Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Will Bill Help or Hurt Hillary’s Chances of Becoming Secretary of State?

An article in The Salt Lake Tribune highlights the difficulties Bill Clinton’s “post-presidential life as a globe-trotting philanthropist, business consultant and speech-giver” poses to Hillary's chances of becoming Obama’s Secretary of State.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the Obama transition team is focusing on many of Bill Clinton’s lucrative post-presidential activities especially those that Bill Clinton has refused to make public. The law does not require Clinton to identify the donors to his foundation.

The Clinton’s tax return released in April show that the couple earned $109 million since leaving the presidency in January 2001. Nearly 92 million came from authoring books and for speaking fees, which included a $15 million advance for “Bill Clinton’s best-selling autobiography, "My Life."

The returns also showed that Clinton had collected at least $12.6 million since 2002 from his work as an adviser to Burkle, whose Yucaipa Companies have invested money for the Dubai government and acquired a stake in a Chinese media company.

Sorting out Clinton’s many foreign and domestic associations will make vetting very difficult and time-consuming. Abner Mikva, one of Obama's closest supporters and a White House counsel during the Clinton administration said:

"There would have to be full disclosure as to who all were contributors to his library and foundation. I think they'd have to be made public."

Obama’s aides have refused to discuss vetting requirements for Hillary Clinton, and they said that Obama wouldn’t offer her the job unless he was first satisfied that there would be no conflicts with Bill Clinton’s activities abroad.
Because Bill Clinton is a former U.S. president, conflicts could occur for Hillary Clinton if he continued to serve as a traveling emissary of the United States.

In September, at his annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting, Hillary Clinton hosted more than two dozen foreign leaders, including Queen Rania of Jordan, President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Álvaro Colom of Guatemala.

Here is a list of some of the issues concerning Bill Clinton’s activities that will effect Obama’s decision:

1. Will Bill Clinton release identity of the donors to his William J. Clinton Foundation, which is involved with foreign countries?
Since its creation in 1998, his foundation has raised more than $500 million, which went toward the construction of his Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark, and the creation of the Clinton Global Initiative.

2. Should his foundation accept money from foreign governments, businesses or individuals for the foundation's philanthropic activities?

The foundation has received contributions from the Saudi royal family, the king of Morocco, a foundation linked to the United Arab Emirates and the governments of Kuwait and Qatar. . .
Lanny Davis, a longtime Clinton friend who said he was not speaking on the couple's behalf, said he "completely rejects 100 percent" any suggestion that there was a conflict between Clinton's work raising money for his foundation and the work his wife would be doing as the nation's chief diplomat.

3. Will Bill Clinton release the identity of the contributors to his library?

Last year the New York Times examined a detailed list of 97 donors who gave or pledged a total of $69 million for the Clinton library late in Clinton’s administration. It found that some of the donors were long time friends of the Clintons and others were seeking policy changes in the administration.

Two people pledged $1 million each while they or their companies were under investigation by the Clinton Justice Department.

4. Will Bill Clinton provide the sources of some of his speaking fees?

Bill Clinton has earned as much as $425,000 for a one-hour speech and he delivered paid speeches 54 times last year for a total of $10.1 million in fees.

5. Will Bill Clinton agree not to take money for speeches from foreign businesses that have a stake in the actions of the American government?

6. Will Bill Clinton agree to separate himself from the activities of his foundation, including raising money?

Mikva has floated this proposal as a way to overcome legal and ethical problems and the appearance of problems.

7. Will Bill Clinton willingly curtail speaking out on foreign policy matters?


  1. ugh..arent we thru with the Clintonistas yet!!!

  2. He does not want to show where he got all that money. This may be Obama's excuse NOT to choose Hillary.

    Debbie Hamilton
    Right Truth