Listened to National Communist Radio (NPR) this morning. They were talking about how our new foreign policy would be less confrontational and more diplomatic. We are going to have more of a consensus with other nations before we act. Translation. We are going to be attacked again. They were talking about closing down GITMO and bringing up the Bush administration on charges for waterboarding. Bush did keep us from being attacked again in America. He did, for a change, take the attack to the terrorists. Liberals think if we show the world's thugs our good intentions and love along with our weakness they will want to get along with us. It has never worked and won't now. I will guarantee now that the roll back of terrorists power that has occurred under Bush will be reversed. We will be attacked under Obama and Hillary. Liberals will find out that it wasn't Bush's policies that made Muslims hate us. It is because we are not Muslims. The rollback of the West will continue. Bush was only a pause.
Now that Bill Clinton has released the list of his 205,000 donors who have given close to $500 million to his library and foundation, it is clear why he resisted releasing the list while his wife was running for president.
Now, compelled by the Obama transition team to make it public as a condition of his wife's appointment as secretary of state, it becomes clear that the list is a virtual encyclopedia of conflicts of interest for the husband of a senator - to say nothing of the husband of an incoming secretary of state.
Particularly troubling are the massive donations from Arab governments in the Middle East.
Pardon us for looking such generous gift horses in the mouth, but it is hard to imagine so many governments, monarchs and businessmen in the Middle East giving money unless it was with some hope of a political return. Will that return now come with the appointment of Sen. Clinton as secretary of state?
How can Hillary Rodham Clinton mediate and negotiate conflicts in the Middle East impartially when her husband's library and foundation - over which he has total control - have been bankrolled by the very nations with whom she must negotiate?
The list reveals another key center of conflicts of interest in Kazakhstan, the former Soviet republic, now home to some of the world's greatest mineral deposits and ruled by a corrupt dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who, according to The New York Times, has all but quashed political dissent.
Bill Clinton visited Kazakhstan and met with its president on Sept. 6, 2005, accompanied by Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra.
Soon after, Giustra was awarded a highly lucrative contract to mine uranium there. Now, lo and behold, Frank Giustra turns up having given the library and foundation between $10 million and $25 million and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative of Canada gave $1 million to $5 million more.
And Clinton got $1 million to $5 million from Lakshmi Mittal, the fourth-wealthiest person on the Forbes billionaire list and a member of the Foreign Investment Council in Kazakhstan.
In addition, Clinton further fished in troubled waters by taking $1 million to $5 million from Victor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of the controversial former president of the Ukraine.
Given the complexities of US policy toward the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, it is hard to see how this massive and incestuous relationship cannot but complicate Hillary's independence.
One of the largest donors to the library and foundation was UNITAID, an international organization largely controlled by France, which donated more than $25 million. And the conflicts of interest are not all just foreign. Corporate bailout recipients and recipient wannabes donated to the Clinton fund. They include AIG, Lehman, Merrill, the Citi Foundation and General Motors.
And, almost as an afterthought, the list reveals a donation of at least $250,000 from Denise Rich, presumably in return for her ex-husband's presidential pardon.
How could a US senator possibly serve dispassionately while her husband was collecting money from these donors on this kind of scale? And how could we have almost elected a president without realizing these conflicts existed? And how on earth can a secretary of state function with these conflicts hanging over her head?
"How can Hillary Rodham Clinton mediate and negotiate conflicts in the Middle East impartially when her husband's library and foundation - over which he has total control - have been bankrolled by the very nations with whom she must negotiate?"
Bill out-negotiated Barack on financial disclosure.Article
These columns have long believed that a President deserves the cabinet members he wants, barring some major dereliction. So if Barack Obama wants to make Hillary and Bill Clinton part of his governing team, that's his business. We can only hope he understands the Clinton family business he's taking on.
Take Mr. Clinton's post-Presidential fund-raising, the scope of which he finally disclosed in late December after years of refusing and under pressure from the Obama transition. Amid the holidays and economic news, this window on the Clinton political method has received less attention than it deserves. Here is the spectacle of a former President circling the globe to raise at least $492 million over 10 years for his foundation -- much of it from assorted rogues, dictators and favor-seekers. We are supposed to believe that none of this -- and none of his future fund-raising -- will have any influence on Mrs. Clinton's conduct as Secretary of State.
The silence over this is itself remarkable. When Henry Kissinger was invited merely to co-chair the 9/11 Commission, the political left went bonkers about his foreign clients. In this case we have a Secretary of State nominee whose husband may have raised more than $60 million from various Middle East grandees, and Washington reacts with a yawn. Maybe someone will even ask about it at her nomination hearing today.
A Senator should ask, because this has the potential to complicate life for the new President. All the more so because under terms of his agreement with Mr. Obama, Mr. Clinton will be able to keep raising foreign cash as long as the donors send the checks to a Clinton entity other than the "Clinton Global Initiative." Instead of being immediately disclosed, future donations will only be made public once a year and the exact amounts and dates of previous donations will never be made public.
While Mr. Clinton will submit some donations from foreign governments to Administration scrutiny, he need only do so if the donations are new or are of a significantly larger magnitude from a previous donation. In other words, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman can keep giving millions without U.S. government review even while Mrs. Clinton is America's chief diplomat. These disclosure limitations suggest that the Clintons seriously out-negotiated Team Obama. We hope the President-elect does better with Iran.
As for potential embarrassment, consider the "up to $5 million" in donations to the Clinton foundation from Gilbert Chagoury, known for his ties to Nigeria's former military dictator, General Sani Abacha. The Journal's John Emshwiller recently noted that unfortunately for Mr. Chagoury, after Abacha died in 1998, "Swiss and other European authorities froze a number of bank accounts, including some related to Mr. Chagoury, as part of an investigation by the Nigerian government and others about whether billions of dollars had been improperly taken out of the country during the Abacha regime, according to news reports and a 2001 British court decision in Abacha-related litigation. Mr. Chagoury later agreed to return funds, estimated to be as much as $300 million, to the Nigerian government in exchange for indemnity from possible charges and to unfreeze his accounts, according to the British court decision."
Samuel J. PalmisanoAnother notable donor -- also up to $5 million -- is Viktor Pinchuk, son-in-law of former Ukraine president Leonid Kuchma. Mr. Pinchuk was mentioned in a 2005 Journal story headlined, "Haunted By Suspect Deals Of Old Regime." Suspect indeed. The "privatization" of the country's largest steel plant in a sale to a group including Mr. Pinchuk was later overturned after the country held a democratic election.
And only this month, the New York Times reported that New York developer Robert Congel gave $100,000 to the Clinton foundation in November, 2004, one month after the enactment of a law that gave Mr. Congel access to tax-exempt "green bonds" to build a shopping mall in Syracuse. Mrs. Clinton had supported the law, and within a year of the donation she secured $5 million in taxpayer funds for the complex.
It'd be nice to think Mr. Clinton would forswear this money-hustle while his wife is Secretary of State, but that self-sacrifice would belie his entire career. As for Mrs. Clinton, note the scrutiny that Eric Holder, Mr. Obama's Attorney General nominee, is coming under for his role in aiding pardons for 16 unrepentant Puerto Rican terrorists in 1999. But keep in mind the timing of those pardons was intended to help Mrs. Clinton win Puerto Rican support in her 2000 Senate campaign. Someone should ask her at today's hearing about the role she played in that pardon.
In signing up the Clintons -- always two for the price of one -- Mr. Obama is no doubt hoping to unite his party and mute Democratic criticism when mistakes happen. He is also hiring someone whose prominence and allies make her impossible to fire, even as she and her husband have a history of cutting ethical corners. Good luck.