News about the Clinton Foundation and its finances shows the truth of that old adage, “You get what you pay for.” In this case, giving money to the Clinton Foundation often bought access to Hillary Clinton (or her closest aides), the odds-on favorite to be America’s next president, and sometimes it helped with favors as well. These revelations illustrate perfectly the “pay to play” nature of the American political scene: the usual influence peddling, the usual FOBH, Friends of Bill and Hillary, coming together to pull the strings while being paid handsomely for the performance.
Here’s what the Washington Post had to say about it:
A sports executive who was a major donor to the Clinton Foundation and whose firm paid Bill Clinton millions of dollars in consulting fees wanted help getting a visa for a British soccer player with a criminal past.
The crown prince of Bahrain, whose government gave more than $50,000 to the Clintons’ charity and who participated in its glitzy annual conference, wanted a last-minute meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
U2 rocker and philanthropist Bono, also a regular at foundation events, wanted high-level help broadcasting a live link to the International Space Station during concerts.
In each case, according to emails released Monday from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, the requests were directed to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and confidante, Huma Abedin, who engaged with other top aides and sometimes Clinton herself about how to respond.
The emails show that, in these and similar cases, the donors did not always get what they wanted, particularly when they sought anything more than a meeting.
But the exchanges, among 725 pages of correspondence from Abedin disclosed as part of a lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, illustrate the way the Clintons’ international network of friends and donors was able to get access to Hillary Clinton and her inner circle during her tenure running the State Department.
Yes, money sure does matter. If asked why they took more the fifty grand from the prince of Bahrain, among other donors with deep pockets, I suppose Hillary and Bill might just say, “Because that’s what they offered.” Money is the universal solvent of politics, and Hillary and Bill know this better than most.
Of course, Hillary is trying to position herself as the champion of ordinary people, even as she and her husband have amassed a foundation and position worth roughly $2 billion. Who knows? Given the nebulous and chaotic nature of Trump’s finances, the Clintons may be richer than him.
Which brings me to this question: Which hypocritical billionaire do you want to rule America?
Update (8/24/16): The Washington Post has another story on how Hillary Clinton is raising big money through various fundraisers. All you need is $25K or $50K and some good connections and you too might be able to meet Hillary in a semi-private setting. You might even net a bonus like seeing Cher (in Provincetown) or hearing Aretha Franklin sing (in Birmingham, Michigan).
Remember how Bernie Sanders energized a movement, raising millions by relying on individual donations that averaged (and this is an amount he made famous) $27 per donation?
Those days are gone. Establishment Hillary is back, and she’s raising buckets of money from the deep pockets of heavy-hitters.
But never fear! She’s all about helping “everyday people” — a phrase her campaign used until someone noticed it was slightly condescending.
If we’re “everyday people,” who are the Clintons? Well, I can tell you how they think of themselves by how they act: They are the higher life forms, to borrow a phrase from a friend, a retired Army major who remembers M-48 tanks because he served in one.
That’s one place we won’t see Hillary: in an Army tank. But if we ever did, I think she’d pull it off better than Michael Dukakis did.