Conor Friedersdorf | Hillary Helps a Bank—and Then It Funnels Millions to the Clintons

Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic:

If you’re Bill Clinton and your wife has recently intervened, in her capacity as a cabinet secretary, to help a giant corporation avert a significant threat to its bottom-line, the very least you could do, if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety, is to avoid negotiating seven-figure paydays with that same corporation. This is particularly jaw-dropping because ultra-wealthy Bill Clinton has virtually unlimited opportunities to give lucrative speeches to any number of audiences not directly implicated by decisions that his wife made as secretary of state.

But maximizing the Clinton family’s wealth and power requires him to speak before the very wealthiest paymasters. And that’s exactly what the ex-president has done.

As McClatchy noted last month in a more broadly focused article that also mentions UBS, “Ten of the world’s biggest financial institutions––including UBS, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs––have hired Bill Clinton numerous times since 2004 to speak for fees totaling more than $6.4 million. Hillary Clinton also has accepted speaking fees from at least one bank. And along with an 11th bank, the French giant BNP Paribas, the financial goliaths also donated as much as $24.9 million to the Clinton Foundation––the family’s global charity set up to tackle causes from the AIDS epidemic in Africa to climate change.”

One needn’t believe that there’s ever been any quid pro quo to see that this matters.

“Any suggestions that Hillary Clinton was driven by anything but what’s in America’s best interest would be false. Period,” a campaign spokesman told The Guardian. Oh, come on. Clinton may well have thought that intervening on behalf of UBS was good for the U.S. There are reports that the Swiss helped our government in various ways in exchange for shielding the bank from a worst-case scenario.


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