Lack of Quid Pro Quo Doesn’t Make Soliciting Donations to Clinton Foundation Ethical or Legal

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Hillary’s supporters Senator Claire McCaskill and former DefSec Leon Panetta were on the Sunday Talk Shows yesterday defending her in light of revelations she may have solicited donations to The Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State… at the minimum, an ethics violation, and at worst, a crime… citing a “lack of evidence” that she did anything in exchange for these donations. As the old detective saying goes: “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” But their argument completely misses the point (and they know it). It is entirely improper for someone so high up in any administration to be asking for support of a pet cause when they are in a position of power. Rarely is political “quid pro quo” in exchange for donations as obvious as when the (Bill) Clinton White House was accused of gifting stays in “The Lincoln Bedroom” to donors to his re-election campaign. And in 2004, it was discovered that “104 of 246 ‘Pioneers’ (largest contributors to the Bush campaign) ended up with either a job or appointment in the Bush Administration. But another reason such fundraising is taboo is the concern that White House officials soliciting donations puts our political friends/allies in the awkward position of feeling obligated to donate to stay in the good graces of the powerful person soliciting them… OR… every bit as worrisome… the potential problem that WH officials themselves might feel “obligated” towards the donor in some way.

It’s like The Boss asking if you’d like to buy some of his/her daughter’s Girl Scout Cookies. No pressure, right? But who’s going to say “No” to someone you’d like to please? Buying the Boss’ daughters cookies may not result in anything so obvious as a prime parking space or a pay raise, but simply not being excluded from principal meetings, being invited to play golf with The Brass, or not being fired the next time you show up late to work, are ALSO possible perks that might sway you to purchase 30 boxes of over-priced cookies you neither want nor need. But short of contacting every donor to The Clinton Foundation between the years of 2009-2013 to ask if they felt pressured to donate (and expect an honest answer), or auditing the Secretary’s phone logs to see if donors calls were put through or returned more quickly/frequently than those of people whom refused to donate, how exactly does one “prove” such donations had no influence?

Back in 2008, there was a minor “scandal” when it was discovered Bush Administration officials had used government resources to engage in partisan political activity (using government resources to get Republicans elected in the 2006 midterms)… a violation of the 1939 “Hatch Act”. And in 2004 it was revealed:
 

[D]eputy director of political affairs Scott Jennings gave a PowerPoint presentation that included slides listing Democratic and Republican seats the White House viewed as vulnerable in 2008, a map of contested Senate seats and other information on 2008 election strategy, GSA Administrator Lurita Doan asked how GSA could help “our candidates.”

 

Since Hillary is not accused of fundraising for her own political campaign, soliciting donations for her Foundation would not likely be a violation of the Hatch Act specifically, but the ethics of using one’s political position to fund-raise is no less unethical. Ethics rules are clear: “The Code of Federal Regulations says government employees should not participate in matters in which they have a personal financial interest.” The problem is, The House Ethics Committee has only defined “personal financial interest” as “campaign activity”, so whether or not any laws were broken might be a matter for the Supreme Court… of which Clinton is likely to have at least one (the current) vacancy to fill (if not more.)

In 2008, when Clinton was picked to be Obama’s Secretary of State, she pledged to provide him with an annual list of donors to The Clinton Foundation “to ease concerns that… as secretary of state… she could be vulnerable to accusations of foreign influence.” But after just one year, in 2010, donations to the “Clinton Health Access Initiative” (CHAI)… which accounts for more than 50% of the Foundation’s donations… were excluded from that list. No explanation for the exclusion has ever been given despite requests. [Ibid]

Last week, the NY Post published an article accusing the former Secretary of State of running “a shocking pay-to-play scheme” out of the State Department, where “fat cat donors” were granted “favors and access to Clinton’s inner-circle.”

Last April, the GOP posted a video of ABC’s Jon Karl asking White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest if he could “categorically deny” that donors to the Clinton Foundation or paid Bill Clinton speaking fees received “favorable treatment from this administration or the State Department [while Hillary was in charge]?” Earnest seemingly dodges the question, citing a “memorandum” that was drafted to outline “all of the existing ethical guidelines” to ensure Hillary’s State Department was not in violation of those guidelines. But when a second reporter notes that “The Clinton Foundation” was specifically exempted from that memorandum, Earnest dismisses “accusations [that] have not been accompanied by much evidence.” Feel better now?

I’m reminded of the fact Debbie Wasserman Schultz was “rewarded” with role in the Clinton campaign after being ousted when it was revealed she used the DNC to aide the Clinton Campaign to defeat Bernie Sanders… another serious breach of ethics. Such an act would make Schultz political poison anywhere else. To the Clinton campaign, ethics violations in the name of loyalty is what it’s all about.

When Hillary’s defenders demand her critics provide “proof” of quid pro quo in exchange for donations, they are setting up a straw man argument… something you thought only Conservatives did… you know, like skirting the rules then making excuses.
 

I'm voting Democrat but don't know who

 


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August 15, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, mystery, Politics, Scandals