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Obama Camp Reviews Bill Clinton’s Deals

From a suddenly suspicious New York Times:

Saudi King Abdullah (R) meets former U.S. President Bill Clinton in New York November 11, 2008. The Saudi monarch and his delegation will attend a two-day United Nations session in New York on an “interfaith dialogue” he launched this year and then attend a summit of world leaders in Washington on the global financial crisis.

Many Dealings of Bill Clinton Are Under Review

Published: November 17, 2008

Over the weekend, former President Bill Clinton enthusiastically endorsed the prospect that his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, might join the Obama administration as secretary of state. “If he decided to ask her and they did it together,” the former president said, “I think she’ll be really great as a secretary of state.”

Mr. Clinton delivered those remarks at an international economic symposium in Kuwait City sponsored by the National Bank of Kuwait, which said the former president would “share with a select audience his perspective on the issues likely to shape the future prospects of the region.”

It is precisely that kind of paid speech, which Mr. Clinton delivered 54 times last year for a total of $10.1 million in fees, that has complicated the vetting process that Mrs. Clinton is undergoing by the Obama transition team. “Whatever happens or doesn’t happen is between Obama and her,” Mr. Clinton said.

That may be, but Mr. Clinton’s postpresidential life as a globe-trotting philanthropist, business consultant and speech-giver poses the highest hurdle for Mrs. Clinton to overcome if President-elect Barack Obama chooses to nominate her as secretary of state, according to aides of the Clintons and Mr. Obama.

The Obama transition team is focused on the wide array of Mr. Clinton’s post-presidential activities, some details of which have not been made public. This list includes the identity of most of the donors to his foundation, the source of some of his speaking fees — he has earned as much as $425,000 for a one-hour speech — and his work for the billionaire investor Ronald W. Burkle

Associates of the Clintons said that Mr. Clinton was likely to have to make significant concessions and that he was inclined to do so. Among other things, they said, he would probably have to agree not to take money for speeches from foreign businesses that have a stake in the actions of the American government. Another obvious issue, Democratic lawyers said, would be whether Mr. Clinton’s foundation should accept money from foreign governments, businesses or individuals for the foundation’s philanthropic activities and if it should disclose those donors publicly

Since the former president established the William J. Clinton Foundation in 1998, it has raised more than $500 million, a sum that allowed him to build his steel-and-glass presidential library in Little Rock, Ark., and create the Clinton Global Initiative, which has done good deeds all over the world, including working to eradicate AIDS in Africa. Much of that money has been raised from foreign sources.

Mr. Clinton is not required by law to identify the donors to his foundation, and this year he declined to name them. Last year, while Mrs. Clinton was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, The New York Times compiled the first detailed list of 97 donors who gave or pledged a total of $69 million for the Clinton presidential library in the final years of his administration. The examination found that while some $1 million contributors were longtime Clinton friends, others were seeking policy changes from the administration. Two people pledged $1 million each while they or their companies were under investigation by the Clinton Justice Department.

The foundation has received contributions from the Saudi royal family, the king of Morocco, a foundation linked to the United Arab Emirates and the governments of Kuwait and Qatar…

During Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Clintons agreed to sell $11 million to $26 million worth of stock and pledged to liquidate holdings that had been in a blind trust. She said then that they wanted to avoid conflicts of interest…

When the Clintons released their post-presidency tax returns in April, the documents showed the couple had earned $109 million after leaving the White House in January 2001…

The returns also showed that Mr. Clinton had collected at least $12.6 million since 2002 from his work as an adviser to Mr. Burkle, whose Yucaipa Companies have invested money for the Dubai government and acquired a stake in a Chinese media company.

The former president helped drum up business for several domestic and foreign investment funds in Yucaipa’s portfolio, although precisely what Mr. Clinton did is unknown…

But if Mrs. Clinton were to be nominated as secretary of state, potential conflicts could occur if Mr. Clinton continued to serve as a traveling emissary of the United States. It is unknown whether he would be asked to curtail speaking out on foreign policy matters or, if asked, if he would be willing to do so.

Meanwhile, we have yet to see any mention of the handwritten margin note that appears on the copy (a pdf file) of the Obama vetting questionnaire that the New York Times produced:

(Click to enlarge)

It looks like someone in the Obama camp may have had Mr. Clinton in mind when these questions were being sent out.

Perhaps they even wanted to highlight this problem to the New York Times.

Wouldn’t it be funny if this ended up with Mr. Obama wishing he could give Hillary the Secretary Of State position, but he just can’t because of National Security issues?

And what a delicious payback to Mr. Clinton.

Solvey, solvey.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Obama Camp Reviews Bill Clinton’s Deals”

  1. BillK says:


    Rush said the same thing today (and uncharacteristically, didn’t give a nod to S&L about it):

    RUSH: Let me give you a possible scenario to this Hillary Clinton for secretary of state thing. Obama’s got this huge questionnaire, 63 questions. There is no way the Clintons passed this. Look, Clinton, you talk about his wife being secretary of state and here’s Slick Willie with all this money he’s taken from the ChiComs back in the nineties to the present, all the money he’s taken from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, with his wife sitting there, and they’re going to have to ask Clinton to give up all this income. You can’t run around and keep making speeches and collecting money from these people if your wife is secretary of state. And, by the way, during the debate between Obama and Clinton that was on MSNBC, Obama himself said during the debate that it was kind of important to know who the donors were at the Clinton Library and Massage Parlor.

    You know, all these things, Obama made it plain he thought that some of this would be a potential conflict for Mrs. Clinton. So now he’s got this big questionnaire that all the people he wants working for him have got to answer and pass. There’s no way the Clintons can, if they have to open up everything. I mean the Clintons have never wanted anybody to know who the donors to the Library and Massage Parlor are, and it doesn’t have to be made public but they’ve never wanted anybody to know. So here you have the Clintons, Hillary dying to have some meaningful job in government, just from what I hear, really, really wants this. Bill Clinton desperately wants his wife to have something meaningful so he’ll have a connection to it. So here comes old Barry. It would have been a much different situation to appoint her to the Supreme Court because Clinton’s taken money from all these foreign people, not going to be so many opportunities for conflicts. But he names her, he’s thinking of naming her to the secretary of state job. Now, what happens — I’m just fantasizing here — but what happens if at the end of this process, Obama says, “I’m sorry, we simply can’t go forward with this, the conflict that we have found in the Clinton file and apparatus.” This would be just one way to ace them out, get rid of them, say, “We can’t have Mrs. Clinton here. There are too many conflicts with her husband.” …


    Great minds think alike. :-)

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