May 4, 2015

"I have one very specific reason I have a relationship with Bill Clinton: I admire what he does, and I want to be part of it."

"But I’ve never asked him for a damn thing," said Frank Giustra, who has given the Clinton Foundation over $100 million. He's described — in WaPo's "The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor from Canada" — as a "Canadian mining magnate and onetime Hollywood studio owner.
Last week, the Clinton Foundation acknowledged that an affiliated Canadian charity founded in 2007 by Giustra kept its donors secret, despite a 2008 ethics agreement with the Obama administration promising to reveal the New York-based foundation’s donors.

The foundation said the arrangement conformed with Canadian law. But it also opened a way for anonymous donors, including foreign executives with business pending before the Hillary Clinton-led State Department, to direct money to the Clinton Foundation.

For Giustra, the partnership with Bill Clinton provided an introduction to the world of international philanthropy at the highest levels — a feel-good, reputation-enhancing effort that he said he finds more personally satisfying than amassing wealth.

At the same time, Giustra continued to expand his business empire, closing some of the biggest deals of his career in the same countries where he traveled with Clinton.
According to Giustra, you can believe that Bill Clinton didn't get involved in any of those business dealings, because Bill Clinton is utterly bored by that sort of thing: "He doesn’t care about that stuff. His eyes would glaze over." Even if that is to believed, Giustra could still have used the appearance of connection to the ex-President to leverage his business dealings.

As for Giustra's believability, consider that he also says that when Bill Clinton saw that that Giustra was carrying a biography of Julius Caesar, Clinton not only began talking about the book, he began "quoting whole passages of it from memory."

ADDED: By chance, there's a nice, big new essay about Julius Caesar by the great Roger Kimball in The New Criterion. Excerpt:
Alexander Hamilton once told Jefferson that Caesar was “the greatest man who ever lived.” Hamilton might have been tweaking his humorless rival. He knew that his own political opponents often compared him to Caesar, and deep down he probably shared their suspicion, not to say their loathing, of the dictator. But everyone acknowledged Caesar’s military genius. He was a master strategist whose tactics are still studied by generals. In Gaul, through the instrumentality of his legions, he killed or enslaved hundreds of thousands, maybe millions. Yet he brought stability and a semblance of the rule of law to those rude provinces. He greatly enriched himself at the expense of those he conquered. Yet he also greatly reformed provincial governance, sharply limiting the extent of “gifts” a Roman governor could (legally) help himself to.

51 comments:

Mark said...

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.

Terry said...

"Clinton not only began talking about the book, he began "quoting whole passages of it from memory."

Clinton's done this kind of thing before to impress people. He seems to have a good memory, but it is not bottomless. There was an admiring essay written by a Latin American write (Marquez, maybe), during impeachment, where he was impressed because Clinton was able to quote long Faulkner passages from memory. The writer was also impressed when the phone rang and Clinton went into the other room to have a long, intense, but not quite audible conversation with the Secretary of State.
You can see how the trick would work. Memorize a few impressive passages from Faulkner and steer the conversation towards just those passages. Have someone call you and hang up, leaving you to pick up the phone for a one-sided conversation.
Everything Clinton did during his interview with the Latin american writer seemed designed to impress a Latin american writer.
Maybe Clinton found out the name of the book Giustra was reading and memorized a few passages before they met.

Jim in St Louis said...

I wonder what section of Caesar’s bio would Bill Clinton memorize?

Maybe where Caesar divorced his wife because the public would see it as improper to have any association with a woman under suspicion.

Mark said...

To be fair, Bill Clinton was and is an extremely intelligent man. He has the morals of an alley cat and the scruples of a junk yard dog, but he is smart.

His wife shares two of those three traits.

Brando said...

File this under "you're not helping!" Even taking this guy's story at face value, it is pretty clear that in exchange for his hefty donations, he had access to Clinton which directly led to further business. Not only does this story further the idea that the Clintons will sell their time for big money (an inconvenient optic when trying to run as the champion of "everyday people") but it also makes clear that Clinton will allow his influence to be used to help the rich get even richer. This is the case even if Bill didn't put in a single word for his "friend."

Does any person with a brain think that Clinton's involvement in these deals is simply some Zelig-like coincidence, that he just happens to be there when deals go down? Or that he provided valuable counsel to any of these players? The ONLY thing Clinton has to offer here is the fact that his wife is expected to be in a future position of great power and influence, and these plutocrats want to make sure they can get in on the gravy train.

Doesn't really help the Democrats' populist message.

tim in vermont said...

The guy has no idea of the "privilege" that his relationship with Clinton confers? Or is he just following the advice of his hero Bill "Deny, deny, deny..."

Hagar said...

It may be believable. The nuts and bolts of the scams are Hillary!'s job. Go see her about it.

MadisonMan said...

This is what we get to look forward to in a Hillary!!! Presidency.

I'll pass.

Ann Althouse said...

"Clinton's done this kind of thing before to impress people. He seems to have a good memory, but it is not bottomless..."

Thanks for the tip. This is a fascinating line of inquiry!

Ann Althouse said...

Please don't respond to the commenter we always delete. We have to delete your response too. Don't take it personally. Just learn!

Mike said...

Mr. Giustra sounds at least as believable as Mrs. Clinton. We need more voices like his in the public square.

"I didn't want nothing! I just like hanging out with Bill cuz he's so smart and stuff. Sure I could have written a check to Haiti Relief directly and used 100% of my donation for good, but the CGI is so efficient at converting donations to good will that of course I wrote those huge checks. To me writing donations like that is just something to keep my hands busy, like knitting or smoking long fat cigars. Wait. What?"

Coupe said...

The French were suffering a regressive tax system, where the burden was placed on the poor, and the top 2% wealth was increasing exponentially.

Today there is a column in Paris, built above the dead bodies who stormed the Bastille. Atop the column is a gilded statue of the Spirit of Liberty.

With a current debt (unfunded liability) of 96 Trillion dollars, and a current deficit of 500 billion, even though we're only in the third quarter of the fiscal year), the pendulum is often described as being at the top of the arc.

Each taxpayer will have to cough-up $815k to pay all the government debts, or the USA will have to sell large assets (land, buildings, foreign graveyards). But since the top 2% don't pay any taxes, the 98% will have to pay their share as well.

Ah ! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira
Everything will be fine...

Charlie said...

Grifters.

Terry said...

Coupe wrote:
"Each taxpayer will have to cough-up $815k to pay all the government debts, or the USA will have to sell large assets (land, buildings, foreign graveyards). But since the top 2% don't pay any taxes, the 98% will have to pay their share as well."

By some estimates their is $60 trillion in US oil deposits we won't touch for environmental reasons.
When it comes down to sending grandma her social security check or drilling off Cali and Florida, we'll see how many people prefer no oil wells off the east and west coasts to having grandma living in the spare room.

Skeptical Voter said...

I'm certain that Bill Clinton also has an impressive monologue about the advantages of real Cuban cigars.

Brando said...

Whoever the GOP candidate is, they would be wise to find a way to tap into the populist anger (which is to some extent bipartisan) over flat wages, increased cost of living (despite what appears to be misleadingly low official inflation numbers) and the gaming of the system by the rich and connected. It would dovetail nicely with the kleptocracy that the Clintons appear to represent.

Of course since it's the GOP I'm talking about, it's almost a given they will do no such thing, and instead appeal only to the safest of red states and blow yet another election. And the rest of us will have to suffer through the Clinton restoration.

etbass said...

I'm so relieved that Mr. Giustra cleared this situation up. We can now check off this donation as completely on the up and up and move on to others....

Jay Vogt said...

It goes without saying, however when you gift $100MM you don't have to ask. That's kinda the point.

Give a $100K and you still have to genuflect and at least drop a hint.

PB said...

You don't have to ask for anything when it's expected. Just let the people who you've "helped" know what you're doing and that your activities intersect with their activities and nothing more needs to be said. That's how it works.

Public officials are supposed to recuse themselves from situations where there is a conflict of interest and there is no more direct a conflict of interest when they've contributed significant sums of money to your campaign or your foundation.

There are always conflicts of interest and the lack of recusal is proof of lack of ethics.

Rocco said...

"I did not have (sexual) relations with that woman.

"I did have (political) relations with that man."

Coupe said...

Jay Vogt said...It goes without saying

Whenever I buy access, I always just shake hands, or when I'm feeling frisky, I may also wink.

Brando said...

"I'm so relieved that Mr. Giustra cleared this situation up. We can now check off this donation as completely on the up and up and move on to others...."

The Clintons are pretty determined to make their defenders look as stupid as possible. They are determined that no smart and self-respecting person can be in their corner.

Brando said...

Soon, the term "Clinton supporter" will be the equivalent of "moon landing denier" or "tin foil hat wearer". No such person can be treated as serious.

William said...

Just by coincidence, some big Clinton donors got favorable government rulings. Can anyone point out a case where a large donor got an unfavorable ruling?.......Hillary respects the rule of law. That's why she ceded the mineral rights of Texas, especially those held by the Koch brothers, to the holder of an old Spanish land grant. The rule of law and the precedence of the Spanish land grant claim were why she made this decision. The fact that Chelsea Clinton was used as an intermediary to represent the interests of Carlos Slim who held the land grant was purely a coincidence and had no bearing on her dispassionate ruling. The NY Times has investigated the matter thoroughly and found no wrong doing.

damikesc said...

Whoever the GOP candidate is, they would be wise to find a way to tap into the populist anger (which is to some extent bipartisan) over flat wages, increased cost of living (despite what appears to be misleadingly low official inflation numbers) and the gaming of the system by the rich and connected. It would dovetail nicely with the kleptocracy that the Clintons appear to represent.

Piss off Dems and run on income inequality. It seems to be a huge problem in Dem cities.

Jay Vogt said...

. . . Coupe said Whenever I buy access, I always just shake hands, or when I'm feeling frisky, I may also wink.

A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.

5/4/15, 9:21 AM

Michael K said...

"To be fair, Bill Clinton was and is an extremely intelligent man. He has the morals of an alley cat and the scruples of a junk yard dog, but he is smart.

His wife shares two of those three traits."

I agree about him. I can only think of one for her. Well maybe two if we exclude intelligence. She is the humorless scold who does well on multiple choice.

Michael K said...

"a way to tap into the populist anger (which is to some extent bipartisan) over flat wages, increased cost of living (despite what appears to be misleadingly low official inflation numbers) and the gaming of the system by the rich and connected."

This is the Tea Party and why it scares the sh*t out of Democrats. Unfortunately, it also scares the rent seekers among the GOP governing class. The IRS was pretty effective in shutting it down in 2010. We'll see if that can hold as nothing has improved since then.

Terry said...

Michael K wrote:
"This is the Tea Party and why it scares the sh*t out of Democrats. Unfortunately, it also scares the rent seekers among the GOP governing class."

I am registered indy but usually vote GOP.
I despise the US Chamber of Commerce, even though they give almost all their money to the GOP. They are in the business of rent-seeking and taking money from the pockets of workers. An average Joe would have to have a screw loose to think the USCC is on their side.
The USCC is especially powerful in the primaries, because they have a deep checking account.

Chris N said...

I wink, wink, nudge, nudge even if my quo is implied.

Some people just love the game.

Chris N said...

Maybe they'll be Clinton sponsored sprint-cars, abortion clinics, church-raffles and hot-dog stands.

Be a part of Team Clinton!

Chris N said...

'There'll'

Terry said...

Perhaps Hillary can explain to the American people what a terrible thing it is that there are fewer abortions being performed every year.

Anonymous said...

What does Bill do that the Canadian admires so much? Scot-free with that Lewinsky thing? That pedophile thing?

Rusty said...

Like attracts like.

Gahrie said...

Piss off Dems and run on income inequality

A Walker V Hillary race would provide some interesting possibilities here....

Sammy Finkelman said...

"Each taxpayer will have to cough-up $815k to pay all the government debts,"

Now that's a misleading statistic.

1) The debt is not going to be paid back, just rolled over.

2) The value of the debt in proprtion to the size of the economy can be expetcted to decline somewhat, all other things being euqal, because of inflation and real economic growth, both per capita and in total because of populaiton increase.

And, last but not least:

3) The amount of taxes to be paid is not divided equally between all inhabitants.

There is a progressive tax system, plus many taxes not paid by individuals, and even if you account them to individuals, still richer people will pay more, and also if you do it that way, most people then have much more money than they think.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Just by coincidence, some big Clinton donors got favorable government rulings. Can anyone point out a case where a large donor got an unfavorable ruling?.......

Yes, or maybe not (read further)

TD Bank, which had invested in a company that had a large stake in " TransCanada Corporation" which owned the Keystone Pipeline.

Except that the Clintonistas are citing that as a major error in the book, that is, that TD Bank did not announce in 2013 that it was selling its stake.

And I don't think it was the largest shareholder. That looks like the Royal Bank of Canada. At the end of 2014 Toronto Dominion Bank was only the 8th largest institutional holder, and had only about a 3% ownership.

1. http://nypost.com/2015/05/03/clinton-cash-is-a-blistering-indictment-of-hill-and-bills-behavior/

2 http://thinkprogress.org/election/2015/04/21/3649392/clinton-cash/

3. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/06/28/2235161/td-bank-press-release-hoax-raises-question-of-why-companies-invest-in-keystone-tar-sands-pipeline/

Sammy Finkelman said...

This shows institutional ownership at the end of 2014:

http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/trp/institutional-holdings

Sammy Finkelman said...

The Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton himself, actually got a lot of money from all kinds of backers of the Keystone Pipeline, including a Candaian government agency.

TD Bank is notable for hiring Bill Clinton, after his wife became Secretary of State, to give a series of speeches at a cost to the bank of $1,800,000.

Schweizer apparently got caught in a Clinton ruse in which he wound up believing that this was a simple exchange, and that the bank gave up after Hillary Clinton was no longer Secretary of State, and that it was the largest shareholder, which it almost certainly wa snot.

Anyway, I read in the New York Post:

...A Freedom of Information Act request uncovered State Department emails from her special assistant Nora Toiv advising Keystone’s lobbyist on how to win regulatory approval (which Obama has blocked).

The State Department issued an environmental impact statement that was essentially a green light for Keystone; Hillary publicly answered a question about approving the pipeline, “We are inclined to do so”; and Bill Clinton, at a green energy summit (!) in Maryland in 2012, told the crowd they should “embrace” Keystone. Asked about this remark, Hillary replied, “He’s a very smart man.”


So the Clintons were at least hinting they would give the go-ahead.

MikeR said...

Well, let's test it. Next interview he does, ask President Clinton to quote whole passages of Julius Caesar from memory. If he can do it, we'll believe whatever Giustra said about him.
But it might depend on what "whole" means.

MadisonMan said...

There should be a contest: When will Hillary withdraw from the contest?

Of course, as of now, no Democrat has the fortitude to stand up to the Clinton Syndicate. (Sanders doesn't count). I will admire the first Democratic Candidate who stands up and says that Americans deserves better than Clinton$ and their cash-for-favors hucksterism.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Noody will do that, but they might pile on all at once.

Coupe said...

Sammy Finkelman said...And, last but not least...

The part you are obfuscating is that $96 Trillion has to be paid back.

It's not a big problem now, but if interest rate go toward what they were in the Carter Administration, there will be no revenue left to run the government. It will all be sent to China and Germany as interest payments.

Mary Beth said...

Regarding Bill Clinton's intelligence:

Remarks at a Reception for Hillary Clinton in Martha's Vineyard,
Massachusetts, August 6, 2000, Bill Clinton said, "And you know that old aphorism, ``Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make angry.''"

Mad ≠ angry. I still can't figure out if he didn't know better or if he just assumed his listeners didn't. Or if they would just think that since he said it, it must be very clever, an in-joke that would fool the plebs.

Terry said...

Coupe wrote:
"It will all be sent to China and Germany as interest payments."

that's when you'll see a forest of drilling towers off the east and west coasts. Manned by Germans and Chinese, not Americans. They'll want the high value-added jobs as well as the oil.

paminwi said...


Canadien donors are not required to be kept secret.


http://thefederalist.com/2015/04/27/the-clinton-foundation-is-wrong-canadian-law-doesnt-prohibit-donor-id/

Michael McNeil said...

I wonder what section of Caesar’s bio would Bill Clinton memorize? Maybe where Caesar divorced his wife because the public would see it as improper to have any association with a woman under suspicion.

Clinton might've read someone else's bio of Caesar — viz., where it's said of him (Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars) that he (Julius Caesar) was “Every woman's husband and every man's wife.”

eddie willers said...

"I did not have sex with that monarch, Nicomedes...."

Unknown said...

Debt can be retired through hyperinflation

Joe said...

Of course he never asked for anything. That's not how genuine power works.

"Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" is about as direct as you're going to get.