organization to help train 150,000 doctors and healthcare professionals to support modernized HIV/AIDS treatment. I, along with many of my colleagues who were implementing HIV/AIDS programs, did not believe that the Clinton Foundation could achieve such a lofty objective. When the initiative was launched, people living with HIV were so stigmatized that their civil rights were violated. The idea that Bill Clinton could persuade the Indian government to mobilize 150,000 healthcare professionals in this climate seemed highly unlikely.
But I was wrong: the foundation and the Indian National AIDS Control Organization reached and then surpassed their goal — and then the foundation went on to establish a successful pediatric HIV/AIDS initiative….
If the Clinton Foundation can be forced to shut its doors, what are the chances that future presidents and public figures will put their reputations on the line to be forces for good in the world? How much social and financial capital will remain on the sidelines out of fear of motives being questioned?
One Thing Is Certain in the Clinton Foundation Scandal: Hillary Didn’t Avoid the ‘Appearance’of Conflict
Doyle McManus – Los Angeles Times
[A]s with Hillary Clinton’s ongoing email controversy, the foundation stories are still troubling, because they reflect a stubborn unwillingness by the Democratic nominee to listen to her critics – feeding the widespread suspicion among voters that she’s not trustworthy….
Granted, there’s no evidence that any Clinton Foundation donors got tangible favors in exchange for their generosity. Clinton may have been close to the mark when she said last week, “I know there’s a lot of smoke, and there’s no fire.”
But that’s still a problem. A good synonym for “smoke” in this context is “appearance” – exactly what Clinton promised to avoid.
Hillary Clinton’s Reaction to Her Foundation Scandal Is Disastrous
Elise Jordan – Time
Even though in theory I know the Clinton Foundation does good work, it’s impossible not to question appearances. Contrast the image of former President Jimmy Carter wielding a hammer for Habitat for Humanity in the rural South with Bill Clinton jet-setting about Africa on a do-gooder field trip for rich people.
It comes down to Clinton’s judgment, and the culture she and the former President create. Even if you give Clinton the benefit of the doubt that her staff acted on her behalf trading access in a way that’s technically above board, she created the culture that encouraged the behavior. As Secretary of State, she did not clip her husband’s wings, a scary precedent that promises Bill Clinton would be a distraction for her entire presidency. The unseemly overlap of the Clinton Foundation with her official role as our nation’s lead diplomat shows she cannot keep her worlds separate and disconnected.
Clinton Met With Donors – So What?
Jonathan Allen – Roll Call
Slap the handcuffs on. Lock Hillary Clinton up without trial! Maybe, as one Donald Trump ally suggested, just summarily execute her for treason.
What’s the charge? She had … (cover the children’s ears) … meetings! And some of them — fewer than two a month — were with Clinton Foundation donors.
There are private meetings between donors and officeholders? Right here in #ThisTown city? Someone tell members of Congress! They’ll want to act immediately to ban — er, take advantage of — this egregious system of pay for play.
Oh wait, they already do. They all meet with donors. That’s how they get their money.