Can Hillary Clinton survive revelations that her family foundation accepted money from foreign governments, in some cases highly questionable foreign governments, while she was secretary of state?
That is the question being posed in the wake of Washington Post report on such donations.
And the answer is: are you kidding? Of course Mrs. Clinton will survive this. She has the sheer internal fortitude (there are less flattering terms) to keep going in the face of revelations that would end the public career of a less shameless political figure. The Wall Street Journal had an earlier report on Mrs. Clinton’s "complicated" relationship as secretary of state with companies that donated to the foundation.
If you think these revelations will damage Clinton, you underestimate her ability to forge ahead no matter what and overestimate the media’s fortitude when it comes to sticking with a story that might harm the woman who in all likelihood will be the Democratic nominee for president. Will she survive? Get real. Still, the revelations are fascinating. The Post reports:
The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday.
Most of the contributions were possible because of exceptions written into the foundation’s 2008 agreement, which included limits on foreign-government donations.
The agreement, reached before Clinton’s nomination amid concerns that countries could use foundation donations to gain favor with a Clinton-led State Department, allowed governments that had previously donated money to continue making contributions at similar levels.
I love the notion of Clinton and Obama administration officials getting together behind closed doors to hammer out the terms under which the secretary of state’s family foundation could receive donations from foreign governments during her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat.
Foundation officials admitted to the Washington Post that they failed to get approval and thus violated the agreement when they took $500,000 from Algeria, which was lobbying the U.S. Department of State on, as the Post tactfully puts it, “human rights issues.” According to the Post, Mrs. Clinton met with the president of Algeria when he visited the U.S. in 2012. Qatar also lobbied the State Department while contributing to the Clinton family foundation.
The Post reports that some donations to the Clinton Foundation came from countries with “complicated [word du jour] diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government, including Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.” Australia, the Dominican Republic, and Norway also contributed.
The 2008 agreement with the Obama administration lapsed recently and at least two new nations joined the proud ranks of Clinton contributors: Germany and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia, which did not contribute to the foundation while Mrs. Clinton was in the State Department, has resumed making donations.
But you see it had nothing to do with lining the Clinton coffers and was all to save lives:
A foundation spokesman said Wednesday that the donations all went to fund the organization’s philanthropic work around the world. In some cases, the foundation said, foreign-government donations were part of multiyear grants that had been awarded before Clinton’s appointment to pay for particular charitable efforts, such as initiatives to lower the costs of HIV and AIDs drugs and curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Kudos to the Post, but I'd have loved to read something on what kinds of salaries (if applicable) or other personal benefits the Clintons might derive from the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The New York Post reported that the foundation had a $50 million travel tab since 2003.
But Hillary will be unscathed by these current revelations by the Washington Post because—don’t you know—greed is for Republicans.
She may end up being a lousy presidential candidate (again), but she will survive the current revelations at least as far as getting the Democratic nod to run for president.
No doubt, we shall soon learn that it is sexist to even ask about foundation contributions.