Surprise: Hillary's State Department Fast-Tracked Approval for Bill's Speeches

Posted: May 13, 2015 4:12 PM

They didn't vet the hundreds of millions in foreign donations that poured into the Clinton Foundation's coffers (as required), nor did they archive their official emails that weren't deleted from Hillary's secret server (also required), but you'd better believe they approved hundreds of paid speaking gigs for Bill.  Very, very quickly:

State Department officials gave speedy and sometimes only cursory consideration to potential conflicts of interest when approving former President Bill Clinton's lucrative speeches to global companies and foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, an Associated Press investigation has found. Again and again, the ethics office responsible for vetting his appearances hurriedly signed off on them, even in cases where questions had been raised about the behavior of organizations hiring Bill Clinton to appear. It approved at least 330 requests for the former president's appearance at speeches, dinners and events. More than 220 of those were paid events that earned the family nearly $50 million, according to AP's review of State Department documents and Hillary Clinton's financial disclosure forms. The ethics office's standard response: "We have no objection."... State Department ethics officials gave quick approval, for example, for two appearances involving a multinational British bank, Barclays Bank, even as it had openly acknowledged in its annual reports — as recently as the same month that Clinton sought permission — that it was under investigation by the Justice Department and others for sanctions violations, and it cautioned that the impact on its profits "could be substantial." Just months later, in August 2010, Barclays agreed to pay nearly $300 million in penalties for violating financial sanctions against Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Libya and Burma. The office also approved Bill Clinton's appearances at events paid by other international banks under legal scrutiny.

Hey, a multimillionaire ex-president's gotta pay the bills, right?  In this case it was the Clinton's personally, and not their so-called "charity," that profited from these speeches -- several of which were "mistakenly" initially reported to the IRS as tax-free charitable contributions.  Rubber-stamping Bill's speeches to deep-pocketed foreign entities, some of which were under investigation, was standard operating procedure at the State Department.  Politico reported earlier this month that Hillary's close circle of aides were regularly looped into the supposedly "independent" review process:

Hillary Clinton’s State Department aides were sometimes consulted “as a practical matter” during the independent review process of President Bill Clinton’s lucrative global appearances and business deals to get “additional perspective,” a State Department official acknowledged to POLITICO...In some instances, the records show Thessin and Mills exchanged emails about Bill Clinton’s proposed speeches or travels. The substance of those emails was deleted from the records released by the State Department, which cited a need to preserve internal deliberations. The documents, released sporadically by State in response to a request made more than five years ago, are often a confusing muddle. Redactions obscure most of the State lawyers’ specific concerns. In addition, the State emails have been released separately from the original memos from Bill Clinton’s office, which were sent to his lawyers to be reviewed for potential confidential information. However, it’s clear that the vast majority of Bill Clinton’s proposed speaking engagements sailed through with no resistance from State...

Considering that the State Department failed to intervene in the highly sketchy Russia/uranium deal with actual national security implications (partly because the Clinton Foundation failed to disclose its related financial interests in the matter), how likely were they to stand between Bill and a fat paycheck?  Hillary's team made sure the various spigots flowed freely, allowing foreign individuals, companies and governments to lavish massive sums of money upon the Clintons while actively lobbying Hillary's State Department.  Here's another lucrative scenario in which millions of dollars exchanged hands, and official favors appear to have been paid:

Traveling abroad on official business as secretary of state, Clinton often visited Boeing facilities and made a pitch for the host country to buy Boeing jets. During one visit to Shanghai in May 2010, she boasted that "more than half the commercial jetliners operating in China are made by Boeing." A sales plug in Russia in 2009, though, may have proved especially fruitful. While touring a Boeing plant, Secretary of State Clinton said, "We're delighted that a new Russian airline, Rossiya, is actively considering acquisition of Boeing aircraft, and this is a shameless pitch." In 2010, Boeing landed the Russian deal, worth $3.7 billion. And two months later, the company donated $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

The Washington Post had additional details last year. And what does Mrs. Clinton have to say for herself?Nothing. She hasn't fielded a question from the media in 22 days. As a declared candidate for the presidency:

WaPo now has an online clock tracking the minutes since the last question she "answered."  I employ scare quotes there because several her answers barely qualify as such.