The Washington Post reports that access to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may have been influenced by donations to the Clinton Foundation when she was secretary of state.
Source: Lucas Jackson/Reuters/PRI - The World
Listen to the article podcast - download
The Post's Rosalind Helderman got ahold of the emails after a lawsuit made them public. An excerpt from Helderman's story:
The release of the correspondence follows previous disclosures of internal emails showing a similar pattern of access for foundation contributors, and it comes as Republicans allege that Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, used her perch in the Obama administration to trade favors for donations. Clinton and the foundation have vigorously denied the charge.
"What we found was that there is this worldwide network of friends and supporters of the Clintons," Helderman says. "They've been on the world stage for a long time. People who have given them political donations and also people who have persistently given donations to the Clinton Foundation, who did appear from these emails to have a sort of back channel, direct line in to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state."
Essentially, Clinton Foundation staff could get people meetings with the Clintons, specifically the secretary of state.
For example: the crown Prince of Bahrain. Not unusual for a US ally to get a meeting with the secretary of state, but an indicator that someone who donates to or is a "good friend" of the Clinton Foundation could get a meeting more easily than someone who isn't.
However, Helderman notes, a donation to the foundation did not guarantee a meeting with either Clinton.
When checking out the list of media corps, CEOs or journalists who contributed to The Clinton Foundation is there a quid pro quo involved or simply a charitable donation all corporations and the 1% give out of altruism or as a tax write off?
RAD: In listening to the podcast - what is key is that the Clintons given their national and international profile live in "a culture of access" in this case for people who support a foundation that has been instrumental in Africa in collaboration ironically with former President George W. Bush to address the health issues caused by a variety of epidemics there and in other parts of the world including the USA.
As the author of the Post article says "this is the kinda way that Washington works." One could say the same about Paris, Geneva, London, Brussels or Bonn. After many investigations nobody has found a "smoking gun" where access created a clear conflict of interest. What it did was enable people to access the Clintons for their help and that of the foundation which has done philanthropy all over the world.
One doesn't see articles in the Post or on NPR about the Carter foundation. How many high profile people does former President Carter interact with on his many projects including peace keeping and election monitoring? In the age of gotcha journalism and negative politics even doing good has its risks as Hillary and Bill are finding out - when one runs for President - scrutiny is the price but to use a 'Bilism' "this dog won't hunt."
While the media (which you note in NPR's case is caught up in this tangled web) - indulges in a "feeding frenzy" in the dog days of August between the conventions and the start of the 2016 campaign @ Labor Day - our friends in the media need something to do to justify their salaries while they move up the media food chain. I've got an idea for them - check out The Donald's "culture of access" which he has used in the pursuit of his own "charity" - himself...
We lowly Oregonians have no "culture of access" - yeah and I've got a bridge over the Willamette I want to sell you. Attending my first Northwest Political Science Association annual meeting many years ago @ 1975 I remember our host, a distinguished professor of political science from Lewis & Clark said one of the nice things about Oregon is you could get all the movers and shakers in the state in one large class room.
This was not criticism of how things got done in Oregon but quite the contrary - how collegial Oregon politics back then in the McCall, Straub, Hatfield years when good public policy put us on the map. Oregon at its best still has that collegial bi-partisan aura and we have a state which is free from scandal which tarnishes many other states, especially those east of the Mississippi. We don't elect convicted felons - they do in Illinois and Pennsylvania.
On a personal note when I created and produced the Tom McCall Forum for 25 years (1982-2007) we could not have done it without our "culture of access" to corporate boards and philanthropy - that's what a university president and the university relations team do. But nobody, not the president of the university or a trustee ever determined the topic and/or speakers - that was my job with input from my departmental colleagues and students.
I presume that Hillary as Secretary of State had boundaries - something The Donald never has evidenced!
PS: Check out my latest FB posting (hit the link Russ)
The media is using the Clintons as a punching bag in it's usual cheap shot journalism mantra - feeding frenzies and gotcha journalism galore. Having been habituated to Trump's Twitter mania all the media does is react to invented scandals or personal attacks - it doesn't do any serious reporting...