December 31, 2015

"At Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing for secretary of state, she promised she would take 'extraordinary steps…to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.'"

"Later, more than two dozen companies and groups and one foreign government paid former President Bill Clinton a total of more than $8 million to give speeches around the time they also had matters before Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Fifteen of them also donated a total of between $5 million and $15 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the family’s charity, according to foundation disclosures. In several instances, State Department actions benefited those that paid Mr. Clinton. The Journal found no evidence that speaking fees were paid to the former president in exchange for any action by Mrs. Clinton, now the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination...."

Google some of the text if you need a nonsubscriber link for "Speaking Fees Meet Politics for Clintons/Former president spoke to groups with issues before State Department," by James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus.

50 comments:

Phil 3:14 said...

Where there's smoke...

The Drill SGT said...

The Clinton Family = Organized crime

Needs a RICO case built against it

Gahrie said...

She did take extraordinary steps to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest...that's what the personal e-mail server was all about.

Now as to actual conflicts of interest...what can I say, we fucked up, we trusted her.

I just can't believe that some of you haven't learned the lesson yet.

How the hell is this women a candidate for president, and not in prison?

Gahrie said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEMUsC8ppU0

Skeptical Voter said...

There are going to be a lot of Claude Rains moments where Hillary is concerned.

I've gotten over being "shocked" to learn of her duplicity.

Hagar said...

Influence peddling is what the Clintons' have been about ever since graduation from their respective colleges.

Michael McClain said...

Is she truly the best the DemCong can provide?

Michael K said...

She is the most corrupt person to get this close to the US presidency since Aaron Burr.

traditionalguy said...

As a famous word smith said, " She lies her head off. She lies all of the time."

The Clinton Crime Family offers her for election for that very talent. That is what she did for her Wall Street donors. That is what she is paid to do. She did it for Bill and will do it for every other man who will pay for her services.

David Begley said...

"he Journal found no evidence ...."

But all those millions weren't paid to hear a really great speech or to save the world. The money was paid for influence. The money was paid for good reasons. The money was paid in exchange for value. The money was a bribe.

The Clintons are criminals.

If Hillary wins, she will be unbound. She can never be impeached or indicted. Queen.

Hillary Clinton must be defeated. Carthage must be destroyed.

Ann Althouse said...

"in exchange for" is a precise expression.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Am I wrong or is Citizens United supposed to be bad because it allows for the appearance of conflicts of interest? I mean, the politicians who hate CU (like Mrs. Clinton) never say THEY would be swayed by large $ donations, since THEY are so ethical and pure, but they argue that 1.)the other party will be bought (more so than they are now) and 2.)it creates the appearance of a conflict of interest even for our side.

So either Mrs. Clinton's outrage at this alleged bad effect of CU is phony and should be called out as such, or she'll have to drop that objection to CU, right?

Michael K said...

"in exchange for" is a precise expression."

Politicians say it is for "access." They know that access is also a precise expression. That way they can deny selling their votes.

Hillary can deny selling out the people who vote for her to the people who pay her.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said..."in exchange for" is a precise expression.

It is, but I don't think anyone can really argue that an exchange didn't take place. The semantic argument will be over what "value" means (in David Begley's construction). The Foundation will argue that the value they gave was the ability for the donor to do a great amount of good, etc. People who think these were influence-buying will argue that the value was a basket of things/goods that included greater access to the Clintons, increased name recognition/prominence in those circles, and more influence over those people in power.

An intentional exchange definitely took place (even if yous say the Foundation only accepted the payments, they had the ability to NOT accept them [as they have presumably done with some donations] so just granting their acceptance of the donation is a type of consideration) so I think the argument has to be over what the quo really was.

traditionalguy said...

Madoff was also paid to tell rich people lies they wanted to hear about free insider money. If he got jail time for his lies, then the Clinton Duo will serve life in prison.

David Begley said...

AA

And "no evidence was found" is a precise legal phrase meaning that the Clintons haven't been convicted because the police and prosecutor - with the full force of law behind the government - have never even investigated them.

What does Bruce Lindsey do at the Foundation? I submit his job is to make sure that no evidence is found.

People aren't idiots. They don't pay millions for nothing.

Hagar said...

For the Clintons, the influence peddling is not incidental to their politics; it is the politics that is incidental to their influence peddling.

It always was a conscious career path.

Qwinn said...

Falsely convicted Republican Ted Stevens could not be reached for precise expression.

damikesc said...

The Journal found no evidence that speaking fees were paid to the former president in exchange for any action by Mrs. Clinton, now the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination....

You mean no contract exists saying "you pay this and you will get this benefit from the Sec of State illegally"? I'm stunned.

Know who else had no proof that a payment wasn't going to lead to benefits. Duke Cunningham's bribed Congresspeople.

Has there ever been a bribe in history where direct evidence existed of the payment and the perk?

Pookie Number 2 said...

It will interesting to see how many Democrats put country over party and refuse to vote for this loathsomeness.

jacksonjay said...

No one can study the details of the $750K that Ericson paid Bill in 2012

and the related sanctions exemption for Iran and believe that it was above board. Bubba made the speech during the Obama review of the sanctions and Obama announced the sanctions a week after the speech. Coincidence I'm sure.

I hear Al Capone was a tax cheat.

tim maguire said...

The Journal found no evidence that speaking fees were paid to the former president in exchange for any action by Mrs. Clinton

And what might this "evidence" look like? Of course there are no smoking gun "quid prop quo" emails. I would think paying $250,000 for an hour of Bill Clinton's time while business was pending before Hillary Clinton would be enough to shift the burden of proof.

Terry said...

"The Journal found no evidence that speaking fees were paid to the former president in exchange for any action by Mrs. Clinton"
Sounds like the newspaper fell for one of the Clinton's favorite tactics -- insist that because no laws can be proved to have been broken, what they said was not a lie.

Terry said...

The WSJ could just as honestly have written:
The Journal found that evidence suggests that speaking fees were paid to the former president in exchange for actions by Mrs. Clinton, now the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination...."

Sebastian said...

""in exchange for" is a precise expression." True but funny. And precisely useful to avoid the "how Hillary! lost me" post and to justify other lawyerly rationalizations by Dems voting for crooks and rapists in the WH.

Drago said...

"At Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing for secretary of state, she promised she would take 'extraordinary steps…to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.'"

What Hillary meant was only that the media, by and large, would do everything in their power to ensure that nothing Hillary ever did in any role, whatsoever, would ever be presented to the public as a conflict of interest.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann Althouse said..."in exchange for" is a precise expression." It is, but I don't think anyone can really argue that an exchange didn't take place."

It depends on what the meaning of "in exchange for."

The tight definition is tit for tat. There's no showing, I take it, that Hillary ever got into anything close to saying she would do a particular thing if X amount of money were paid to her husband ostensibly for going out somewhere and giving a speech. An "exchange": this for that.

It's done more subtly if it's done of course. These people are not idiots.

Ann Althouse said...

"At Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing for secretary of state, she promised she would take 'extraordinary steps…to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.'"

Just take out the word "even."

Qwinn said...

I'm sure there was a showing of tit for tat. It's just that it would all have been on that hidden email server that totally doesn't matter at all except to those paranoid right wingers *nudge nudge wink wink*

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said... An "exchange": this for that.

We may be talking past each other, Professor. What I mean to assert is that the transaction in which some donor gives a donation to the Foundation is an exchange in the sense that they give something and they get something (which is, of course, a "this for that"). The "that" might be just the knowledge that their contribution will help others, or a note in the Foundation's newsletter, or the goodwill or charitable feeling they get from donating, but they definitely get SOMETHING for giving money to the Foundation, and that's an exchange.

The argument, then, is not whether "an exchange" took place, but rather whether the "that" involved things like increased access, specific influence, and so on--unethical or illegal things, in other words.

The donor will say "I gave money and got a better world."
The critic will say "you gave money and bought influence."
Both agree an exchange occurred.

damikesc said...

The tight definition is tit for tat. There's no showing, I take it, that Hillary ever got into anything close to saying she would do a particular thing if X amount of money were paid to her husband ostensibly for going out somewhere and giving a speech. An "exchange": this for that.

It all boils down to former VA Gov McConnell. What, exactly, did he do that was different than what Hillary did, except in terms of scale?

She's the Secretary of State. She was SUPPOSED to hold herself to a higher standard.

And there are people who believe she won't do the exact same shit if she wins the Presidency. Hell, she'll do worse. And her sycophants will keep defending it while discussing how corrupt Republicans are.

mikee said...

As I recall, Bill Clinton accepted a leadership role in the Haiti recovery effort.

How's that going?

I, for one, look forward to Hillary's presidency, when the Clintons can do for America what they and their charitable foundation have done for Haiti!

SteveR said...

The subtle "wink wink" "nod nod" communication may not reveal a tit for tat, but.....

Gahrie said...

These people are not idiots.

No, but the democratic base is, which means Hillary will win the nomination, and has an obscene chance of winning the presidency.

David Begley said...

Mikee

The Hati deal benefited Digicell; a UK cell phone company. Digicell paid bribes to the Clintons.

All in the book "Clinton Cash."

Saint Croix said...

People have forgotten that in 2006, ABC spent $40 million dollars on a mini-series called The Path to 9/11. It was an attempt to document the years prior to 9/11, and how we ignored Osama bin Laden for so long.

The Clintons were upset about this documentary and sought to have it destroyed. And so they called the CEO of Disney, Bob Iger, and got the film sabotaged. It was drastically re-edited. To this day Disney refuses to release the DVD, calling this a "business decision."

What threats did Bill Clinton, the ex-President, have to hang over Iger's head? Nothing. A former President has very little power or threat to call up a studio head and get them to kill a documentary. But Hillary, already planning to run for President in 2008, had a very credible threat to make to ABC. Kill this movie or else!

And so ABC took the bullet and burned $40 million dollars to please the woman who (they thought) would be our next President.

More here.

Meade said...

Drag hundreds of thousands of dollars of speaker fees through lobbyist gatherings, you never know what you'll find.

Saint Croix said...

More in the Los Angeles Times

Oliver Stone: "This is a shame; it's censorship in the most blatant way."

R. Duke said...

This is why Trump is winning. He stated it plainly: "I gave money to all of them." So when he needed them later, they would take his calls. There's never a clear quid or quo. But it's pay to play. If you are willing to see it, it is obvious. Does anyone doubt that Obama will have a "foundation" up and running within a year of leaving office?

JAORE said...

"in exchange for" is a precise expression."

Apparently so is "is".

Sammy Finkelman said...

The Drill SGT said...

The Clinton Family = Organized crime

In ways you may not realize.

The political boss of Hot Springs, Arkansas, when Bill Clinton was growing up there, was literally (according to Jimmy Breslin, if I read him right) the founder of organized crime in America, Owen Vincent "Owney the Killer" Madden (1892-1965) who had put it together in meetings circa 1928-1931. Meyer Lansky and Joe Bonnano were among the co-founders.

Bill Clinton's step-uncle, who gave him his first job (selling used cars - clunkers that they fixed up) Buick dealer Raymond Clinton, was one of the insiders in the Hot Springs political machine during its second run in power. They used to meet at his auto dealership. Raymond owned illegal slot machines scattered over town.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The Godfather, Part I:

http://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/31/magazine/the-president-s-past.html?pagewanted=all

Clinton's career began while he still a student at Hot Springs High School, where he was president of his junior class, the Beta Club (for academic achievers) and the Kiwanis Key Club. By his late teens, Clinton was already a semi-professional politician, so greatly in demand as a civics club speaker and leader of charitable fund drives that his high-school principal had to limit his engagements in order to protect his schooling.

- Article by Michael Kelly in the New York Times Magazine of July 31, 1994, page 25.

Now that might not seem like too much to you.

But now read this:

In his later years, he was a big contributor to charities, particularly for young people.

- Associated Press obituary of Hot Springs Arkansas resident, "retired"
gangster Owen Vincent (Owney the Killer) Madden's in the Saturday, April 24, 1965 New York Times.

(I don't know if you need to be asubscriber to see this)

http://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1965/04/24/97194668.html?pageNumber=1

Go to the continuation on page 16 and then page up the 5th compelte paragraph there on page 16 - this is right before it proceeds to give a more complete biography.

Now note:

Bill Clinton was a « leader of charitable fund drives »

Putting two and two together, what does this mean?

It means that Bill Clinton was raising money from Vincent Owen (Owney the Killer) Madden!!

Madden was promoting him.

He probably arranged to get that film of Bill Clinton shaking the president's hand.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Michael K said...

She is the most corrupt person to get this close to the US presidency since Aaron Burr. Bill Clinton.

Fixed that for you.

Sammy Finkelman said...

In the summer of 1993, Bill Clinton determined to take control of all investigations of himself.

He did this by putting them into the hands of a lawyer whom he could trust: Robert B. Fiske, Jr. Fiske came well recommended: He had successfully fended off Rudolph Giuliani in his investigation of Goldman and Sachs by getting Robert Freeman to plead guilty to a fictitious charge, which Fiske had made up, that could not need lead to anyone higher up, namely to Robert E. Rubin.

Bill Clinton arranged for Janet Reno to appoint what she called a special prosecutor, but wasn’t one legally. Janet Reno’s loyalty to Bill Clinton had been disguised by making it look like she was his third choice and taht she virtually forced on him by his determination to name a woman.

Then, some time after Fiske's apointment she called for a real special prosecutor to be named, in the expectation that the 3 federal judges would ratify the choice of alreday appointed Robert B. Fiske, Jr.

But they picked Kenneth Starr, instead.

Janet Reno, however, had put Fiske of the Foster case, though, before, and so it remained.

Clinton was still able to manipulate Kenneth Starr’s investigation, except for the case involving Monica Lewinsky, which started too suddenly. I believe that Clinton was kept apprised of everything Starr was doing by a secret informant – Samuel Dash.

In Bill Clintons' own grand jury testimony he almost revealed he knew what Monica Lewisnky had given as the definition of sex – he wasnot supposed to know that. He was about to cite it, but then he caught himself.

I don’t know who, if anyone else, spotted this when he almost gave away that he had access to Monica Lewinsky’s testimony, but if you examine his grand jury testimony, you can find it. Clinton catches himself maybe just in time


Sammy Finkelman said...

There's no showing, I take it, that Hillary ever got into anything close to saying she would do a particular thing if X amount of money were paid to her husband ostensibly for going out somewhere and giving a speech. An "exchange": this for that.

Although there was probably something at least close to tit for tat in New York State, that's not what former Democratic New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Republican Senate Majoroty Leader Dean Skelos were convicted of.

[Note: through the miracle of gerrymandering, the New York State Assembly has been Democrat and the State Senate Republican for over 40 years, in spite of both having to be apportioned by population and New York States's overwhelming Democratic registration. The Assembly is close to 2/3 Democrat and the State Senate, which is smaller, and where you can have a number of special cases, Republican by slightly more than a bare majority. They did lose it for a time in 2009]

Neither was convicted of pushing for or stopping legislation, although that's probably the reason some people wanted to get close to them. In Sheldon Silver's case, Weitz and Luxemboureg surely wanted to stop tort reform, or anything that would undermine the asbestos gravy train. Real estate developers have their own special interests.

Nor were campaign funds involved.

Both were convicted of getting money in their own, or a family members pockets.

Sammy Finkelman said...

These are the essentials I think of what they were convicted of:

1) Sheldon Silver had virtually forced a real estate company to hire a law firm that specialized in reducingproperty tax assessments.

He had first recommended it. Unbeknownst to the company, he had a secret partnership in the law firm, which was run by a childhood friend of his. When the company found out, they wanted to cut ties because, unlike a campaign contribution, this could look too much like a bribe.

The company, however, felt compelled to keep them on for vague reasons. Sheldon Silver had somebody sign some papers that they knew. It is all a little complicated. Sheldon Silver also kept this law firm;s name off finanical disclosure forms.

This same real estate firm was one of a number of companies that felt compelled to hire Adam Skelos, the law of the Senate Majority leader, in a basically make work job, and was afraid to fire him even when he didn't show up. That's what Skelos was convicted of. Dean Skelos wasn't getting any money - but his son, who couldn't anything like the kind of money he wanted, was. There was no specific tit for tat alleged.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Sheldon Silver also made a lot of money - millions - in another way.

What he did that he was convicted of was essentially misappropriating state money. Not a great amount, but as the judge said, $1,000 is also a bribe. It was about $500,000.

This is the story:

It was known for years that Sheldon Silver was a partner in Weitz and Luxemborg. This was thought to be a conflict of interest by many - after all Silver was stopping tort reform. They asked who he represented, and he used to say small people.

The real story was this:

Law firms pay lawyers who bring in cases referral fees. They also, in the asbestos litigation, used to give money to the doctors who bring in patients. Technically, that was for research. Of course the big lie here is that people got mesothelioma from exposure to asbesos and nothing else, and also the sources of the asbestos.

Even former Long Island Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, whose lung cancer is probably associated with smoking, has sued alleging asbestos exposure. She may actually even believe it to be true.

Weitz and Luxembourg, however, did not want to pay money to doctors. They felt this would undermine the tetsimony of the doctors, and besides they were trying to get patents through TV advertising. (they didn't take every patient referred to, by the way, because I assume that sometimes they could find no nexus to asbestos)

Sheldon Silver was acquainted, through a friend or two, with a mesothelioma doctor and when he found out that the doctor did not want to refer patients to his law firm, he arranged to get the doctor some money himself - but cautioned everyone not to tell Weitz and Luxembourg.

Sheldon Silver got one-third of the law firm's earnings in cases he brought in and that came to $3 million, so he could have funded it all from his own pocket!! Maybe you could make a case that violated some law, but then there would have been no "Honest services fraud"

Sheldon Silver had de facto control of a state fund for 9/11 health research. I don't exactly why, but I suppose teh rationale was partly because he was Speaker and partly because he reprsented Lower Manhattan.

So he gave $250,000 two times to this doctor, on the premise that this had something to do with 9/11. But nothing was done to see that any of this research related to 9/11, nor did Sheldon Silver express any interest in the results..

(The argument for it, of course, is that many people working on the cleanup the first half year did not wear masks. They didn't want to and they breathed in bad air, and one of the components was asbestos)

In one of the stabs at reform that went on from time to time, Sheldon silver llost the ability to disburse money from this fund and he gave the doctor no more grants. The doctor then cut down on the number of referrals to Sheldon Silver's law firm. He didn't eliminate them entirely, because he still wanted to keep in his good graces. He made many referrals to another firm, which did kick him back money.

When Sheldon Silver met him one day and asked him why the number of referrals had gone down, the doctor explained that another firm was giving him money. Sheldron Silver indicated that he would see what he coiuld do for the doctir and he did get him in a number of minor ways. He arranged for him to be honored by New York State, helped get his son a job, and even offered to help him navigate red tape in organizing a mesothelioma run near the World Trade Center site. He did what he could to keep the money rolling in.

Sammy Finkelman said...

All of the clues that could have led to anyone even getting interested in this were hidden until Governor Cuomo II appointed a Moreland commission. He only wanted it however to negotiate with the legislature, and when he got enough ethics reforms, he abolished it. Maybe he wanted to take them down easy, without putting anyone in jail, and withut facing rataliation.

There were accusations that there could be a coverup so everything ws turned over to district attorneys. the Albany DA of course would do nothing but Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, also got the data and determined to push for things.

Now it would be very interesting to see if he also goes after Hillary Clinton!

If this needs the same preconditions as was needed for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, then you would need something where - not her campaign, not her foundation, but Hillary and Bill Clinton thenmselves got money. Well tat checks out. It doesn't matter if Bill got money because of somethng Hillary ddi or vice versa, because Dean Skelos was convicted of forcing companes to hire his son.

The second element is either:

A) extortion - forcing some people to give money or do sdomething. That was only found out by testimony from the company, which they usually gave only under immunity and because itit otherewise might look like a bribe on their part. It also helps to have woiretaps confirming that.

B) Some decision favorable to whoever gave money, that can only be explained corruptly. That is usually easiest to do with the expenditure of money.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Sheldon Silver did a number of things that maybe weren't illegal that don;'t come off so well. I remember reading a few things in particular.

1) He used to maximize his frequent flyer miles by taking long detours on trips, (we are talking of trips were paid for by the state.)

2) He used to give a small campaign contribution to the re-election campaign of Manhattan District Attrney Robert Morgenthau. The reason, he explained once to someone, was that that way he would find out if he was under invesigation.

A target of an investigation isn't necessarily told at an early stage, but if he gives a campaign contribution, the district atttorey wuld probably feel compelled to refuse it!!

3) He covered up for other members of the Assembly, and for staff, even a rape or two, often by settling lawsuits with state money, which he contrived to hide as best he could.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/silver-fire-keeping-collins-payroll-article-1.1409367

Sammy Finkelman said...

I meant to say

a number of companies ...felt compelled to hire Adam Skelos, the son of the Senate Majority leader, in a basically make work job, and [were] afraid to fire him even when he didn't show up. That's what Skelos was convicted of.

Dean Skelos wasn't getting any money - but his son, who couldn't anything like the kind of money he wanted, was. There was no specific tit for tat alleged.


You don't end corruption by saying office hlders can't hold otehr jobs or get extra income.