- - Wednesday, May 13, 2015


In writing “Clinton Cash,” author Peter Schweizer has certainly done a major public service by revealing the stories behind the Bill Clinton speeches and the donations to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation through the end of 2014. But what other ways might a person or organization make big buck donations to Team Clinton?

Back in the Clinton administration days, my co-author and I revealed in “Year of the Rat” the millions of dollars in illegal campaign contributions, many of them originating from Chinese military intelligence, to Clinton campaigns. In the final days of his presidency, while Bill was issuing pardons to drug dealers and arms smugglers from the White House, across town, his Justice Department was frantically cutting deals with those guilty of campaign finance offenses. Something in excess of 50 people caught up in illegal Clinton campaign donations either pled guilty, turned states’ evidence or fled the country. No one served any jail time.

Except for the time period from January 2009 to January 2013 when she was secretary of state, one Clinton or the other has been trolling for campaign contributions from the early 1970s to the present day. With Mrs. Clinton now seeking a $2 billion war chest for the 2016 campaign, no doubt Clinton campaign bundlers and major Democratic National Committee donors will be treated very well.

Bill has told NBC that he’s “gotta pay the bills.” That means that the Clintons are still soliciting money for the Clinton Foundation and the various “initiatives.” That also means Mr. Clinton’s speeches will continue, and the price will go up — way up. Since they are still keeping secret more than 1,000 of their donors, a generous gift to the foundation or the Clinton Global Initiative might remain confidential as well. As The Wall Street Journal noted in its review of “Clinton Cash,” we can only imagine the huge fee increase Bill Clinton can command if his wife becomes president of the United States. The Clinton deliverables certainly went up as she went from junior senator from New York to secretary of state, but to go from there to president is a change in orders of magnitude.

As Mr. Schweizer noted, a person can also gain credit with the Clintons if he only arranges for someone else to pay the bill for a speech, a Bill Clinton appearance or a donation to the DNC. It’s not necessary to write a check yourself and there is far less chance of your name ending up in the newspapers.

Then there are the Clinton Presidential Center and the Clinton School of Public Service, both in Little Rock, and both welcoming donations for which the donor’s name might be kept secret in some cases. During the 2008 presidential campaign, New York Times columnist David Brooks noted that the Obama campaign was pointing to Clinton secrecy and lack of transparency: “The Obama campaign is now making a big issue of Hillary Clinton’s tax returns and dropping hints about donations to the Clinton Presidential Library and her White House papers.”

It is also possible to go into business directly with Bill Clinton through business partnerships or consulting fees. For example, Bill was a partner in Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle’s investment firm, Yucaipa, and received $12.6 million from 2003 to 2006 and $2.7 million in 2007. He received $800,000 in consulting fees from old Clinton friend Vinod Gupta and at one time he was receiving $100,000 per month from disgraced New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s MF Global.

Since she left office as secretary of state in January 2013, Mrs. Clinton has been free to give paid speeches for the past two years. Whether she will continue with this now that she is a declared candidate, or not, is anyone’s guess.

It is also possible to donate in kind rather than in straight-out cash. Bill or Hillary need to get somewhere to make a speech? Your private jet is always at their service. Promoting a Clinton ghost-written book is certainly appreciated.

Probably not finally, now that Chelsea Clinton has ended her low-impact $600,000 gig with NBC, finding a job for Chelsea might be a short cut to her parents’ hearts. Likewise, finding a job for the always-needy Rodham brothers is yet another way to gain credits with the Clintons. It’s unlikely that President Obama will grant pardons to their clients on his last day in office as President Clinton did in January 2001.

Republicans have largely been stunned and demoralized by Mr. Schweizer’s revelations. As Peggy Noonan recently put it, the Clintons will get away with it because they are the Clintons, and this sort of thing is expected of them. No doubt much more of this will come out in the days ahead. One useful line of inquiry has to be the off-the-books email server that Sid Blumenthal had a hand in creating. Was this used to coordinate the flood of donations?

William C. Triplett, II is the former chief Republican counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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