Former President Bill Clinton is one of a kind, but we knew that already.
No president before him has managed to cash in from his time in office with such shameless abandon.
A Washington Post story by John Solomon and Matthew Mosk is staggering in its revelations of Clinton's greed. In the six years since he left the presidency, Clinton has taken in nearly $40 million - between nine and 10 million of it last year. Clinton averaged "almost a speech a day" in 2006. Twenty percent of his fees reportedly "were for personal income." The rest of his speeches, says the Post, were for no fee or for donations to Clinton's foundation.
Unlike liberal Democrats, I am not obsessed with how much others make, as long as it's honest money and they pay their taxes. It ought to be a concern, though, when so much money is paid to a former president by foreign governments, foreign entities and corporations with interests in U.S. foreign and domestic policies. While Bill Clinton is no longer in a position to determine such policies, his wife, the junior senator from New York and Democratic presidential candidate, is and she may soon be in an even more powerful position. Given the Clintons' history of questionable political, business and personal relationships, can anyone say with certainty that the providers of this largesse are uninterested in influencing a President Hillary Clinton through her husband?
Were it not for the disclosure forms required of high-level officials, we might never have known the full extent of the Clinton ATM (always throw money) machine.
Clinton is also a master at whiny self-justification, saying, "I never had a nickel to my name until I got out of the White House, and now I'm a millionaire. Š I get a tax cut every year, no matter what our needs are."
Clinton can easily assuage his conscience by writing a check for the taxes he thinks he should pay under a Hillary Clinton administration and send it to the U.S. Treasury, but that would require him to be sincere. Clinton told a Houston fund-raiser in 1995, "Probably there are people in this room still mad at me at that (1993) budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much, too." Sincerity, like fidelity, is not his strong suit.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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