- Clintons and Swiss Bank UBS machinations — referred to as sordid by leftist publication
- Over half of audiences with SOS Hillary were Clinton Foundation donors
- Dick Morris describes known facts “as smoking as a gun comes”
- Imagine the media coverage if a powerful Republican had such a “coincidental” track record of “pay for access”
From Ernest Canning at The Hill The Clintons and the sordid UBS affair
The story, as originally recounted by James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus of The Wall Street Journal, was, of itself, deeply troubling. In March 2009, after meeting with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intervened with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on behalf of Switzerland’s most powerful banking institution, UBS. The IRS, which at that time was seeking the identity of wealthy Americans who had stashed some $20 billion in 52,000 tax evading UBS accounts, then agreed that the Swiss bank need only turn over information on 4,450 accounts. Afterwards, UBS increased its previous $60,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation ten-fold. By the end of 2014, UBS donations to the Clinton Foundation totaled $600,000. UBS also “paid former President Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS Wealth Management Chief Executive Bob McCann, making UBS his biggest single corporate source of speech income disclosed since he left the White House.”
There can be little doubt that a media firestorm would ensue if a former president were to accept a lucrative speaking fee from the Mafia. Should the reaction be any different when the speaking fee comes from “banksters” who defrauded the U.S. government?
At the leftist publication The Daily Kos, editors allowed the same title and characterization to the report written by “riotape” on its pages: The Clintons and the sordid UBS affair. The report quoted The Hill article as above and threw in a few more, including this from The Atlantic:
Maybe it’s all a mere coincidence, and when UBS agreed to pay Bill Clinton $1.5 million the relevant decision-maker wasn’t even aware of the vast sum his wife may have saved the bank or the power that she will potentially wield after the 2016 presidential election.
But even that wouldn’t make accepting the $1.5 million excusable.
But this campaign flak cannot possibly know––or expect us to take on faith––that Clinton was not at all influenced by knowledge that acting to benefit the bank could mean seven figures for her family and more for their foundation, whereas advocating against the bank would more than likely eliminate the chance of either. Any normal person would be influenced, if only in spite of themselves, unless they resolved from the beginning that having made a decision in government that directly affected a corporation, they’d never take money from it later even if it offered. It is a discredit to Bill and Hillary Clinton that they behave as if they believe otherwise.
Jim Geraghty at National Review asks: Is it normal for foreign governments to underwrite a candidate’s charity?
But the Foundation’s commitment to women’s rights is odd, when you consider some of its biggest donors: From 2001 to 2014, Qatar gave between $1 million and $5 million, Kuwait gave between $5 million and $10 million, and Saudi Arabia gave between $10 million and $25 million. These governments are not exactly known for their equitable treatment of women. If they wanted to promote women’s rights, changing their own laws would do far more than their millions in donations ever will. And yet, something made them decide that donating to the Clinton Foundation was most worthwhile. Why is it unreasonable to suspect that these countries thought they were ingratiating themselves with a secretary of state who stood a good chance of becoming president in the near future?
Associated Press reported more than half of Clinton’s meetings with private individuals were with donors to the Foundation.
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.
The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.
Editor Ben Mathis-Lilley at typically Clinton sycophantic Slate allowed that the frequency as reported by AP was “not flattering for Hillary”, and that:
Meanwhile, it’s already known that some of the entities that donated to the Clinton Foundation also paid the Clintons individually for giving speeches, which blurs the public service/private business line even further. As has become the norm with Hillary’s State Department activities, nothing here is a “quit the presidential race”-level scandal—but neither does any of it give one a great deal of confidence in her integrity.
Dick Morris voiced a podcast that condenses some of the revelations above characterizing them as “as smoking as a gun comes.” See his comments at The True Dimensions of Hillary’s Corruption Emerge.
The left is ever so sanctimonious about large donors having inordinate influence in matters of government. Kyle Sammin writing at The Federalist in his article The Clinton Foundation Was Designed For Two-Way Bribery opines that:
The potential for harm is monumental and unprecedented. All of the money flowing into the foundation, even if those donations are restricted to those by individual American citizens, would create the appearance of corruption, if not corruption itself. This was the logic the Supreme Court used to justify limits on campaign donations by individuals in the 1976 case of Buckley v. Valeo.
The theory behind that case, beloved on the Left for its limitation of First Amendment principles, surely applies to the Clintons and their foundation. The money may not go directly into the pockets of Hillary’s pantsuits, but in donating to a corporation founded by the Clintons, named after the Clintons, and staffed by the Clintons’ longtime friends, every donor knows he is effectively doing the same thing. For the purpose of political influence, the Clintons and their foundation are one and the same.
Getting back to Daily Kos contributor riottapes, referred to above, he concluded his article with the pertinent question:
how many examples of this do you actually need to see, before you stop thinking it’s all just happy coincidences…? And if Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio was doing this sort of thing, would you HONESTLY just assume it was all innocent?