Michael Maiello's picture

    Stop Hating on the Clinton Foundation

    On a slow news Friday in August both Slate and New York ran thumb suckers calling on the Clintons to shut down their foundation.  This is in response to a Clinton promise that the foundation would take no foreign donations during a Clinton presidency. Look, I get it.  It's not just foreign powers that want to influence the U.S. president.  Heck, it's not even mostly foreign powers that want such influence.

    But the truth is, a guy like Jamie Dimon is going to have more access to president Clinton than you or I will, whether or not he makes donations to the Clinton Foundation, because he runs a company that employs thousands of people and controls trillions of dollars in assets. That's just life.  Such people have access to Obama as well and had access to George W. Bush and to Bill Clinton and to George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.

    Now, I get the argument that shuttering the foundation removes a potential appearance of conflict from the board and I see why that's a good thing.  However, these are the Clintons we're talking about.  You remove one sore spot and their critics will just find another. If it's not Benghazi, it's the emails, if it's not the emails it's Vince Foster, if it's not Vince Foster it's Jodi Foster.  Why Jodi Foster?  Because Clintons. Shut down the foundation and Clinton's critics will still insist she is corrupt. Or suffering from dementia.

    One of the reasons that the Clintons seem to do whatever they want is that they have learned that giving into their detractors gains them nothing, not even good will.  They know better than to bother.

    Besides, the Clinton Foundation, as an arm of the First Gentleman or whatever they will call Bill, could be a wildly awesome thing.  He could wield the power of a giant NGO to battle global poverty, fight diseases and alleviate conflicts in concert with the U.S. government. Bill could, as a former president with an independent war chest, actually be the most helpful presidential spouse in history.  It's not worth giving up the possibility.



    I agree with every word.  When the Clinton Foundation is brought up by Republicans OR most media reporters, the assumption comes across that they are talking about a crime syndicate rather than an effective foundation that has done much good in the world, for the very neediest.  The Clinton Foundation is rated A for the percentage of $$ that actually goes to charitable projects.  

    Donald T brags about giving money to Veterans until (late in the game) a WAPO reporter looked into it and found that he didn't donate anything.  So then, the Donald wrote a check for One Million Dollars -- not addressing the other supposed donors to his Town Hall snit (supposedly several more millions) -- and everyone seems to be happy with that.  He has a "charity" whose funds he illegally used to win a bid on someone else's charity auction.  Who cares?  What grade does the Trump charity get?  (I plan to come back with this info)

    Seriously, the bar is so low for him that any scrutiny is hardly worth it.

    But for Hillary there are no limits.  Congress is even investigating the FBI because the investigation they did was not successful at knee-capping her.  The point you make about the Clintons not responding to criticism because it just invites an attack from somewhere else, I believe is spot on.  It gets them nothing, and only invites only more outrageous demands.  On CNN when Trump's taxes come up, they invariably throw in that Hillary has yet to release her speeches (like NO OTHER Presidential candidate EVER has even been ASKED to do!)

    All I have is Carter in my head.

    Jimmy spends his entire time as an ex-President attempting to do right; he does this as a goooooooooood man doing gooooood things.

    And Bill is attempting to do the same thing.

    Instead the Clintons are shat upon every goddamn day.


    Well, how much would you pay to have a Clinton show up at one of your fundraisers?

    Damn, do the right thing and ye shall be incriminated!

    You have read as I have read all these pretend charities where 30% or more of contributions end up going to 'overhead'.

    The Clinton Foundation has done so much for so many people.

    My standard for all of this shall always involve Carter.

    Trump never gave one goddamn thing away unless he was caught pretending to give stuff away.

    Oh well, good points Mike m.

    Wow. Are you saying that there are people that actually believe that the Clintons  are dishonest?


    Clintons = appearances

    Hillary should not remove the conflict of interest because her critics are demanding it. She should do it because it's the right thing to do.

    The concern is not that someone who employs thousands of people can access the President. The concern is that a rich person can influence the President by doing her a favor. And giving a substantial donation to her family's foundation is a favor, no matter how you slice it.

    If the President has any business with the donor, that favor creates a conflict of interest (not "a potential appearance of conflict," as you put it). And conflicts of interest are bad for democracy. If Hillary were a Supreme Court justice, and the Clinton Foundation accepted money from someone with a case before the court, she would be obliged to recuse herself. Protesting that she would rule impartially is not a sufficient excuse. A decision by her in favor of the donor would be tainted regardless.

    Presidents cannot recuse themselves, so they are obliged to minimize conflicts of interests--especially from rich and powerful people who already have undue influence. If Jamie Dimon makes a large donation to the Clinton Foundation, and the Justice Department subsequently decides not to prosecute executives at JP Morgan Chase, that decision will be tainted. Protesting that Dimon's donation had no influence cannot remove the taint.

    Now I get that the Clinton Foundation does good things and that it would be a shame to restrain or close it, but it's not such an indispensable institution that it's worth the harm that it may do to the White House by undermining the public's trust. And if its donors really want to help the world--as opposed to helping themselves by doing favors for the Clintons--I'm sure they can find another worthy foundation to donate to.

    Because it's the right thing to do. What a concept! smiley I agree completely with your well written comment. 

    Except the Clintons make no money off of the foundation. If they were into the Red Cross, the AIDS foundation or the NY Yankees presumably someone could buy influence through donations to their favorite causes or seasons' box seats. In the real world, Dick Cheney didn't give a fuck and continued to make a profit of his prior business that benefited from his war and energy decisions. Karl Rove as well if I recall. But in our pathetic liberal fantasy world we have to run scared because rightwing dickheads may rail about the left doing something for healthcare, poverty, edcation or global warming so we shit ourselves avoiding any appearance that a fucking well-regulated, rather transparent non-profit doesnt expose a conflict of interest (we as Democrats couldn't protect ACORN from shutting down over criminal slander and misrepresentation, so why should I worry hat the world's most politically powerful couple is protecting theirs?) After we shit ourselves for a year over Hillary's speeches and the worry aboout some quid-pro-quo somewhere. You'd think we'd get tired of this shit, but we revel in it. Our ideal is Joe Biden with maybe $200k to his name despite doing the bidding of he insurance industry all these years, or Bernie Sanders with a shack in Vermont somewhere. It's only people who've no conception of money, not even large-scale charity work, who can save the world's largest economy from the horrid scourge of capitalism and balance the playing field, eh?

    Obviously the other party has its problems as well - thinking that anyone with money is smart and can transfer that private skill if exists to government service. A pox on both of our houses.

    PS to note - the right successfully egged on the assassination ofan abortion doctor, and instead of fighting back, we let them push on and close clinic after clinic through both intimidation and new draconian laws. But we never fight so hard against them as we fight against our own. Cue Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting - the Republicans are pathetic, we're worse than pathetic.

    We're not talking about "rightwing dickheads" here. I care about corporate influence in both parties, as do many other liberals. The cronyism in the Bush administration was abominable, and I held those folks accountable. I will also hold the Clintons accountable.

    To your point, as President, Hillary Clinton does not need the Clinton Foundation to work on healthcare, poverty, education and global warming. On the contrary, it will get in the way of achieving those ends by undermining trust in her intentions.

    PS The Clinton Foundation is not a slush fund, true, but it sure ain't the Red Cross.

    How the Red Cross raised half a billion for Haiti and built six houses.

    CNN review of the Red Cross' tax filings from July 2010 to June 2014 shows no detailed expenditures for its numerous relief programs, including in Haiti.

    Those documents, called Form 990, do show details on salaries, including McGovern's $597,961 total compensation in the most recent filing.

    The Clinton Foundation does far more good than the Red Cross Club for former politicians.

    Isn't that a bit like shutting down Planned Parenthood because abortions, you know, and it looks bad? Forget about how much good it does, there's too much controversy.  It has to go.

    The Clinton Foundation does good work and will go on doing good work.  I don't see a conflict of interest.  Shutting it down or taking the control away from the Clintons will only add to the list of reasons to distrust them.  Enough already.

    Hillary and Bill do not run Planned Parenthood. It does not have their name on it. It is not managed by their associates. They do not personally solicit donations on its behalf. (And frankly, the Clinton Foundation is no Planned Parenthood.)

    To answer your question, a conflict of interest will occur when someone who wants a favor from the White House does Hillary Clinton a favor to by making a large donation to the Clinton foundation.

    Again, this is not just right-wing people saying this.

    Ed Rendell: "I definitely think if she wins the presidency they have to disband it. I know it’ll be hard for President (Bill) Clinton because he cares very deeply about what the foundation has done."

    Van Jones: "They have to turn the keys over. They have to pick somebody who’s an unimpeachable global citizen to be the chair."

    Matthew Yglesias: "There's nothing you can do to make the Clinton Foundation not smack of impropriety."


    Do you agree with Van Jones?  If so, to whom should they give the keys?  Expecting that anyone in the Clinton orbit is regarded as "unimpeachable" to critics seems a stretch, so who would be an acceptable person to take it over?  And if Rendell and Yglesias are right, then I guess it just needs to fold.  I'd love to hear from the worldwide foundations, charities and organizations that depend on that funding - I'm sure they have some ideas of what they'll do to continue their work without the funds they arguably depend on. 

    Let George Soros do it. Extra credit, possibly even more a bete noir for the pugs.

    I used Planned Parenthood as an analogy to show the recklessness of demonizing an organization that doesn't deserve that kind of criticism.  The Clintons have already agreed to certain concessions in order to keep the emphasis on charity and not on them.  Yglesias' reckless comment smacks of Right Wing protests against Planned Parenthood.  It only serves to damage the Foundation.  Who benefits from this?

    The public benefits. Neither I nor Yglesias criticized the Clinton Foundation. What we are criticizing is the conflict of interest between the foundation and the (future) administration. The Clintons have made some concessions, but it's not sufficient to avoid that conflict of interest.

    Perception nearly destroyed Planned Parenthood and perception will make it just as easy to destroy the Clinton Foundation.  The Right has latched onto the conflict and is busy painting the word "corruption" all over the foundation.  Public outcries from both the left and the right to sanitize this organization by eliminating the two star principals might work if only it wasn't named The Clinton Foundation.  They've already made concessions about donors. Bill has already said he'll limit his participation.  Where is the conflict of interest?  What more do you want?

    So what is Bill Clinton allowed to do the next 4/8 years? wear a hat at McDonald's? bake cookies? Clarence Thomas' wife founded and works for Liberty Central after her Heritage and other Liberty-related gigs - not much call for her to step down to avoid conflict of interest on the court for all those loony religious right-based cases. But hey, Democrats have to live by rules no one else can see.


    Ftr, I believe that when Virginia Thomas lobbies for political causes, Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from related cases. I hold the Clintons to the same standard. This is called intellectual consistency.

    Ftr, I believe there's no way in hell this will ever happen. This is called practical reality, ensconced in acceptance of the never-ending double standard.

    We are now in month 5(?) of Republicans even refusing to review the president's Supreme Court nominee, all supposedly because of a rhetorical summation Joe Biden provided 24 years ago that he reversed after 10 minutes. The next time there's a Republican president, this matter of principle will be flushed down the shitter so fast the floor tiles will quake. As such, I find it extremely hard to give a damn, short of some actual evidence of real wrongdoing like selling white children into North Africa or a couple keys of heroin smuggled aboard Air Force One or maybe a billion dollars re-routed to a Swiss bank account marked B+H Klintonian.

    As it is, the Supreme Court just legalized Influence Peddling, which probably escaped most folks' notice as well. We do need that 5th & probably 6th seat.

    While you are upset by the Clinton Foundation, the media has allowed Trump to normalize having a white supremacist had the campaign of s national political party. There is no media demand for him to address Steve Bannon in the manner Obama had to address Jeremiah Wright. Trump is in debt to China. If Hillary had to pay off a car loan to China, there would be outrage. The foundation "looks" bad to you. There is no proof of wrongdoing. I don't give a flip about the Clinton Foundation. I care about Trump. That is morally consistent for me.

    Edit to add:

    Here is an MSNBC anchor taking all of 33 seconds to destroy the latest email/ foundation scandal


    Thank you, but I will continue to hold people to higher standards than "not as bad as Trump."

    Fwiw, the reason I have taken time to comment on Hillary's relationship with the foundation is because I expect her to become president. I would like people at dag to take the this issue seriously because I believe it will eventually bite her in the ass. However, as you have previously told me, you "don't have time" to consider criticism of Hillary, so I will quit now.

    The Clintons will step away. The criticism will continue, Any foundation donor will be said to have already bought access. This line of attack is pretty clear. They will step away, but the wingnuts will still attack.


    There is nothing a Democratic President can do that will dispel the perception, the conviction and the lies of the GOP that they have NO legitimate right to fulfill the role of their elected office.

    A both siderist media will gladly give air time, aid and comfort to them to make that case.

    If you don't understand that you haven't been paying attention the last 24 years.

    I am not talking about the GOP. See my comment below about "two different conversations." 

    PS It is always amusing when people lecture me about right-wing BS

    After a person is stopped and frisked repeatedly, and no crime found, you start to demand that you want to see criminal evidence when the next frisk occurs.

    You better talk about the GOP because that conversation is what will sink your progressive agenda,  whether 'tainted' or untainted, the GOP will pull all their dirty tricks to stop it dead.

    No wrongdoing at the foundation, but we are going "Minority Report" on Hillary because we "know" something bad will happen. We will get around to the GOP later.

    And if its donors really want to help the world--as opposed to helping themselves by doing favors for the Clintons--I'm sure they can find another worthy foundation to donate to.

    A big part of my point is that they won't.  Or, rather, if their goal is to get to the Clintons, they will simply find another route towards the Clintons.  Jamie Dimon, since he's the dude I'm picking on randomly, doesn't need to donate a cent.  He will have a route towards the next president because the next president will not be able to ignore an institution the size of JP Morgan Chase.

    Obviously, I'm very forgiving on this issue, as I posted I'd like to see Bill actively running the Clinton Foundation as First Man Candy, and he's already agreed not to do that.  He's going to step aside and it will be the Clinton Family Foundation in name only, or maybe Chelsea's project.  If this is the case, it's really not a big deal.  The foundation can do more good than its existence can do bad.

    And, as I said, the conflict of interest angle doesn't matter because Clinton's critics will just find another thing to obsess over.  It's never going to end, so why give here?

    I don't think it'd be necessarily wrong to shut it down.  You make good points, as do others who want this gone. Obama would definitely shut it down.  But Clinton is not so cautious as he is.  Her approach (and Bill's) is to push boundaries while Obama's is to master borders and do amazing things within them.  If Hillary Clinton chooses a presidency with an operating family foundation, I support her.

    But, I'll put to you, as you're the historian -- did any of the wealthy presidents from the early 20th centuries have ongoing, family-centric philanthropic efforts concurrent with their terms?  No trap here, I have no idea what the answer is.


    Or more broadly, what were FDR's conflict of interests? Kennedy's? LBJ and his Texas media business? VP Rockefeller? The 2 Bush's? How do these compare with that huge windfall loss in Whitewater, etc?

    The Kennedys put in a proxy Representative to hold a congressional seat until Ted was old enough. How quaint is that?

    And, as I said, the conflict of interest angle doesn't matter because Clinton's critics will just find another thing to obsess over.  It's never going to end, so why give here?

    Mike, what Clinton's critics obsess over is irrelevant. The question is whether large donations to the Clinton Foundation from influence-seekers will undermine faith in Hillary's administration (and the federal government in general). I say it will--not because some right-wingers are carping about it but because rich people doing favors for the Clintons creates a conflict between the foundation's interests and the country's interests.

    I don't know whether any previous president has controlled a sprawling global foundation like the Clinton Foundation, but influence peddling is a perennial concern. It was a big deal during George W.'s administration and also Bill Clinton's. And in this era of historic mistrust of cozy relationships between government and business, it's a bigger deal than ever.

    Even if there were never a Clinton foundation, one could curry favor with a sitting president just by donating to that president's party. While I get that the Clinton Foundation is optically more egregious, it's not practically more so.  Nobody gets to be president without valuable institutions behind them, as Trump is about to find out.  There will always be some way in.

    That was my tongue-in-cheek re Koch Brothers and Soros - Citizens United already lets them buy elections directly- why do they need a circuitous way to buy influence if it doesnt go into thwir pocket anyway? The front door's wide open, yet they're worried about the latch on the 2nd story window.

    I think that it is clear that we just don't all agree about this issue.  I am on the side of having Bill step down as CEO and the Foundation not accepting donations from corporations or from foreign donors, which the Clintons say they will do.  Others think it would remain as a potential cause for legitimate questioning of motivations of a President Hillary Clinton's.  Good people can disagree.

    But what gets into my craw about this is that the "non transparent" Clintons are scrutinized this way precisely because of their transparency.  We have a very limited bit of knowledge about Trump's financial associations and his refusal to release (even his not-under-audit) tax returns.  We have all read about his great debt, and his indebtedness to various banks, including those in Germany, Russia, and now Saudi Arabia is chiming in:  


    Surely this is more concerning than all this falderal about the Clintons that is constantly hyped, but I only see it in articles on the Internet, and never pushed in questions from the media. 


    I find it sad that Bill Clinton should have to step down from a foundation he has worked so hard to build.  There is no good those two can ever do that will be good enough.  They're by no means perfect but leaving out the good they do does not present a true picture of their long public careers. From both the left and the right, the attacks against them are relentless.  I doubt that will ever change.

    Running a non-profit charitable foundation is clearly JUST AS BAD as being hundreds of millions of dollars in hock to foreign banks. Or worse!

    Seriously, how is the NON-profit enterprise a problem and a FOR-profit enterprise not?

    They're both egregious conflicts of interest. We just have to face the fact that the only people who have proved they don't care about money are unemployed homeless people. Personally I won't vote for anyone with a house or a job, they're all corrupt.

    A few years ago I lived in a place that had a terrible winter:  "Snowzilla" we called it, and then it was followed by torrents of rain in Spring, and temperatures in the 100's during the summer.  I remember talking to a friend and wistfully saying that I wanted to live in a place with no weather.

    Democrats want a candidate with no successes so that future successes can't be blamed on their achieving office.  Grow up, people!

    Bill Clinton's mother was poor; he was from a broken home, and made a success of himself.  Hillary's mother was poor; her father was a self-made man who started a small business at which he personally worked.  Both Clintons are very smart, and good speakers, and people like to hear what they have to say.  They have been smart also about making themselves financially successful, and the Clinton Foundation is a feather in their caps, but not a money tree.  No silver spoon for either of them, but it is Trump who claims proudly to be self-made, with only a paltry million $ pocket-money gift from papa.  His money is a point of pride for him, and that seems to be fine with all of those who worry so about the Clinton's successes.  Does anyone think for a minute that he will be above-board about his financial interests?  Hint:  No.

    Avoiding the appearance of conflict of interest is a moot point.  To Republicans and most of the media, the Clintons are guilty of whatever anyone says about them.  If they end their [mafia connections] --- er --- their very successful charity that does world-wide good, it will serve to prove to the snarling right wing that they were correct all along.  If they don't cancel their charity, it will serve to prove to the snarling right win that they were correct all along.

    The Clintons have stated the following:

    If Hillary is elected, Bill Clinton will resign from the Foundation

    They will accept neither foreign, nor Corporate donations during her tenure.

    If that isn't good enough for anyone, I suggest they take a good look at the world, and the requirements that are so unfairly leveled at Hillary Clinton.  

    Truly sick of this!

    Hear, hear!  So sick of it too.

    I think there should be some degree of separation and what's been proposed seems adequate to me.

    In case anyone is interested in a somewhat shallow dive into what the Clinton Foundation does, this is interesting, as is this.  From the latter link:

    Asked for some examples of the work it performs itself, the Clinton Foundation listed these:

    • Clinton Development Initiative staff in Africa train rural farmers and help them get access to seeds, equipment and markets for their crops.
    • Clinton Climate Initiative staff help governments in Africa and the Caribbean region with reforestation efforts, and in island nations to help develop renewable energy projects.
    • Staff at the Clinton Health Access Initiative, an independent, affiliated entity, work in dozens of nations to lower the cost of HIV/AIDS medicine, scale up pediatric AIDS treatment and promote treatment of diarrhea through life-saving Zinc/ORS treatment.
    • Clinton Health Matters staff work with local governments and businesses in the United States to develop wellness and physical activity plans.

    From the former:

    If you look at the Clinton Foundation’s consolidated expenses for 2014, which totaled $249 million, you’ll find that the biggest part of those expenses—57 percent—was for running the Clinton Health Access Initiative, or CHAI.   ...  The Gates Foundation is CHAI’s biggest funder. It gave it over $60 million last year alone.


    Meanwhile, the Clinton Foundation directly runs various programs tackling other problems. The largest of these, dollar-wise, is the Clinton Climate Initiative, which works to prevent deforestation, develop clean energy, and help island nations meet the climate challenge (as we’ve reported).  ...  The government of Norway, which gives large amounts of money globally to slow deforestation, is among the top funders of CCI.


    The big concern is that someone like the Koch Brothers or George Soros could donate hundreds of millions to the Clinton Foundation, gaining unseemly access and influence.

    I think people misunderstand what the Clinton Foundation is, it is not a foundation per say, but a public charity. What does that mean, precisely?  That means the foundation makes charitable donations to a variety of NGO's and other entities. The foundation does not provide grants from an endowment, but they provide charitable donations.

    They often work hand in hand with our foundations, like The Gates Foundation. 

    This is important because audited financials reflect the consolidated activities of all related entities, as required by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

     The article I've linked to above will give you a greater understanding of how to evaluate and understand the Clinton Foundation Public Charity.

    I'm not sure that it should close at all because the organization I work for relies heavily on grants and donations to survive. I am just not sure that shutting down an organized charitable foundation which can severely hurt the organizations relying on those funds to continue their work is a bridge we should cross. If this were any other Presidential candidate, I am not sure that anyone would suggest that this should happen.

    My thoughts, too, Teri, which is why I used the Planned Parenthood analogy.  This is a charity with a large universal umbrella. How would shutting it down affect the smaller organizations dependent on their assistance?  What would shutting it down gain?  What would taking away the Clinton clout do to it?  Who would be hurt most if the Clinton negators get their way?

    The Clintons have already agreed to a hands-off when Hillary becomes president.  What more are they supposed to do?


    Precisely.  For the most rabid critics on both left and right, nothing less than their extermination would suffice.

    Self-apologetic extermination. Must admit to thought-crime, make amends.

    I'm drinking the arsenic right now.


    Oh, wait!


    It's Vodka!  Never mind!

    The Clintons should not shut down their Foundation. The wingnuts would not be appeased. The wingnuts believe that non-existent ACORN is rigging the election against Trump. There was nothing good that came from giving in to the wing nuts on ACORN. Grow a backbone.

    Am I a wingnut? Are all the other Democrats who believe it should be shut down or isolated wingnuts?

    Are you a wingnut? That is a hard thing to nail down precisely but if you spin around counter-clockwise for a while and that gets you off, you are definitely some kind of nut. 

    In isolation, perhaps it's not a wingnut position. But this is the American political landscape, and knowing what we know, it's just another concern-trolling hand-wringing "oh-oh-oh look at what those Clintons are doing" mini-tempest. Sometimes our progressives and their right-wing loonies work very well in tandem against the middle.

    The Clintons make some bad mistakes, but 1) they do a whole lot politically and organizationally and charitably that I don't see any others come close to, and 2) they can go to the hairdresser and end up with 15 things that might have been wrong with it, whether insensitivity, conflict of interest, the wrong location, wrong style, etc. Trump plays on this same juvenile hyena behavior - even Hillary taking too long in the bathroom at the debates, and he knows 20% of America will nod & go 'waddup wid dat?' and another 30% will say, "hmmm, it doesn't sound unreasonable but maybe we should look into it", and he gets rewarded for sewing seeds of discontent and spawning another round of internet and TV debates where a sane people in a sane nation might theoretically ignore the whole goddamn thing. Unfortunately, that's not the Reality Show we live in.

    You are not a wingnut. The problem I have is that Progressives sometimes fold when there is no reason to fold. A video snippet was used to destroy the career of Shirley Sherrod.at the Department of Agriculture. ACORN was falsely accused of election fraud. No one in Congress stood up for the group when it was defunded. Now we are supposed to go along with destroying the Clinton Foundation.While Progressives bend over, the GOP is rallying behind a racist who hired another racist as his campaign CEO. We know how the foundation operates there is no reason for it's door to close.

    As bad, when the right published the false info & faked videos about "live birth from late abortions" at Planned Parenthood, the left spent more energy trying to tar Hillary with abandoning Planned Parenthood in her statements to defend them than in taking on the right's well-documented lies, thus letting people like Carly Fiorina keep this spinning for months. Completely typical. 

    Maybe if we give them Shirley Sherrod, ACORN, Black Lives Matter, and the Clinton Foundation, the wingnuts will be willing to negotiate the economy, criminal justice, immigration, etc in good faith. I won't be holding my breath.

    You left out health care.  But she would have to agree to close all Planned Parenthoods and promise to appoint Ted Cruz to the Supreme Court.  And then they would still vote to repeal the ACA.

    I am all for the Clintons shutting down and retiring and living happily ever after and in principle am in complete agreement that their foundation should be shut down if that's not what happens and instead Hillary becomes President. What I haven't heard discussed is how that would play out. What do you ethically do with all that money and all those employees and all the commitments they might have made?

    An excellent point.

    So who are your heroes who understand how to run government, how to get elected in a toxic environment, how to make positive change amidst chaos, how to moderately balance a budget while putting together a reasonably populist/liberal agenda, how to deal with a modern economy and changing priorities in the country and the world, how to align the different needs of 50 states and a vastly heterogenous population?

    By 6 years ago, I'd hoped that there would be a new generation of politicians, and even wrote here that I thought it was pretty unlikely that Hillary would have the physical and political energy to actually carry through another campaign, including after her fall & brain bit. But guess what? No new generation stood up - the best we got were 2 other fairly ancient stalwarts, Warren & Sanders with fairly incomplete visions, and fortunately her energy held together to manage to hold together through another glob of media concern and mini-scandals and mockumentaries and whatever.

    8 years ago I supported her against Obama, who I thought was too careful and overly-optimistic about the Republicans, changing Washington, how much leverage he had, his lack of experience, etc. Overall it worked out much as I expected - he did better than I thought based on his experience but still got played a lot, wasted time with stonewalling Republicans, shut down the broad grassroots advocacy group that would have helped the Democratic 50 state movement, expanded the surveillance state more than I would have predicted, but more or less held the ground and upheld somewhat an image of being Democrat that I wanted.

    So here we are with people wishing the Clintons would just retire and go away. Fine, find someone who isn't 1 step into the grave themselves and who has a broad enough vision and experience and balls to do it with a fair spark in their personality, rather than another Monty Python dead parrot skit (please note, the parrot was also "honest" and anti-establishment and yadda yadda yadda too - but still dead). Yeah, 2016 proved that 2 impossible candidates to actually run government well could get lots and lots of votes, one of them still in the race, especially with media providing free advocacy, hype and scandal to sell the horserace and keep a lukewarm fire hot.

    Re: charities, I worked with the Soros OpenSociety people for a time, and while I had my complaints - loud complaints, as you can imagine an even younger and more obstreperous PP - for whatever faults they had, they were the only positive forceful group around with a bit of finance & political savvy for getting something real done, not just where I was, but all over East Europe and ex-Soviet areas, and the end results were quite good. There isn't a charitable foundation around that doesn't have huge embarrassing pockmarks for all to see - it's a business of sucking up to rich self-important people and making big shows with blown-up checks in someone's district or country to stoke someone's ego while a bit goes to something useful. I've seen World Bank folks come in and stay at the classiest hotel around, making in 3 days what I made in a month or two, and walking away with hopefully something accomplished. But I learned to control my class envy and judgment there as well - they guys that I thought had a gravy train with fairly expensive paid housing with servant ended up to be just there on a tough 1-year assignment with little pay behind them. The UN & World Bank and USAID types and whatever didn't create the pay and per diem rates, and some of them did good despite a frequently (required?) bored bureaucratic pace, some of them did poorly, and much of it you wouldn't know amidst all the chaos and poverty for a few years if ever. I had friends who tried to set up private pro-social activities in the Balkans and listened to their stories about the "great sucking sound", how everyone would just use you and take anything not pinned down and take all the idealistic energy you once had. I had a friend doing Peace Corps in a southern African country and Moldova describing his disappointment in how unproductive it all was, with his idealism and horizons scaled back. Another spent years with millions of Afghan refugees in the 90's helping out the truly hopeless back when it wasn't trendy and on the map, but simply forgotten and not part of our expected peace dividend. I know a guy who stepped down as president of a glitzy New York-based family-started non-profit with lots of supermodel fashion connections to raise funds for a reasonable cause but tied too much to the arbitrary whims of the family itself. If you want to pick apart charities and find the warts, it's a fountain of discovery. But in the end, I admire the people who push on despite all the dirt and ugliness - it's still worth the time and energy.

    BTW - here's the Politifact analysis of the Clinton Foundation after Rush Limbaugh started his attacks 1 1/2 years ago. Facts, of course, will shut nothing down, and they just found another avenue to continue the smear. Funny how the Clintons are untruthful, but calling a $250 million a year foundation a "$2 billion global empire" is just par for the course (and that's even from the pseudo-upright Washington Post)

    My view of Hillary is not new and your reaction to any critical reference her is at least as well known. I think you should crank up the tension a bit on your trigger though. I felt like I was implying what I think so far, while also questioning what could be done and so what choice they, the Clintons, have, and pointing out that in this instance that the Clintons are doing about all that they can do to resolve this particular issue. 

     And PP, please, don't give me that ol' crap line that I have to have the 'Theory of Everything' to make any idea, in this case an improvement on the way things are, legitimate. 

    Not everything, just something. Even a pair of deuces. I'm less demanding than you think.

    "I am all for the Clintons shutting down and retiring and living happily ever after and in principle am in complete agreement that their foundation should be shut down if that's not what happens" - well, what an agreeable guy you are - you'll be content if they leave town and never come back and stop doing anything except waiting to die. To quote The Princess Bride, "Prepare for disappointment".

    I think the main source of the disagreement here is that we're having two different conversations on the Clinton Foundation.

    One conversation is the right-wing version, eloquently encapsulated by the Donald this morning as "the most corrupt enterprise in political history." This is nothing but shameless politics. When Maiello and Mona compare the attacks to Vince Foster and Planned Parenthood, when rmrd writes "The wingnuts would not be appeased," they are referring to this version.

    But that's not the version that I, Lulu, Ed Rendell, Van Jones, and Matthew Yglesias are talking about. We are arguing that Hillary Clinton's connections to the foundation will taint her presidency--not in the right-wing echo chamber (which will always despise her) but among the general public. In this version, the Clinton Foundation is a force for good, but the unavoidable implication of influence peddling will undermine its mission and Hillary's presidential agenda.

    If the foundation can be effectively separated from Hillary to avoid the possibility of favoritism, then there is no need to shut it down. I imagine that Chelsea would also have to step down and that the board would have to select a president from outside Clinton's inner circle with an impeachable reputation. But if that doesn't happen, the foundation threatens to become an albatross around Hillary's neck for the duration of her term. And in that case, it's just not worth the cost.

    " would have to select a president from outside Clinton's inner circle with an impeachable reputation" - Freudian slip?

    Ha. Most probably.

    Given the structure of the Foundation, how would favoritism occur?

    Doug Band, Clinton Foundation executive: "[Crown Prince] of Bahrain in tomorrow to Friday[.] Asking to see her[.] Good friend of ours," 

    Huma Abedin: "Offering bahrain cp 10 tomorrow for mtg [with ] hrc[.] If u see him, let him know."

    Band: "Nice[.] Abdullah is his guy[.] He's great[.]"


    From the article:

    " Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin said in a statement to POLITICO. "No matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as Secretary of State because of donations to the Clinton Foundation."

    The State Department disputed similar allegations and inferences as well. 

    “I mean, I guess I would just once again emphasize that there wasn't a single channel for access to the secretary of state than Secretary of State Clinton,” deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. “And for senior aides working at the department at the time to have … connections with the Clinton Foundation, which by the way was working on, for example, Haiti relief, post-earthquake, pretty significant role in that in fact, only speaks to the fact that these were, you know, important people who had reason to convey information to the secretary. There was nothing that we have seen that implied any kind of untoward relationship.”

    Edit to add:

    After the birther nonsense against Barack Obama and the uproar about Reverend Jeremiah Wright, I am tired.

    Trump is a racist with a racist campaign CEO!

    Congress wasted time and money on Benghazi. They wasted time and money on emails. Now they're wasting time and money on the Clinton Foundation.

    I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

    Let's chase the ties of the Khans to the Muslim Brotherhood next. It will never end.


    You asked "Given the structure of the Foundation, how would favoritism occur?"

    I answered. This particular incident is small potatoes. It's just access. But it shows how favoritism could occur. Now if the Clinton administration were to take a serious action that benefited a major donor such as choosing not to prosecute or issuing a pardon, it would look very bad, even if there were no evidence of quid quo pro.

    I'm sorry you're sick and tired of Republicans criticizing Democratic politicians, but that doesn't mean that Democratic politicians are above criticism.

    The Clintons have detailed the changes they would make in the foundation. Criticize Away.


    Edit to add:

    Progressives go after small potatoes. CNN has Corey Lewandowsky is a CNN analyst while receiving a paycheck from the Trump campaign 


    Sean Hannity, a Fox News anchor, is advising the Trump campaign while remaining on air to deliver "fair and balanced" analysis.



    At this point I have the same response that I would have to someone who had been repeatedly stopped and frisked. I demand evidence of wrongdoing, not the "what if" scenarios.

    Edit to add:

    Obama had to show his long form birth certificate.

    Obama had to give a speech addressing Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Trump has not been pressed on Steve Bannon.

    When Republicans get the same hard questioning and demands from the press, then we can address the nonsense about the foundation.

    The Benghaaaazzi and 'Kenyan usurper secret Muslim sleeper cell'  screamers of the right already have the Clinton Foundation on the list for articles of impeachment. Nothing the Clintons  could do will change that, and may just reinforce the current witch hunt.

    Where are Donald's tax returns?

    \Perhaps a bit more important than a Ms Abedin email on a foundation phone call?

    Before I am willing to address anything related to the Clinton Foundation, I demand that the media go full court press on Trump's racism, refusal to release his taxes, and his connection to Russia and China, especially regarding debts owed. Progressives are too willing to address nonsense rather than confront the biggest threats. If you are worried about "appearances", let Trump address why white supremacists find him attractive.

    Liberals are all too ready to beat ourselves rather than beat the republicans. I just found this video of liberals typical response when ever republicans attack one of our own.


    NYT reports that Trump is $650 million in debt to the Chinese government owned Bank of China. That "is" bad. Our first order of business is supposed to be to attack Hillary for "looking" bad.

    So, Michael - why wouldnt they just take out a $30 million ad buy for Hillary as the Citizens United ruling allows? Dont even have to disclose names, and if a foreigner just get a Delaware LLC for a couple hundred bucks to funnel money through. But folks can keep on saving the integrity of our system, har har har.


    If a Koch Brother or Soros asks for a meeting with a candidate or politician, don't you think they'll get one? If a high up member of the Saudi family asks for an audience, don't you think he'll get one, Clinton Foundation or not? Not sure what this sudden concern about influence changes except to support yet another exceptional attack on a piece of Clinton behavior that will once again be unnewsworthy for anyone else.

    And yes,this is what the piece by piece perusing of her emails by motherfuckers buys us. It's not that different from the "scandals" found in IPCC scientists' emails discussing global warming, or the trumped up hysteria against ACORN and Planned Parenthood or... But we just keep rewarding the voyeurs and exhibitionists by ignoring the steadily growing intrusions and instead obsessing over the peccadillos. It wasn't even until Trump that a Republican lie was even worth fact checking, it was just "both sides do it". Ah well, folks made up their minds already, I'm whistling past the graveyard.

    There was a description provided of the scene in Shanghai where we had an American Pavilion at some fair, but it wasnt filled out, so Hillary as SoS went and got some US company to pony up $2 million so we didnt look like idiots. On another one, it sounded like the meeting was to advise how the elections looked like they'd go. Etc, etc - that's somehow how information channels work. Instead we're looking for perfectly unconnected people?

    I was answering rmrd's question about how Hillary could tailor (and has tailored) her official business to the interests of the Clinton Foundation. There is no evidence of any serious favoritism so far. She should eliminate the possibility and remove further doubt by completely cutting ties or shutting down the foundation.

    Can we not love the foundation without loving the Clintons?


    Destor's remarks have unleashed a torrentof intellectual bankruptcy from the usual cast of Die Hard Clinton Defenders.


    Just because we are stuck with her as a candidate we are not obliged to blind ourselves to her utter aversion to any sort of transparency; to dredge up the fact that she has been in the past an object of unremitting right wing attack is inapposite to assessing her own failure to meet the standard of simply constructing a credible lie-- or if not credible at least one that evinces some respect for the intelligence of the target listener.


    She makes shit up that is arrant bullshit.  Crying BUT TRUMP IS EXPONENTIALLY WORSE!. or WHY BE HONEST, THEY WILL NEVER RELENT ANYWAY! degrades the discourse.


    To paraphrase Obama I don't hate all lies I just hate stupid ones, and Hillary is a veritable fountain of stupid lies.

    What wrongdoing occurred at the Clinton Foundation?

    And yes, Trump is exponentially worse than Hillary.

    Edit to add:

    A charity watchdog found no evidence of wrongdoing at the foundation


    2nd Edit to add:

    What crime was committed in Benghazi?

    What crime was committed with the emails?

    "her utter aversion to any sort of transparency;" - and yet it's her 10 years of taxes that are out there, while Trump and Sanders keep theirs hidden. Her Foundation has all its financial records out there to see. I haven't seen anyone else subject to 1/100th the public scrutiny of emails she has, even with Wikileaks dumps. A fount of stupid attacks does not equal a fount of stupid lies. What's ailing you now, that she hasn't admitted to a brain embolism or that she didn't admit her role in killing the Libyan ambassador? Or is it that she hasn't admitted hiring Wasserman Schultz to grease her way to the nomination or to harrassing her husband's concubines or killing Vince Foster or being a lesbian banging Huma? What bullshit could she possibly create that's close to the incredible bullshit she receives every single day? The head of the FBI has spouted verifiable bullshit and intentional lies under oath to oversight judges and congressfolk, yet he's the fount of probity to judge Hillary's slipperiness with the truth? Ah forget it, you can't even separate the sound of her voice from your oerwrought libido.

    Well said.  In fact it is her transparency that has caused this latest pile-on.  A Saudi Prince bailed Trump out twice to the tune of over a billion dollars, and published that fact some time ago.  Trump hides all the people he is indebted to and no one says boo about it.  He hides his taxes and gets away with it.  He brags about his wealth and openly declares that he will do pretty much anything to make himself as rich as possible, but the Clintons have a charity that does good across the word and does not enrich the Clintons.  Who is worse?  The Clintons, obviously.  Who is more likely to do something for a donor?  Someone that has put money into a charity run by the Clintons, or someone who has saved Donald's ass, and may do so again?  Someone who has loaned Donald millions, and is willing to reduce the loan "on certain conditions?"  Hey, a deal's a deal.

    [Comment removed by moderator, ToS Warning to Jolly for personal attack]

    Color me confused.  


    PP says my libido is o'erwrought, for which I, (naturally,) express (on behalf of my libido"s persona) my thanks, and it is construed a personal attack?


    Or was it the characterization of the assembled arguments from PP, CVille, et al, as intellectually bankrupt?


    Jus' askin for guidance, from the mod who is warning me-.


    Which mod, btw.?

    To clear it up, twas just JR swinging his nutsack around with the obligatory reference to some sort of sexual prowess. Didn't much address his short tolerance for his sensitivity to HillGirl's frequency range, but I never expected miracles. Bailiff, let him go - he's (mostly) harmless.

    the servers are extra twitchy today...

    Season of the Twitch, we already rehashed this...

    Oops, sorry. I was trying to delete your duplicate comments but must have deleted the original by mistake. To your comment, whether or not Resistance was in fact a troll is irrelevant. This isn't a libel case, and the moderators don't want the responsibility of deciding who is actually a troll or who is really intellectually bankrupt. The rules are to prevent flame wars where people hurl insults at each other.


    I mean... good!

    Sad intellectually bankrupt troll!

    I am calling for a special Dagblog prosecutor, this has gone far enough and is tainting...something or other.

    I hear Ken Starr is available if we can raise a few million.

    Where Wolraich is correct:

    I've been catching up and reading about it a bit today, and here is where Mike W is right, these donors will shade her presidency, like it or not.

    Every single year I have to make a call for a donor over some bullshit thing, and every single year we make accommodations for our larger donors who make particular demands. Oh it would be so amazing if donors were simply altruistic and just wanted to keep us in business. Sometimes we get the same call, donor xxx wants to meet with xxx... Guess who gets what they want. We are beholden to our donors as is the Clinton Foundation. In terms of optics Mike is 100% correct, because it's already starting to be a distraction. Those donors can commit their funds through organizations like The Gates Foundation and direct all existing funds be placed in similar programs. It already appears to be a distraction, and I don't think she needs to begin her presidency with controversy over donors. 

    It doesn't matter what Hillary does. If they leave the foundation, there will still be the idea that she is bought and paid for. If the foundation closes, she will still be viewed as bought off. I mention ACORN because despite no longer existing, 40% of Trump supporters think ACORN is rigging the election. 

    The Clinton Foundation helps people. There is no evidence that there was anything that Hillary did as Secretary of State to benefit donors


    Could they partner with the Gates Foundation during her tenure, or would that ever sully the Gates Foundation as well?  I kind of think that the Gates Foundation would then be one more "lefty" organization that would have influence on Clinton. Maybe they should shut down too.  Where does it end?  Answer: It doesn't.  

    It is a distraction because the MSM and Democrats have allowed it to become a distraction.  

    Trump's indebtedness?  Not a distraction.  His tax returns. Not a distraction.  His wife?  Not a distraction. His changing views on immigration, abortion, taxes...not a distraction because every comment he has made has nothing to do with his beliefs, but just on the latest BS that will further inflame the raging crowds at his rallies.

    Thank you, Tmc

    Don't get too excited.  She meant to say Mike M. is right but was upside down when she typed M.  Occam's Razor.

    Wichael, I think you mean Trump's razor

    Twump's Wazor - abrasive but never dull

    @realdonaldtrump  Dull Occam's razor losing market share to Harry's.  Sad.  Can't cut it anymore (see what I did there?.) What Chapter is intellectual bankruptcy?  I am the prince of bankruptcy, if any intellect deserves bankruptcy,protection, it must be mine.

    I'm always upside down when I type, mostly because I heard it helps wrinkles defy gravity.

    sad I'm smiling!

    "If you can read this, pick me up and put me back on my writing stool" - the curse of Irish poets and storytellers for generations...

    Clinton Foundation donor Donald Trump says that he got nothing from the Clintons  in return for his six-figure donation to the foundation.


    Of course, since this is Trump, we have to verify that he actually wrote the check.

    Matt Yglesias is striking a different note today, while still apparently believing, as Michael quoted above, that, "There's nothing you can do to make the Clinton Foundation not smack of impropriety.".  His takedown of the AP's recent article as well as the nature of the "pay for play" media reporting in general is well worth a read - not easy to agree with both sides of the issue at the same time.

    The real news here ought to be just the opposite: Donors to the Clinton Foundation may believe they are buying Hillary Clinton’s political allegiance, but the reality is that they are not. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is someone, somewhere whom Clinton met with whom she wouldn’t have met with had that person not been a Clinton donor of some kind. But what we know is that despite very intensive media scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation, we don’t have hard evidence of any kind of corrupt activity. That’s the story.

    It is not that there can't be criticism of Hillary, it is that much of the media outrage turns out to be nonsense. The Clintons are criminal "masterminds", but they would create a system that directly ties them to pay for play. It is illogical. The foundation is set to be scaled back dramatically.

    Will get ready for the next "scandal".

    Edit to add:

    the Vox story also mentions the "Clinton Rules" for how the press slants stories about the Clintons 


    Thanks RMRD, very interesting report on media and the Clintons.

    Rachel Maddow had an in-depth interview with Kellyanne Conway tonight. Not surprisingly, the bigotry and racism coming from the Trump campaign was not addressed.



    Thanks barefoot. It's a good piece. That AP story is execrable.

    The reason that many of us don't care about the Clinton Foundation "scandal" is that it assumes the criminal mastermind Clintons are stupid. The Clintons are not stupid. There was no benefit gained by donating to the Foundation.

    Some of us who don't care about the foundation nonsense are frustrated by them mainstreaming of racism. Rachel Maddow had an interview with Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager last night. It was civil. Rachel was proud that an interview with Conway could be conducted in such a pleasant manner. The problem was that nothing regarding Trump's racism was mentioned. It was not considered a major issue. Trump has normalized racism.

    How concerned and focused should we be regarding Trump and racism? Consider that Glenn Beck appeared on Lawrence O'Donnell's show last night to make sure that people knew that he was not like Trump. Trump scares Glenn Beck. Earlier in the day, Beck allowed Trump supporters to call in to his radio show. Beck asked only why they were supporting Trump. He was amazed by the venom that came from those callers. Beck realizes that Trump is a danger, as do other Republicans. If Beck can recognize the danger Trump poses, why is the MSM behaving like a bunch of cowards?

    Edit to add:

    The other frustration is that the Progressive principled stance is to shutter an organization that is doing good work without giving a thought to what that means for people served by the organization. We learned nothing from ACORN.

    Now that we have approved shutting down the Clinton Foundation, we can now turn our attention to the fact that Wikileaks reports Hillary is dying of indecision fatigue.


    The fake scandal of the day brought to us by Julian Assange

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