On CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown -- who is reportedly in Hillary Clinton's Vice Presidential orbit -- waved away last week's eyebrow-raising Wall Street Journal report regarding millions of dollars flowing from the Clinton Global Initiative to a for-profit outfit partially owned by Clinton family friends:
The Clinton Global Initiative, which arranges donations to help solve the world’s problems, set up a financial commitment that benefited a for-profit company part-owned by people with ties to the Clintons, including a current and a former Democratic official and a close friend of former President Bill Clinton. The $2 million commitment was placed on the agenda for a September 2010 conference of the Clinton Global Initiative at Mr. Clinton’s urging, according to a document from the period and people familiar with the matter. Mr. Clinton also personally endorsed the company, Energy Pioneer Solutions Inc., to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a federal grant that year, said people with knowledge of the endorsement...Under federal law, tax-exempt charitable organizations aren’t supposed to act in anyone’s private interest but instead in the public interest, on broad issues such as education or poverty. “The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests,” the Internal Revenue Service says on its website.
Whether this transaction strained legal or ethical limits is up for debate, but Sen. Brown's approach in response to anchor Jake Tapper's query was to question the story's legitimacy, while admitting he hadn't read it. Why? The Journal's editorial board leans to the right (via the Free Beacon):
A smear of the Journal, bereft of any substantive response. What Brown fails to mention, of course, is that numerous other news outlets have reported critically on the Clintons' "charitable" organizations, the primary of which was derided as a "slush fund" by a charity watchdog official. A former employee of the Clinton Foundation has stated that the organization was "not charity" and that the money was "all bankable." The Clintons' complex swirl of cash and influence has prompted serious questions about undisclosed contributions from foreign entities and governments, some of which appear to have helped grease the skids for some highly suspect decisions. Journalists have also dug into the Clintons' lucrative paid speeches to firms with lobbying interests before the federal government. Given the stench of impropriety and pay-for-play allegations, the media should be chasing down every strand and lead on these fronts. Clinton and her buddies would prefer that multiple stones be left unturned, reverting to lazy attacks when papers like the Journal do their jobs. One wonders if Brown also believes that Tapper himself engaged in "bias" when he issued a blistering fact-check against Clinton's ongoing and verifiably false assertions that her email scheme was "absolutely permitted." As Matt covered over the weekend, no, it was not:
Clinton's campaign continues to inaccurately refer to the FBI's expanded probe into her reckless, national security-compromising email scandal as a "security review." The Bureau's director says it's a criminal investigation. Speaking of which, I'll leave you with federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy's lengthy, worthwhile piece examining whether the "fix is in" on that front. Parting Thought: Why was top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills shielded by DOJ lawyers from answering FBI questions about the process of turning work-related emails over to the State Department? Why would any FBI questions be off-limits in connection with a thorough and independent investigation?