This, via the New York Times, is just another small tableau emerging from the Clintons' lucrative web of big money, privilege, influence and power. A major Clinton Foundation donor and CEO wanted a private meeting with Hillary, which was dutifully arranged by Huma Abedin -- a woman whose unusual role occupied a blurry gray area somewhere in between public employee and private operative. And then Bill Clinton was given access to that donor's private jet. A very cozy, mutually beneficial transaction:
The emails released by Judicial Watch also include discussions about meetings between Mrs. Clinton and a number of people involved in major donations to the Clinton Foundation. In one exchange in July 2009, Ms. Abedin told Mrs. Clinton’s scheduler that Mr. Clinton “wants to be sure” that Mrs. Clinton would be able to see Andrew Liveris, the chief executive of Dow Chemical, at an event the next night. Dow Chemical has been one of the biggest donors to the Clinton Foundation, giving $1 million to $5 million, records show. Ms. Abedin arranged what she called “a pull-aside” for Mr. Liveris to speak with Mrs. Clinton in a private room after she arrived to give a speech, according to the emails, which did not explain the reason for the meeting. The person with knowledge of the issue said that this email chain also related to Mr. Clinton’s North Korea trip because Mr. Liveris had offered to let Mr. Clinton use his private plane. A separate batch of State Department documents released by Judicial Watch last month also revealed contacts between the State Department and Clinton Foundation donors. In one such exchange, Mr. Band sought to put a billionaire donor in touch with the department’s former ambassador to Lebanon.
This exchange is reported in the same story detailing how Clinton Foundation officials requested that Abedin secure diplomatic passports for them, further underscoring the unseemly ambiguity about where public business ended and private interests began under Secretary of State Clinton. The Associated Press reported last week that more than half of private individuals who met privately with Hillary Clinton during a two year span of her tenure leading the State Department had contributed to the foundation. In another revelation we highlighted in June, a separate wealthy Clinton Foundation donor lobbied for, and received, an appointment to a sensitive national security board for which critics say he was unqualified. When this arrangement was made public, the man resigned his post. Liberal journalist David Sirota has done a lot of work identifying and connecting the scatterplot of dots littering the intersection of money and influence, where the Clintons have operated and thrived for years. He's documented instances in which foundation donors have received large State Department-approved contracts and arms deals, and has written extensively about how there's real fire beneath all of this thick smoke. Government watchdogs have been sounding similar alarms.
Clinton's defenders in the media often make two claims: (1) There's no direct evidence of illegality or clear-cut corruption, and (2) the Clinton Foundation has done some important work fighting global poverty and international health crises like HIV/AIDS. On the first point, there are conflicting reports about whether there is a major federal investigation into the Clinton Foundation currently underway. In addition, even many senior Democrats are beginning to demand that the Clintons cut ties with their foundation, given the problematic appearances of impropriety and potential for more conflicts of interest if she's elected president. Are these same Democrats not troubled by the fact that these sorts of things were commonplace throughout her four years as America's top diplomat? And are they unbothered by the proven reality that she utterly failed to live up to the Obama administration's ethics and transparency requirements to which she agreed upon assuming office? On point two, I'm certain that the Clinton Foundation and Global Initiative has done some good humanitarian work, despite criticisms of its money allocation and exorbitant overhead costs. But this is irrelevant. Just because an entity does some good does not absolve it from legal, ethical and political scrutiny on other fronts. This defense is reminiscent of Obamacare apologias: The law has helped some people. Sure, but those benefits do not and cannot erase the harms it has inflicted on even more people, nor does it cancel out its many broken promises and failures. Ignore that, look over here instead.
One last point: If the Clintons simply wanted to engage in philanthropic work on behalf of humanity without nosy Republicans or journalists constantly sniffing around, they could have easily done so by declining to operate their 'slush fund' during Hillary's time at the State Department. She didn't have to run for president either. Bill and Hillary Clinton could have spent their twilight years serving humanity, far away from the corridors of power. They chose not to pursue that course. Of course, one can fairly conclude that the Clintons' fundraising efforts would have been dramatically diminished if they were no longer in close proximity to the levers of real power and meaningful access. Some contributors may have given out of the goodness of their hearts. But much of the evidence rehearsed above proves that others had ulterior and self-serving motives, which the Clintons were very pleased to exploit for their own enrichment. Her denial squad can argue that there's nothing to see here until they're blue in the face, but the American people have not been fooled:
Hillary Clinton is ethically unfit to be president. A final note: I'll have a full analysis of today's breaking email scandal developments on Tuesday. The Clinton campaign is praying that these bombshells are buried over the long weekend. We'll address everything we now know next week.