For years, the foregone conclusion within the chattering political class has been that Hillary Clinton will be crowned the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.
But, in yet another ethical misstep, the Clinton political machine is having to answer for taking $1.6 billion into its foundation, with much of it coming from foreign governments, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as from a long list of corporations and politically motivated individuals seeking favor from America’s most powerful and ethically pliable political family. Of the seven donors who gave at least $25 million, four were foreign.
In essence, the Clinton foundation has become a Super PAC to advance her brand and political ambitions and to finance the couple’s lifestyle. It is a semi-legal way to shake down folks for money. One L.A. writer has noted that only a fraction of the funds collected by the foundation have gone to true charities.
The foundation has spent more than $50 million on “travel” for the Clintons—more than $12 million in 2011 alone. Taxpayers pay for their Secret Service protection, so you can imagine what our portion costs. As only Democrats can do with a straight face, the Clintons burn massive amounts of fuel in big private jets to go and lecture us on reducing carbon emissions. And who approved Bill’s big bucks speeches? Hillary’s State Department. Hmm. I guess the way they keep the spark in their relationship is by trying new and exciting things.
Most foundations result from the altruism of self-made entrepreneurs and are designed to give back, efficiently. If Hillary gave lots of money to a cause close to her heart, like buying pantsuits for starving Third World girls, we would understand.
Every foundation’s goals align with those of it founder. The Tiger Woods Foundation has done remarkable work for a cause close to his heart: teaching boys how to delete texts on their cellphones so mommy doesn’t see them. Maybe Bill and Tiger could work together to raise money for loose women they have adversely affected. Donations could go to their favorite charity (not a stripper named Charity). I’d suggest that Tiger and Slick Willie name their joint philanthropic effort “The Boys Will Be Boys Club.”
The Clinton Foundation is nothing more than a political operation disguised as charity. It is why President Obama had his IRS, via Lois Lerner, target Tea Party groups. They realize the power of political operations masquerading as foundations. You can do what you want with the money you collect, donors get a tax deduction, you are not subject to onerous election laws, and you get to point to your “great work” while touting yourself as a selfless philanthropist.
Republican presidential contenders like Jeb Bush, Rand Paul and Scott Walker get none of these benefits, creating a huge edge for their opponents. Imagine the advantage of having $1.6 billion flowing unfettered through your hands if you are, essentially, a politician.
Foundations like the Clintons’ are just an extension of what power dependent Democrats are good at: semi-extorting others for money under the pretense of doing some good. But both sides of the transaction know it is for political cover, access and to advance personal ambition.
Foundations can enhance a reputation. You can see why the Hilton Family Foundation gave a grant to Paris Hilton to change her name to “Days Inn.”
Hillary was awarded the Helen Keller Humanitarian Award—presumably for turning a blind eye to both Benghazi and to Bill’s shenanigans.
She does well managing Obama’s missteps with Israel while advancing her own agenda. In every meeting with Israelis leaders, she has reminded them that three of Bill’s four most recent girlfriends were Jewish.
Democrats will find it hard to play the “Republican War on Women” ruse, given Bill Clinton’s history with blaming the women who accused him of sexual advances. And a Hillary who paid her female staff 38 percent less than the male staffers, and who gladly takes money from Arab governments without ever confronting them on the treatment of women in their countries, has no credibility on the issue. In many Arab countries, the American movie “Thelma and Louise” is only 15 minutes long because all the scenes showing women driving had to be edited out.
The Clinton foundation—like French, Italian and Clinton marriages—works better for them if you don’t ask too many questions.
Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit RonaldHart.com