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The Unfolding Clinton Foundation Fiasco

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The Clinton Foundation has become a serious problem for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Everyone knows the Clintons made a mockery of the promises they made to Team Obama. Even the left-wing site PolitiFact says that it's "Mostly False" that they obeyed the rules.


Like her husband, Bill Clinton, who infamously claimed, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," Monica Lewinsky, Hillary Clinton is going around claiming, "My work as secretary of state was not influenced by outside sources."

On Jan. 5, 2009, Clinton sent a letter to State Department Designated Agency Ethics Official James Thessin promising, "I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that has a direct and predictable effect on my financial interests or those of any person whose interests are imputed to me," including her husband.

Who didn't anticipate that this would end up in an ethical mess? What genius hasn't observed over the last 25 years how the Clintons break their promises? Some people saw this as a potential scandal, but they didn't stand a chance with the Clinton-loving press.

In Oct. 2007, liberal pundit Matthew Yglesias asked in the Los Angeles Times, "Who's giving money to Bill Clinton?" He complained that the Clintons should release a list of their foundation donors before Hillary Clinton could become president in 2009, saying: "Disclosing who's contributing to Bill Clinton's foundation after his wife wins the election would be about four years too late. The voters ought to have this information before the election, when it could still make a difference."


Surprise, surprise: Clinton didn't win, and the Clintons didn't release a donor list until Dec. 2008, when she was asked to become secretary of state. The blather on the TV networks was all about how President Obama's cabinet was a team of geniuses. "We have not seen this kind of combination of star power, brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes," gushed George Stephanopoulos on ABC. The fix was in.

As Clinton's four years wound down, the pundits celebrated the wonderful work of the Clinton Foundation. On "The Chris Matthews Show" on July 16, 2012, journalist Howard Fineman said that Bill Clinton had modeled his foundation on President Jimmy Carter, but that "he's Jimmy Carter with a better touch." Chris Matthews replied: "And much bigger in terms of the amplification of what he's been able to do. The Clinton Global Initiative is huge. And by the way it's done a lot to build his role in history...beyond anything he was able to do as president."

On Aug. 23, the Associated Press underlined the degree to which Hillary Clinton's promises were vaporized. More than half the people outside the government (at least 85 of 154 people) who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton during the first half of her "public service" at the State Department donated to the family foundation. At least 40 donated more than $100,000, and 20 contributed more than $1 million.


The AP based these investigations off half of Clinton's office calendars from her State Department tenure, which it only received after filing a Freedom of Information Act request to acquire them. The other half of the calendars won't be released until after the election.

Once again, the Clintons are making promises to downsize their involvement with the foundation if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. At this point, that sounds as believable as former Rep. Anthony Weiner's promise to stop texting. But the Clinton-enabling reflex in the media is dangerously strong, and the Clintons are threatening to take advantage of it for the rest of this campaign.

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