The Questions Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Want Answered About the Clinton Foundation

I don’t know what’s in Peter Schweizer’s book. But I know what the Clintons are capable of.

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 14: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak to guests at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on June 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The CGI was established in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton with the intention of convening world leaders to address pressing global issues. 
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Ron Fournier
April 22, 2015, 6:40 a.m.

Gen­nifer Flowers. Cattle fu­tures. The White House travel of­fice. Rose Law Firm files. The Lin­coln Bed­room. Mon­ica Lew­in­sky. And now, the Clin­ton Found­a­tion. What ties these stor­ies to­geth­er is the pre­dict­able, paint-by-num­bers re­sponse from the Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton polit­ic­al op­er­a­tion.

1. Deny: Sa­li­ent ques­tions are dodged, and evid­ence goes miss­ing. The stone wall is built.

2. De­flect: Blame is shif­ted, usu­ally to Re­pub­lic­ans and the me­dia.

3. De­mean: People who ques­tion or cri­ti­cize the Clin­tons get tarred as right-wing ex­trem­ists, hacks, nuts, or sluts.

(RE­LATED: What Hap­pens When the Train­ing Wheels Come Off Hil­lary Clin­ton’s Cam­paign?)

The Bill, Hil­lary & Chelsea Clin­ton Found­a­tion is both an ad­mir­able char­ity and a shad­ow polit­ic­al op­er­a­tion awash in con­flicts of in­terest—a re­flec­tion of the power couple who foun­ded it. Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton, like his­tory’s most en­dur­ing char­ac­ters, seem to stride through pub­lic life with an an­gel on one shoulder and a dev­il on the oth­er.

The seedy side of the found­a­tion is a le­git­im­ate cam­paign is­sue. While the Clin­tons de­serve cred­it for mak­ing found­a­tion dona­tions largely trans­par­ent, oth­er activ­it­ies raise ser­i­ous ques­tions. They vi­ol­ated an eth­ics agree­ment with the Obama White House. Hil­lary Clin­ton de­leted most emails she sent and re­ceived as sec­ret­ary of State, in­clud­ing any con­cern­ing the found­a­tion or its donors.

What did donors ex­pect from the Clin­tons? Did they re­ceive fa­vors in re­turn? Why did the Clin­tons do busi­ness with coun­tries that fin­ance ter­ror­ism and sup­press the rights of wo­men? Did fam­ily and friends be­ne­fit from their ties to the found­a­tion? And, in a broad­er sense, what do the op­er­a­tions of the found­a­tion say about Hil­lary Clin­ton’s man­age­ment abil­ity and eth­ic­al ground­ing?

These ques­tions are re­portedly ex­plored by con­ser­vat­ive au­thor Peter Sch­weizer in a soon-to-be-pub­lished book, Clin­ton Cash: The Un­told Story of How and Why For­eign Gov­ern­ments and Busi­nesses Helped Make Bill and Hil­lary Rich. I say “re­portedly” be­cause I haven’t read the book; I have no idea wheth­er Sch­weizer re­veals any wrong­do­ing or rel­ev­ant in­form­a­tion. Sched­uled for pub­lic­a­tion May 5, its con­tents are un­known.

(RE­LATED: Ex­plain­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton’s Trip to the Health Policy Twi­light Zone)

That hasn’t stopped the Clin­tons from deny­ing, de­flect­ing, and de­mean­ing.

“[I’ll be] sub­jec­ted to all kinds of dis­trac­tions and at­tacks, and I’m ready for that,” Hil­lary Clin­ton said when asked about the book while cam­paign­ing for the pres­id­ency in New Hamp­shire. “I know that comes, un­for­tu­nately, with the ter­rit­ory.”

Clev­er how she casts her­self as the vic­tim of a book she hasn’t read and of ques­tions she has yet to an­swer. The Clin­ton cam­paign cir­cu­lated a memo to its sup­port­ers Tues­day night with talk­ing points on the book. Ac­cord­ing to Politico:

In the memo, [Bri­an] Fal­lon links to a series of crit­ic­al re­ports on Sch­weizer and the book, in­clud­ing one Think­Pro­gress post not­ing that one of Sch­weizer’s sources is a TD Bank press re­lease that was re­vealed to be fake in 2013. Fal­lon also de­tails how Sch­weizer has spoken with Re­pub­lic­ans—but ap­par­ently not Demo­crats—about the find­ings pri­or to the pub­lic­a­tion date.

The memo quotes a re­port by Me­dia Mat­ters For Amer­ica, the lib­er­al watch­dog foun­ded by Clin­ton ally Dav­id Brock, that says Sch­weizer’s Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity In­sti­tute has “close ties to a bil­lion­aire fam­ily fund­ing Sen. Ted Cruz’s pres­id­en­tial run. GAI has also re­ceived sub­stan­tial sup­port from groups backed by Charles and Dav­id Koch,” the liber­tari­an bil­lion­aire broth­ers.

Lib­er­al groups like Me­dia Mat­ters and Cor­rect The Re­cord—a sub­si­di­ary of Amer­ic­an Bridge, also foun­ded by Brock—have served as a rap­id re­sponse unit against the book, dig­ging in­to the au­thor’s re­cord and the book’s al­leged find­ings.

The is­sue isn’t Hil­lary Clin­ton and her eth­ic­al short­cuts, Fal­lon in­tim­ates, it’s Sch­weizer. The memo doesn’t point to Clin­ton’s de­tailed de­fense of the found­a­tion’s fun­drais­ing pro­cess, be­cause she has nev­er giv­en one. It doesn’t ex­plain why it’s prop­er for a sit­ting sec­ret­ary of State and pres­id­en­tial hope­ful to ac­cept for­eign dona­tions, be­cause she has nev­er offered an ex­plan­a­tion. It doesn’t de­tail the profits se­cured by her broth­er and oth­er in­tim­ates via the found­a­tion, be­cause Clin­ton has nev­er owned up to them. It doesn’t jus­ti­fy the huge per­son­al and ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­penses charged to the char­ity, be­cause Clin­ton has offered none.

(RE­LATED: Crack­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton’s En­ergy Code)

Fi­nally, the memo doesn’t say wheth­er Clin­ton’s de­leted emails in­volved fa­vors for found­a­tion donors, be­cause—well, we may nev­er know.

“The book re­lies on dis­tor­tions of widely avail­able data that the Clin­ton Found­a­tion already makes pub­lic on its own,” Fal­lon writes. “The au­thor at­tempts to re­pack­age and twist these pre­vi­ously known facts in­to ab­surd con­spir­acy the­or­ies.”

Who is re­pack­aging and twist­ing facts in­to ab­surd con­spir­acy the­or­ies? I can’t say that about Sch­weitzer; I haven’t read his book. But I do know what the Clin­tons are cap­able of.


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