Clinton Foundation: Influence peddling and pay to play
9-5-16, Steve Hayes, Front Page Magazine [Excerpt] -- As Bill Clinton entered the final year of his presidency, his aides put together a legacy-building trip to South Asia—the first visit to the region by a U.S. president since Jimmy Carter's in 1978. Early drafts of the itinerary featured a notable exclusion: no plans to stop in neighboring Pakistan.
There were good reasons for this. Pervez Musharraf had seized power there in a military coup six months earlier. His regime was regarded as tolerant of Islamic radicals, perhaps even complicit in their attacks, and unhelpful on nuclear talks with India. Whatever the potential benefits to regional stability, a visit would be seen as legitimizing a troublemaker. Clinton had the support of many in the foreign policy establishment and his decision was popular among liberals in his party. In an editorial published February 18, 2000, the New York Times noted, "Pakistan has been lobbying hard in Washington"; the paper urged Clinton to stand firm, absent a return to civilian rule in the country and "concrete progress" on nukes and terror.
Four days later, Hillary Clinton weighed in. At a gathering in a private home on Staten Island, Clinton said she hoped her husband would be able to find time to visit Pakistan on his trip. That she spoke up on a matter of public controversy was interesting; where she did it was noteworthy.
Clinton was the guest of honor at a $1,000-per-plate fundraiser hosted by a group of prominent Pakistani doctors in New York, who acknowledged holding the dinner as part of that lobbying effort. The immediate beneficiary? Hillary Clinton, candidate for U.S. Senate. Organizers were told they'd need to raise at least $50,000 for her to show up. They did. The secondary beneficiary? Pakistan. Two weeks after Clinton told her hosts that she hoped her husband would do what they wanted him to do, the White House announced that Bill Clinton would, indeed, include Pakistan on his trip to South Asia.
A similar dynamic is at play in the growing controversy over Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation: People sought to influence her decisions as secretary of state by making donations to his foundation. And while we cannot yet offer definitive conclusions about the extent to which those efforts were successful, disclosures over the past several weeks make clear that Clinton and her top aides eagerly provided special access to Clinton Foundation donors—and, in some cases, provided that special access because they were Clinton Foundation donors.
Such conflicts of interest—perceived and real—should come as no surprise. They were the focus of Clinton's cabinet nomination. Moments after her nomination hearing was gaveled to order on January 13, 2009, Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said, "The main issue related to Senator Clinton's nomination that has occupied the committee has been the review of how her service as secretary of state can be reconciled with the sweeping global activities of President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. The core of the problem is that foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state, although neither Senator Clinton nor President Clinton has a personal financial stake in the foundation."
Full original report here: www.weeklystandard.com/aiding-and-abedin/article/2004014
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