With all the attention (rightfully) being paid to Hillary Clinton's reckless and improper email scheme -- and the federal investigation thereof -- many Americans may have forgotten about a separate controversy that would likely plague her in a general election: The cash, cronyism and influence peddling at the Clinton Foundation, which has been described by a charity watchdog as a "slush fund." The foundation appears to be a fundraising juggernaut whose actual charitable activity is…less than robust. From suspect uranium deals, to lucrative contributions from entities with business before Hillary Clinton's State Department, to questionable speaking engagements and practices, to eye-popping accounting 'irregularities,' the Foundation will be an oppo-research gift that keeps giving. The Washington Post is out with a piece this week detailing how Clinton's emails (released under duress and court order) spotlight how major Clinton donors and political allies were afforded enviable access to Mrs. Clinton as she ran point on America's foreign policy. And the story begins with -- ta da! -- George Soros:
The note to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from liberal financier George Soros demanded “urgent attention from the highest levels of the U.S. government.” Clinton swiftly alerted a top aide to what she described as a “very forceful message which is good — and needed.” The e-mail exchange, in which Soros warned of growing unrest in Albania, illustrates how Clinton interacted with major donors to her family’s causes during her tenure at the State Department, staying in touch with her political network before her 2016 run for the Democratic presidential nomination. And they show how these donors, some of them with interests before the U.S. government, gained high-level access to press policy concerns inside the Clinton-led State Department. Soros, a top contributor to the Clinton Foundation, was one of several major donors whose messages were disclosed by the State Department last week as part of the ongoing release of the former secretary’s e-mails. Other exchanges included references to entertainment mogul Haim Saban, who has said he would pay “whatever it takes” to propel Clinton to the White House in 2016, as well as other major Clinton Foundation donors such as Microsoft’s Bill Gates, fashion industry executive Susie Tompkins Buell and Ukrainian steel magnate Viktor Pinchuk. The e-mails that mention donors — numbering a few dozen out of the thousands of pages of messages released so far — do not show that financial supporters were able to alter policy decisions.
They'll pay "whatever it takes." As for the email trail, bear in mind that Hillary's team unilaterally deleted more than 30,000 emails they claimed to be personal in nature, swearing that all work-related messages had been turned over. These assurances have been disproven. Twice, so far. If the FBI accesses all of the deleted emails, we may eventually discover what else is lurking on that server. Regardless, this is just the latest indicator of how the Clintons have practically built a mega-mansion at the intersection of big money and politics. Hillary is now laughably trying to run a campaign calling for the reimagining of the First Amendment, supposedly to stem the corrupting influence of money on our political system, an issue on which she has precisely zero credibility. She's gone so far as to state that she'll impose a litmus test on her judicial picks: Opposition to the Supreme Court's pro-free speech Citizens United decision -- which centered around whether an anti-Hillary Clinton movie could be censored and banned under campaign finance laws. In that case, the Obama administration's lawyer literally argued that, yes, books featuring political advocacy close to an election could be banned by the government if they were paid for by corporations. Speaking of Citizens United and its implications, Jonah Goldberg is out with a sharp column at USA Today in the wake of SNL's Hillary love fest:
it wasn’t just the skit with Clinton’s walk-on that was a gift. It was almost the whole show. The SNL News segment took shots at potential Clinton opponent Joe Biden and New Hampshire Democratic frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders. Even the inevitable potshots at Donald Trump were aimed, at least in part, at making Hillary Clinton seem like the only safe choice in the 2016 race. And that’s fine...Saturday Night Live has the same first amendment rights as The New York Times, The Washington Post and this newspaper. But you know who else has the same free speech rights as the mainstream media? You and me — and George Soros, Charles and David Koch, and every other citizen of the United States. And that’s why the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United was correct. In that decision, the Court held that everyone has the right to get their views and opinions out into the public conversation. In the arguments before the court, the Obama administration took the position that the government could even ban books during election season if those books amounted to “express advocacy” for a candidate, even if that advocacy took the form of a single mention of a candidate. The court rejected that argument and President Obama, along with most liberals, have never forgiven the justices. Hillary Clinton is so opposed to the ruling, she has made amending the First Amendment a cornerstone of her campaign. Why do liberals hate Citizens United so much? No doubt there are many explanations, but one seems particularly obvious. In a world where only powerful institutions in the mainstream media have an unfettered right to make their case during elections, then the conversation is going to go in their favor.
Even if you ignore Clinton's incandescent money-in-politics hypocrisy, and the fact that Democrats often out-raise and out-spend Republicans on elections, the last bolded sentence makes perfect sense. If you were an ambitious, unscrupulous, self-interested politician, why wouldn't you try to limit your ideological opponents' ability to compete in message amplification? When you have today's mainstream media on your side, trying to double down on your inherent advantage is irresistible: