Thursday October 28, 2016
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With 12 days to go in this election, the weight - the sheer weight - of the stolen and released emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, may have broken the back of the electoral camel.
In a front page piece in the Washington Post by Ros Helderman and Tom Hamburger the "circle of enrichment" between Bill Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and his innermost circle is described in nose-wrinkling, eye-rolling detail.
You can find the link to the piece on the the Secret Decoder Ring Page today. It establishes a vision of the money-grubbing multi-millionaire Bill Clinton of 2016 and the former Governor of Arkansas whose salary was $35,000 a year.
As head of the Clinton Foundation and husband of the Secretary of State, Bill Clinton was charging $500,000 per speech. Assuming a typical speech ran about an hour, he made more in four minutes and 12 seconds by speaking to rich corporate audiences than he did in an entire year as Arkansas' Governor. 4:12.
Let me point out that there is no claim of a quid pro quo between a person or entity giving money to the foundation or to Clinton, Inc., and getting anything of value - as opposed to a meeting or a drop-by - from the U.S. Government generally nor Hillary Clinton's Department of State in particular.
But, as Joe Scarboro pointed out on his MSNBC program: Bill Clinton was making $250,000 per speech until Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. At that point Bill Clinton's fees doubled.
Nor, do I have any reason to suspect that this was illegal. But it certainly smells fishy and looks awful.
Clinton's dogsbody is a guy named Doug Band. The leaked emails, according to the Post article:
"detailed a circle of enrichment in which he raised money for the Clinton Foundation from top-tier corporations such as Dow Chemical and Coca-Cola that were clients of his firm, Teneo [Band's consulting company], while pressing many of those same donors to provide personal income to the former president."
It is certainly not unheard of for former - or even current - high government officials to cash in on their public service, nor is it unheard of their close aides to draft behind them picking up stray checks that might have blown out of the passenger seat window.
But the sheer scale of greed as described by Helderman and Hamburger is stunning. Band detailed how his company "had secured contracts for the former president that would pay out $66 million over the subsequent nine years if the deals remained in place."
Hillary's problem is there is no evidence that there has been a wall between the finances of Bill Clinton and those of Hillary Clinton. Her speech income has been well-documented as well, so she hasn't been dependent on Bill's income, but we don't know if they get to peek at each other's check books.
Teneo had some 20 clients. It is not clear to me why major corporations would hire Doug Band's company other than for the access he provided to the foundtion, to Bill Clinton and, as we know, at least email access to Hillary Clinton's most senior advisors.
This story points out a much larger problem for Mrs. Clinton from the moment she becomes President-elect - if she does.
The moral and political outrage that is Donald J. Trump has been like a bright light in the eyes the body politic. If someone shines a flashlight in your eyes, it is very difficult to see anything else.
Turn off the flashlight and the rest of the landscape comes into view.
Trump's daily horrors have been that flashlight. It goes away on or about November 9, 2016 when these emails and the people who are named and the activities in which they have been involved will come into clear focus.
She's not going to have Trump to kick around any more and everything from her private email server to Clinton, Inc. will be investigated and will have to be explained.
I have no idea whether such investigation will rise to the level of an impeachable offense. But I am very certain that the new Hillary Clinton Administration will be spending time, talent, and energy in answering the charges and explaining things that have been in these emails.
Will today's revelations change the arc of the campaign? I don't think so. But, added to everything else we have learned about the Clintons and Clinton, Inc. they will very likely change the arc of the Hillary Clinton Administration.
On the Secret Decoder Ring Page today: The link to the WaPo story and to the definition of "dogsbody."
Also, a nice Mullfoto from a pretty autumn afternoon in Lafayette Park.
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