WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money - either personally or through companies or groups - to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.Got a State Department issue? Have you tried the concierge services?
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton's help with a visa problem and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm's corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.
The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.
The AP's findings represent the first systematic effort to calculate the scope of the intersecting interests of Clinton foundation donors and people who met personally with Clinton or spoke to her by phone about their needs.
The 154 did not include U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives. Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton charity, but they were not included in AP's calculations because such meetings would presumably have been part of her diplomatic duties.
Last week, the Clinton Foundation moved to head off ethics concerns about future donations by announcing changes planned if Clinton is elected.
On Monday, Bill Clinton said in a statement that if his wife were to win, he would step down from the foundation's board and stop all fundraising for it. The foundation would also accept donations only from U.S. citizens and what it described as independent philanthropies, while no longer taking gifts from foreign groups, U.S. companies or corporate charities. Clinton said the foundation would no longer hold annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative, and it would spin off its foreign-based programs to other charities.
Those planned changes would not affect more than 6,000 donors who have already provided the Clinton charity with more than $2 billion in funding since its creation in 2000.
"There's a lot of potential conflicts and a lot of potential problems," said Douglas White, an expert on nonprofits who previously directed Columbia University's graduate fundraising management program. "The point is, she can't just walk away from these 6,000 donors."
Former senior White House ethics officials said a Clinton administration would have to take careful steps to ensure that past foundation donors would not have the same access as she allowed at the State Department.
"If Secretary Clinton puts the right people in and she's tough about it and has the right procedures in place and sends a message consistent with a strong commitment to ethics, it can be done," said Norman L. Eisen, who was President Barack Obama's top ethics counsel and later worked for Clinton as ambassador to the Czech Republic.
Eisen, now a governance studies fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that at a minimum, Clinton should retain the Obama administration's current ethics commitments and oversight, which include lobbying restrictions and other rules. Richard Painter, a former ethics adviser to President George W. Bush and currently a University of Minnesota law school professor, said Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton should remove themselves completely from foundation leadership roles, but he added that potential conflicts would shadow any policy decision affecting past donors.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon did not respond to the AP's questions about Clinton transition plans regarding ethics, but said in a statement Tuesday the standard set by the Clinton Foundation's ethics restrictions was "unprecedented, even if it may never satisfy some critics."
Some of Clinton's most influential visitors donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and to her and her husband's political coffers. They are among scores of Clinton visitors and phone contacts in her official calendar turned over by the State Department to AP last year and in more-detailed planning schedules that so far have covered about half her four-year tenure. The AP sought Clinton's calendar and schedules three years ago, but delays led the AP to sue the State Department last year in federal court for those materials and other records.
S. Daniel Abraham, whose name also was included in emails released by the State Department as part of another lawsuit, is a Clinton fundraising bundler who was listed in Clinton's planners for eight meetings with her at various times. A billionaire behind the Slim-Fast diet and founder of the Center for Middle East Peace, Abraham told the AP last year his talks with Clinton concerned Mideast issues.
Big Clinton Foundation donors with no history of political giving to the Clintons also met or talked by phone with Hillary Clinton and top aides, AP's review showed.
Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering low-interest "microcredit" for poor business owners, met with Clinton three times and talked with her by phone during a period when Bangladeshi government authorities investigated his oversight of a nonprofit bank and ultimately pressured him to resign from the bank's board. Throughout the process, he pleaded for help in messages routed to Clinton, and she ordered aides to find ways to assist him.
American affiliates of his nonprofit Grameen Bank had been working with the Clinton Foundation's Clinton Global Initiative programs as early as 2005, pledging millions of dollars in microloans for the poor. Grameen America, the bank's nonprofit U.S. flagship, which Yunus chairs, has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the foundation - a figure that bank spokeswoman Becky Asch said reflects the institution's annual fees to attend CGI meetings. Another Grameen arm chaired by Yunus, Grameen Research, has donated between $25,000 and $50,000.
As a U.S. senator from New York, Clinton, as well as then-Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and two other senators in 2007 sponsored a bill to award a congressional gold medal to Yunus. He got one but not until 2010, a year after Obama awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Yunus first met with Clinton in Washington in April 2009. That was followed six months later by an announcement by USAID, the State Department's foreign aid arm, that it was partnering with the Grameen Foundation, a nonprofit charity run by Yunus, in a $162 million commitment to extend its microfinance concept abroad. USAID also began providing loans and grants to the Grameen Foundation, totaling $2.2 million over Clinton's tenure.
By September 2009, Yunus began complaining to Clinton's top aides about what he perceived as poor treatment by Bangladesh's government. His bank was accused of financial mismanagement of Norwegian government aid money - a charge that Norway later dismissed as baseless. But Yunus told Melanne Verveer, a long-time Clinton aide who was an ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, that Bangladesh officials refused to meet with him and asked the State Department for help in pressing his case.
"Please see if the issues of Grameen Bank can be raised in a friendly way," he asked Verveer. Yunus sent "regards to H" and cited an upcoming Clinton Global Initiative event he planned to attend.
Clinton ordered an aide: "Give to EAP rep," referring the problem to the agency's top east Asia expert.
Yunus continued writing to Verveer as pressure mounted on his bank. In December 2010, responding to a news report that Bangladesh's prime minister was urging an investigation of Grameen Bank, Clinton told Verveer that she wanted to discuss the matter with her East Asia expert "ASAP."
Clinton called Yunus in March 2011 after the Bangladesh government opened an inquiry into his oversight of Grameen Bank. Yunus had told Verveer by email that "the situation does not allow me to leave the country." By mid-May, the Bangladesh government had forced Yunus to step down from the bank's board. Yunus sent Clinton a copy of his resignation letter. In a separate note to Verveer, Clinton wrote: "Sad indeed."
Clinton met with Yunus a second time in Washington in August 2011 and again in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka in May 2012. Clinton's arrival in Bangladesh came after Bangladesh authorities moved to seize control of Grameen Bank's effort to find new leaders. Speaking to a town hall audience, Clinton warned the Bangladesh government that "we do not want to see any action taken that would in any way undermine or interfere in the operations of the Grameen Bank."
Grameen America's Asch referred other questions about Yunus to his office, but he had not responded by Tuesday.
Earlier this month, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau acknowledged that agency officials are "regularly in touch with a range of outside individuals and organizations, including nonprofits, NGOs, think tanks and others." But Trudeau said the State Department was not aware of any actions that were influenced by the Clinton Foundation.
In another case, Clinton was host at a September 2009 breakfast meeting at the New York Stock Exchange that listed Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman as one of the attendees. Schwarzman's firm is a major Clinton Foundation donor, but he personally donates heavily to GOP candidates and causes. One day after the breakfast, according to Clinton emails, the State Department was working on a visa issue at Schwarzman's request. In December that same year, Schwarzman's wife, Christine, sat at Clinton's table during the Kennedy Center Honors. Clinton also introduced Schwarzman, then chairman of the Kennedy Center, before he spoke.
Blackstone donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Eight Blackstone executives also gave between $375,000 and $800,000 to the foundation. And Blackstone's charitable arm has pledged millions of dollars in commitments to three Clinton Global aid projects ranging from the U.S. to the Mideast. Blackstone officials did not make Schwarzman available for comment.
Clinton also met in June 2011 with Nancy Mahon of the MAC AIDS, the charitable arm of MAC Cosmetics, which is owned by Estee Lauder. The meeting occurred before an announcement about a State Department partnership to raise money to finance AIDS education and prevention. The public-private partnership was formed to fight gender-based violence in South Africa, the State Department said at the time.
The MAC AIDS fund donated between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In 2008, Mahon and the MAC AIDS fund made a three-year unspecified commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative. That same year, the fund partnered with two other organizations to beef up a USAID program in Malawi and Ghana. And in 2011, the fund was one of eight organizations to pledge a total of $2 million over a three-year period to help girls in southern Africa. The fund has not made a commitment to CGI since 2011.
Estee Lauder executive Fabrizio Freda also met with Clinton at the same Wall Street event attended by Schwarzman. Later that month, Freda was on a list of attendees for a meeting between Clinton and a U.S.-China trade group. Estee Lauder has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. The company made a commitment to CGI in 2013 with four other organizations to help survivors of sexual slavery in Cambodia.
MAC AIDs officials did not make Mahon available to AP for comment.
When Clinton appeared before the U.S. Senate in early 2009 for her confirmation hearing as secretary of state, then- Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, questioned her at length about the foundation and potential conflicts of interest. His concerns were focused on foreign government donations, mostly to CGI. Lugar wanted more transparency than was ultimately agreed upon between the foundation and Obama's transition team.
Now, Lugar hopes Hillary and Bill Clinton make a clean break from the foundation.
"The Clintons, as they approach the presidency, if they are successful, will have to work with their attorneys to make certain that rules of the road are drawn up to give confidence to them and the American public that there will not be favoritism," Lugar said.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Sunday, August 21, 2016
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated more than $10 million. Through a foundation, so did the son-in-law of a former Ukrainian president whose government was widely criticized for corruption and the murder of journalists. A Lebanese-Nigerian developer with vast business interests contributed as much as $5 million.
For years the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation thrived largely on the generosity of foreign donors and individuals who gave hundreds of millions of dollars to the global charity. But now, as Mrs. Clinton seeks the White House, the funding of the sprawling philanthropy has become an Achilles’ heel for her campaign and, if she is victorious, potentially her administration as well.
With Mrs. Clinton facing accusations of favoritism toward Clinton Foundation donors during her time as secretary of state, former President Bill Clinton told foundation employees on Thursday that the organization would no longer accept foreign or corporate donations should Mrs. Clinton win in November.
But while the move could avoid the awkwardness of Mr. Clinton jetting around the world asking for money while his wife is president, it did not resolve a more pressing question: how her administration would handle longtime donors seeking help from the United States, or whose interests might conflict with the country’s own.
The Clinton Foundation has accepted tens of millions of dollars from countries that the State Department — before, during and after Mrs. Clinton’s time as secretary — criticized for their records on sex discrimination and other human-rights issues. The countries include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Brunei and Algeria.
Saudi Arabia has been a particularly generous benefactor. The kingdom gave between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation. (Donations are typically reported in broad ranges, not specific amounts.) At least $1 million more was donated by Friends of Saudi Arabia, which was co-founded by a Saudi prince.
Saudi Arabia also presents Washington with a complex diplomatic relationship full of strain. The kingdom is viewed as a bulwark to deter Iranian adventurism across the region and has been a partner in the fight against terrorism across the Persian Gulf and wider Middle East.
At the same time, though, American officials have long worried about Saudi Arabia’s suspected role in promoting a hard-line strain of Islam, which has some adherents who have been linked to violence. Saudi officials deny any links to terrorism groups, but critics point to Saudi charities that fund organizations suspected of ties to militant cells.
Brian Fallon, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said the Clintons and the foundation had always been careful about donors. “The policies that governed the foundation’s activities during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state already went far beyond legal requirements,” he said in a statement, “and yet the foundation submitted to even more rigorous standards when Clinton declared her candidacy for president, and is pledging to go even further if she wins.”
Mrs. Clinton’s opponent, Donald J. Trump, could face his own complications if he becomes president, with investments abroad and hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate debt — financial positions that could be affected by moves he makes in the White House. And on Friday, Paul Manafort resigned as chairman of the Trump campaign, in part because of reports about his lucrative consulting work on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians.
Still, Mr. Trump has seized on emails released over the past several weeks from Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, in which a handful of donors are mentioned. He has attacked her over an email chain that showed Douglas J. Band, an adviser to Mr. Clinton, seeking to arrange a meeting between a senior American government official and Gilbert Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian real estate developer who donated between $1 million and $5 million. Mr. Chagoury explained through a spokesman that he had simply wanted to provide insights on elections in Lebanon.
Some emails and other records described donors seeking and in some cases obtaining meetings with State Department officials. None showed Mrs. Clinton making decisions in favor of any contributors, but her allies fear that additional emails might come out and provide more fodder for Mr. Trump.
Craig Minassian, a spokesman for the foundation, said the decision to forgo corporate and foreign money had nothing to do with the emails. The foundation will continue to raise money from American individuals and charities.
“The only factor is that we remove the perception problems, if she wins the presidency,” he said, “and make sure that programs can continue in some form for people who are being helped.”
But Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative group that has sued to obtain records from Mrs. Clinton’s time at the State Department, said that “the damage is done.”
“The conflicts of interest are cast in stone, and it is something that the Clinton administration is going to have to grapple with,” Mr. Fitton said. “It will cast a shadow over their policies.”
And in an election year in which a majority of Americans say they do not trust Mrs. Clinton, even some allies questioned why the foundation had not reined in foreign donations sooner, or ended them immediately.
A Bloomberg poll in June showed that 72 percent of voters said it bothered them either a lot or a little that the Clinton Foundation took money from foreign countries while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. In a CNN/ORC International Poll the same month, 38 percent of voters said Mr. Clinton should completely step down from the foundation, while 60 percent said he should be able to continue working with the foundation if his wife became president. Mr. Clinton said Thursday he would leave the foundation’s board if Mrs. Clinton won.
Edward G. Rendell, a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, said the foundation should be disbanded if Mrs. Clinton wins, and he added that it would make sense for the charity to stop taking foreign donations immediately.
“I think they’ll do the right thing,” Mr. Rendell said, “and the right thing here is, without question, that the first gentleman have nothing to do with raising money for the foundation.”
Mr. Minassian said ending foreign fund-raising before other sources of money could be found, and without knowing who will win the election, could needlessly gut programs that help provide, for instance, H.I.V. medication to children in Africa.
Begun in 1997, the foundation has raised roughly $2 billion and is overseen by a board that includes Mr. Clinton and the couple’s daughter, Chelsea. Mrs. Clinton joined when she left the State Department and stepped down in 2015 before beginning her campaign. Its work covers 180 countries, helping fund more than 3,500 projects.
Having a former president at the helm proved particularly productive, with foreign leaders and business people opening their doors — and their wallets — to the preternaturally sociable Mr. Clinton.
Among the charity’s accomplishments: Its Clinton Health Access Initiative — which is run by Ira C. Magaziner, who was a White House aide involved in Mrs. Clinton’s failed effort to overhaul the health care system in her husband’s first term — renegotiated the cost of H.I.V. drugs to make them accessible to 11.5 million people. The foundation helped bring healthier meals to more than 31,000 schools in the United States, and it has helped 105,000 farmers in East Africa increase their yields, according to the foundation’s tally.
In December 2008, shortly before Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state, Mr. Clinton released a list of more than 200,000 donors to defuse speculation about conflicts.
Soon after, Mrs. Clinton agreed to keep foundation matters separate from official business, including a pledge to “not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that has a direct and predictable effect upon” the foundation without a waiver. The Obama White House had particularly disliked the gatherings of world leaders, academics and business people, called the Clinton Global Initiative, that the foundation was holding overseas. The foundation limited the conferences to domestic locations while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. On Thursday, Mr. Clinton said the gathering in September in New York would be the foundation’s last.
One of the attendees at these conferences speaks to the stickiness of some donor relationships.
Victor Pinchuk, a steel magnate whose father-in-law, Leonid Kuchma, was president of Ukraine from 1994 to 2005, has directed between $10 million and $25 million to the foundation. He has lent his private plane to the Clintons and traveled to Los Angeles in 2011 to attend Mr. Clinton’s star-studded 65th birthday celebration.
Between September 2011 and November 2012, Douglas E. Schoen, a former political consultant for Mr. Clinton, arranged about a dozen meetings with State Department officials on behalf of or with Mr. Pinchuk to discuss the continuing political crisis in Ukraine, according to reports Mr. Schoen filed as a registered lobbyist.
“I had breakfast with Pinchuk. He will see you at the Brookings lunch,” Melanne Verveer, a Ukrainian-American then working for the State Department, wrote in a June 2012 email to Mrs. Clinton.
A previously undisclosed email obtained by Citizens United, the conservative advocacy group, through public records lawsuits shows the name of Mr. Pinchuk, described as one of Ukraine’s “most successful businessmen,” among those on an eight-page list of influential people invited to a dinner party at the Clintons’ home.
Earlier in 2012, Ambassador John F. Tefft wrote to Mrs. Clinton about a visit to Ukraine by Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, “at the invitation of oligarch, Victor Pinchuk.” Mrs. Clinton replied, “As you know, hearing nice things about your children is as good as it gets.”
In July 2013, the Commerce Department began investigating complaints that Ukraine — and by extension Mr. Pinchuk’s company, Interpipe — and eight other countries had illegally dumped a type of steel tube on the American market at artificially low prices.
A representative for Mr. Pinchuk said the investigation had nothing to do with the State Department, had started after Mrs. Clinton’s tenure and been suspended in July 2014. He added that at least 100 other people had attended the dinner party at Mrs. Clinton’s house and that she and Mr. Pinchuk had spoken briefly about democracy in Ukraine.
A deal involving the sale of American uranium holdings to a Russian state-owned enterprise was another example of the foundation intersecting with Mrs. Clinton’s official role in the Obama administration. Her State Department was among the agencies that signed off on the deal, which involved major Clinton charitable backers from Canada.
There was no evidence that Mrs. Clinton had exerted influence over the deal, but the timing of the transaction and the donations raised questions about whether the donors had received favorable handling.
Even if Mr. Clinton steps down, there could be remaining complications about a potential president’s name being affixed to an international foundation. And Chelsea Clinton, who is its vice chairwoman, would continue her leadership role.
“It is very difficult to see how the organization called the Clinton Foundation can continue to exist during a Clinton presidency without that posing all sorts of consequences,” said John Wonderlich, the interim executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group in Washington. “What they announced only addresses the most egregious potential conflicts.”
Considering the scale and scope of the foundation, Mr. Wonderlich said it was easy to “name a hundred different types of conflicts.”
The reality is, he added, “there are no recusals when you are president.”
Saturday, August 20, 2016
from the Boston Globe
WASHINGTON — Big chunks of the Clinton family’s charitable network would be exempt from a self-imposed ban on foreign and corporate donations if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, loopholes that highlight the complexity of disentangling her from the former first family’s myriad potential conflicts of interest.
The most prominent of the exceptions applies to the Boston-based Clinton Health Access Initiative, which in 2014 accounted for 66 percent of spending by the Clinton network of charities. The initiative’s board plans to meet “soon” to discuss whether to participate in the planned restrictions. Adhering to the policy announced by Bill Clinton on Thursday would starve the organization of much of its operating cash and could gut its work of combating the spread of HIV infections and malaria around the world.
At least two other Clinton-related charities also aren’t immediately affected by Thursday’s decision to limit donations.
They include the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an entity cofounded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, a joint venture between Bill Clinton and Canadian mining billionaire Frank Giustra.
The alliance, a nonprofit that brought in $17.5 million in contributions including money from Nike and the Walmart Foundation, doesn’t have plans to change its fund-raising.
Giustra, in a statement to the Globe, said that his organization would “spin CGEP into an independent entity” to continue its work.
“President Clinton and I believe it is important that we continue the work of alleviating poverty around the world,” said Giustra.
That statement illustrates both the high-minded goals of the Clinton charitable works and the potential for undue political influence if Hillary Clinton occupies the Oval Office. A piecemeal approach to addressing such potential conflicts is the response so far to this challenging juxtaposition of interests.
The job of curbing contributions from particular sources is further complicated by the confusing and sprawling network of Clinton-branded charities, which have been collecting cash under an array of legal entities on behalf of the Clintons’ favored causes for roughly 15 years.
It is an unprecedented situation in American politics, and a major political hurdle en route to another unprecedented possibility: the first former first lady — and the first lady — with a real shot at the presidency.
Bill Clinton’s announcement Thursday also provided Republicans with a new attack line: If the Clinton Foundation could cause conflict of interest for a Hillary Clinton White House, why didn’t the same standard apply to the Hillary Clinton State Department?
The Clintons said when President Obama tapped her for the post in 2009 that the foundation’s interests would be walled off from her work at the State Department. In practice, that border proved porous and problematic and prime fodder for political attacks.
“You’re going to have every GOP candidate in America asking: ‘Do you believe that the Clinton Foundation should be shut down?’ ” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich said he had a two-hour briefing from the Republican National Committee on the various pieces of the Clinton charitable enterprise. “It is staggering,” Gingrich said. “This is a corrupt institution, run for corrupt purposes.”
In financial terms, if not in visibility, the biggest piece of the Clinton charities is the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), with offices on Dorchester Avenue. Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and longtime Clinton lawyer Bruce Lindsey sit on the board of directors for both CHAI and the Clinton Foundation.
“CHAI is a separate legal entity from the Clinton Foundation with its own board,” said CHAI spokesman Regan Lachapelle in a statement. “The CHAI board will be meeting soon to determine its next steps.”
Shutting off all access to foreign government grants would be potentially crippling to the charity, which relied on such funds for 60 percent of its revenue in 2015, according to the charity’s papers. Another 38 percent of funds came from private foundations, some of which are connected to large corporations, including the Ikea Foundation.
Though the CHAI organization is by far the largest piece of the Clintons’ network, it maintains a much lower profile and has a history of failing to follow the rules set up by the related Clinton Foundation to avoid conflicts of interest while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
This charity works in 32 countries and saw a huge increase in foreign donations while she helmed the State Department. But CHAI never reported those increases to the State Department as was required by an agreement hammered out between the charity and the Obama administration. It also failed to report new foreign donations, another requirement.
The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership has been another flashpoint. It was founded to create “social enterprises that help people lift themselves out of poverty,” according to Clinton charity filings. The New York Times revealed that Giustra benefited when Clinton’s State Department signed off on a deal that helped Giustra’s uranium mining interests.
Chelsea Clinton and Lindsey also serve on the board for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. That group already bans funds from food or beverage companies but otherwise “welcomes everyone to the table,” said Megan Corey, a spokeswoman for the organization. “We will continue to follow our own separate fund-raising policies,” she said.
The broader ban on corporate and foreign donations also would affect charities under the more narrow auspices of the Clinton Foundation, including the Clinton Presidential Center, which houses the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Ark.
This creates a unique problem for the former president: The donation ban does extend to the sprawling library, according to Clinton Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian, and it would therefore be the only one of its kind starved of corporate donations.
The Clintons have been making some preparations for the big shift that her possible presidency entails: In 2013, after Hillary Clinton stepped down as secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation embarked on a massive fund-raising endeavour aimed at creating a $250 million endowment.
Donors to that cause included people who would now be barred from making contributions to the Clinton Foundation charities, including Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who offered $1 million from his private charity. Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien also contributed.
Milwaukee erupts in riots that injure police officers, but it barely becomes national news. Louisiana is devastated by floods, but it takes a week for the national press to notice. The number of fatal overdoses has exploded since 2010. The suicide rate has increased by 2 percent per year since 2006, and hit the highest levels in nearly 30 years last year.
If you view the national news media, based in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and a handful of other cities, as way too monolithic in its political views and driven by conscious and subconscious agendas, the half-hearted-at-best interest in these stories isn’t that hard to explain. These stories aren’t easily used to advance the narrative that Republicans are bad and Democrats are good.
If a terrible natural disaster in Louisiana can be blamed on a Republican president, then it’s one of the biggest stories of the decade. If the lack of a public statement on a Louisiana disaster during a presidential vacation might reflect badly on a Democratic president, it’s best to treat the flood as a “page A4″ story, check-the-box journalism.
A paranoid schizophrenic shooting a Democratic Congresswoman in Tuscon warrants national conversation on whether the Tea Party’s rhetoric is inherently inciting to violence, and whether gun owners as a whole represent some threat to their fellow citizens. But an illegal immigrant shooting a young woman in San Francisco offers no further explanation or discussion, no need for a national conversation on whether a “sanctuary city” might protect dangerous criminals. A racist madman shooting up a Charleston church group indicts all Southerners, but the twisted cruelty of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell is just a “local crime story.”
If there really is a giant and widening cultural gap between America’s elites and the rest of the citizenry in “flyover country,” how much of it is driven by narrative-minded journalism? If you die in a particular way that can advance the Democrats’ legislative agenda, your death is going to be an enormously big deal. If the circumstances of your death are politically inconvenient to the Left – Brian Terry or the Benghazi four or those who died on the waiting list for the VA — there are no greater lessons to be learned or need for further action; it’s just an unfortunate set of circumstances. One set of citizens are in the picture; one set of citizens on the periphery get cropped out. It just doesn’t fit the picture that someone wants to create.