No one in Philadelphia wants to talk about the Clinton Foundation.
Bill Clinton on Tuesday portrayed his wife as a “change maker” whose life has overflowed with good intentions and commitment to others. No one can spin a yarn like Bill, and for the believers it was a touching portrait.
But if it’s true, why do the polls show that 68% of Americans don’t trust Hillary Clinton? That has to do with the rest of the story, which is how the Clintons have used politics to enrich themselves and retain power.
Nowhere is this clearer than at the words you didn’t hear Mr. Clinton speak: the Clinton Foundation. This supposedly philanthropic operation has become a metaphor for the Clinton business model of crony politics. The foundation is about producing a different kind of “change.”
No doubt the foundation does some charitable good, but this is incidental to its main purpose of promoting the Clinton political brand. Since its creation in 1997, the nominal nonprofit has served as a shadow Super Pac, designed to keep the Clintons in the national headlines, cover their travel expenses, and keep their retinue employed between elections.
The payroll has included Huma Abedin, who drew a State Department salary even as she managed politics at the foundation and is now vice-chairwoman of the Clinton campaign. Dennis Cheng raised money for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 bid, then became the foundation’s chief development officer and now leads Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 fundraising.
Cheryl Mills, Hillary’s chief of staff at State, sat on the foundation board. And don’t forget Sid Blumenthal, the longtime Clinton Svengali who was secretly advising Mrs. Clinton at State while drawing a foundation salary. This may not be illegal but the charity here is for the Clintons’ benefit.
The funding for this political operation has come from nearly every country and major company in the world. These contributors have the cover of giving to charity, when everybody knows the gifts are political tribute to a woman determined to be President. Donations to a charity aren’t governed by the same caps or restrictions as those that go to a traditional Super Pac. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren somehow overlooked this in their Monday night riffs against money in politics.
Witness the charitably minded donors from Algeria, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The Swiss bank UBS gave more than $500,000 to the foundation after Secretary Clinton solved its IRS problem. Canadian mining magnate Ian Telfer used a family charity to donate millions to the foundation at the same time a Cabinet committee on which Mrs. Clinton sat was reviewing (and ultimately greenlighted) a Russian mining deal involving his company.
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