How the GOP can make a real issue of the Clintons’ web of interests

Bill Clinton speaks at a Clinton Global Initiative event in Morocco, which was largely funded by a donation from a state-owned mineral company, May 6. (AP Photo / Abdeljalil Bounhar)

Bill Clinton speaks at a Clinton Global Initiative event in Morocco, which was largely funded by a donation from a state-owned mineral company, May 6. Bitten bottom lip sold separately. (AP Photo / Abdeljalil Bounhar)

There is much to write about the tangled web of interests surrounding the Clinton family due to donations to their foundations by foreign governments and corporations both at home and overseas. (The latest: Bill Clinton’s shrugging off the allegations that those who paid his soaring speaking fees and those who donated to the Clintons’ charities bought access to his wife while she was secretary of state by joking, “I just work here. I don’t know.”) But as damaging as these allegations ought to be to public trust in Hillary Clinton as she makes another run for the White House, they probably won’t materially affect the 2016 election if there’s nothing beyond the allegations.

So, absent an extremely unlikely prosecution of Hillary Clinton, the GOP needs a way to broaden the case against her. One possibility is to make the election about cronyism more broadly.

Right on cue, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning explaining his conversion from a supporter of the Export-Import Bank to an advocate of shutting it down. Perry cites a guilty plea last month by a former officer at the bank on bribery charges and the 31 pending investigations of the bank. But he also finds a way to tie the case against the Ex-Im Bank, which many House Republicans and corporate leaders have been making for months, to another longtime effort on the right, corporate tax reform:

“One of the biggest challenges America faces is sluggish economic growth. This is complicated by an absurdly complex tax code, which is riddled with lobbyist-driven loopholes and saddled with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. The ever-expanding federal debt — fueled by ever-rising federal spending — is another major challenge, particularly because we can’t grow our way out of this $18 trillion hole. A third challenge is an explosion of new regulations, thanks to ObamaCare, the Dodd-Frank law and President Obama’s out-of-control executive branch.

“If we want U.S. companies to win in the global marketplace, we have to do three things. First, we need to clean up the tax code, ensuring that corporate taxes are fair, simple and competitive. Today, the top federal corporate tax rate is 35%, one of the highest in the developed world. And that is before you pile on state and local taxes.”

The other things he mentions are other staples of GOP rhetoric: reducing spending to shrink the debt, and curbing regulations. All three, he argues, would be boosted by shutting down the Ex-Im Bank:

“We won’t have the moral credibility to reduce corporate taxes if we continue to subsidize corporate exports for corporations that already enjoy low effective tax rates, like General Electric and Boeing. We won’t have the moral credibility to reform government programs that benefit future retirees if we don’t first reform government programs that benefit big businesses like Caterpillar. We won’t be able to give businesses more regulatory latitude if we continue to operate a government bank with an emerging record of corporate corruption. …

“We could pair Ex-Im’s retirement with corporate tax reform — a more effective way to improve the competitiveness of U.S. companies. We should work with our partners in the World Trade Organization to roll back the use of export-import banks by other countries, so that American exporters don’t face an unfair playing field. The end result would be freer trade and higher growth.”

(Spoiler alert: Hillary Clinton is totally on board with the Ex-Im Bank’s subsidies.)

Another sign that Republicans see this argument as a path forward is the rhetoric coming from Carly Fiorina, the former technology executive who entered the race this week. Already, Fiorina is showing signs of trying to use her business experience as a way to critique industry in a way that Mitt Romney never quite managed in 2012. Timothy Carney makes the following observations of Fiorina in a new piece for the Washington Examiner:

“Fiorina’s attacks on Obama’s interventionist economics aren’t the typical GOP cries about socialism, or blunt bashing of ‘big government.’ She drills down to the crucial point: Bigger government enriches the insiders at the expense of everyone else. As she puts it, ‘[T]here is a political class that is totally disconnected from [ordinary people’s] lives and that’s stacking the deck against them.’

“She said last week that the ‘dirty little secret’ of ‘Obamacare or Dodd-Frank or all of these other huge complicated pieces of regulation or legislation, is that they don’t get written on their own. … They get written in part by lobbyists for big companies who want to understand that the rules are going to work for them.’

“At the National Review Institute’s summit Saturday, Fiorina busted out the Warren line again: ‘Crony capitalism is alive and well. Elizabeth Warren, of course, is wrong about what to do about it. She claims that the way to solve crony capitalism is more complexity, more regulations, more legislation, worse tax codes. And of course the more complicated government gets — and it’s really complicated now — the less the small and the powerless can deal with it.'”

That’s exactly right. If Fiorina (and Perry) can marry a populist sense of frustration that crosses party lines with more traditional GOP economic arguments, they may prove to be more formidable candidates than most people assume. Even if neither of them elbows their way toward the top of a crowded primary field, they may be able to elevate this line of thinking to the point it becomes part of the main Republican message in 2016.

If that happens, it will be only natural to cast Hillary Clinton, with the apparent conflicts of interest that are already being widely reported, as central to and representative of this bigger problem with special interests in Washington. And that could be a very powerful message.

Reader Comments 0

66 comments
RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The big question is why the CGI was needed to begin with, assuming that Bill was only interested in humanitarian aid.  If his motives were pure, could he not have partnered with Bill/Melinda Gates Foundation or one of the hundreds of worldwide charities and offered his tremendous ability to raise money for humanitarian purposes, in a totally non political organization.   Obviously other motivations were involved.  

MHSmith
MHSmith

 Bill & Hillary’s hyper-capitalist disaster: How the Clintons can apologize for a decade of deadly policies

.

Hillary Clinton has shown signs of a leftward turn this year. But if she really wants to make good, here's how



And given the havoc wreaked by husband Bill’s policies in office, she should consider preempting attacks from Bernie Sanders and just go ahead and do a collective fessing up, her and Bill, for what that presidency wrought, how it helped shape our economic predicament. Hillary will undoubtedly rely on the master talent in Bill on the campaign trail, and having a former president in tow means a vote for Hillary is an unprecedented political buy-one-get-one-free situation. But that means that Bill’s record must be defended as well as Hillary’s. And that means apologies.

But here’s the good news, Hillary: Bill has already shown how it’s done. Granted, he was sort of forced to–the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti brought the global media to the Caribbean nation, and Clinton-era trade policies were discovered to have ravaged the country and put countless Haitians on the edge of starvation. They eat dirt cakes in Haiti because of Clinton.  Dirt cakes.... Haitians mix mud with margarine and salt and sun-bake the tiles as a means to stave off hunger pains. That’s how much Washington screwed up Haiti.



Clinton, as part of his “free trade” fiasco, forced down tariff barriers in Haiti, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, so that corporate rice farmers in Arkansas (hmm…) could flood the Haitian market with their federally subsidized product, decimating domestic Haitian production so that when global food and fuel inflation hit, the country was no longer self-sustaining with domestic farming.



http://www.salon.com/2015/05/06/bill_hillarys_hyper_capitalist_disaster_how_the_clintons_can_apologize_for_a_decade_of_deadly_policies/




Helping the world... yeah.



Mud cake anyone?

MarkVV
MarkVV

Mudslinging is certainly in full swing, when the subject person is Hillary Clinton. From those posts one might think that a) Clinton Foundation = Hillary Clinton, b) The purpose of Clinton Foundation is to provide campaign financing for Hillary Clinton.

The mudslingers thus throw mud on the following: “The Foundation focuses on improving global health and wellness, increasing opportunity for women and girls, reducing childhood obesity and preventable diseases, creating economic opportunity and growth, and helping communities address the effects of climate change.

MarkVV
MarkVV

One gets used to the aggressive comments on an anonymous blog, and I also do not hesitate to use scornful language when commenting something that I consider outrageous. But it is still breathtaking to see comments like the following one:


RafeHollister: “The government of Saudi Arabia is surely capable of buying mosquito nets for Africans or drinking water for Haitians without running their money through the Clinton foundation, where they know it is skimmed.”


Not only because of the unfounded accusation of “skimming,” but more importantly, the callousness of dismissing the humanitarian help to people in developing countries as something other countries could do. Let’s see if RafeHollister would tell The American Red Cross, or any other charity, or any individual making a contribution to help people in Africa not to do that because the government of Saudi Arabia surely was capable of providing that help.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@MarkVV Having a hard time avoiding the point Mark?  Governments would get more for their money if they made direct contributions and would have more control over how the money is spent, with a direct donation.  The only purpose of sending the money through the Corruptons is to buy favor.  Small donors might benefit from pooling the money, but that is not true of big donations.


I think someone who thinks that we shouldn't hold people running for President to the highest ethical and moral standards possible is just an apologist and a clueless partisan hack.  Tom Brady is presumed guilty, but if he was a Clinton, all we would hear from the press is there is no direct evidence or there is no controlling legal authority.  The double standards or special standards for the Clinton's is just appalling.  


BTW, nothing in my comment dismissed the validity of humanitarian help, you made that up.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@RafeHollister @MarkVV 

“The only purpose of sending the money through the Corruptons is to buy favor.”

The idiocy of these accusations and name-calling is overwhelming. Someone, who believes that Saudi Arabia is giving money used for “buying mosquito nets for Africans or drinking water for Haitians” to Clinton Foundation to buy favor, is delusional beyond help.

Juanx
Juanx

" Even if neither of them elbows their way toward the top of a crowded primary field, they may be able to elevate this line of thinking to the point it becomes part of the main Republican message in 2016."


Perry will elbow his way to a meeter greeter job at Wal Mart. Fiorina's job performance at HP will never allow her to sit in the Oval Office for even a manicure. She will be the back up for Perry's job at Wal Mart. 

MHSmith
MHSmith

The Billionaire Whose Clinton Foundation Ties Could Be Trouble for Hillary Clinton



On May 5, the Clinton campaign rolled out a website, the Briefing, to attack Schweizer and rebut the book's insinuations of corruption. But the damage Hillary Clinton has sustained is largely self-inflicted. Although the Clinton Foundation signed an agreement with the White House to disclose its donors as a condition of her becoming secretary of state, it hasn't fulfilled the pledge. A New York Times investigation of Giustra's uranium mining deal turned up donors whom the Clinton Foundation failed to disclose. Bloomberg found an additional 1,100 undisclosed foreign donors. The Boston Globe turned up even more. 


This may help explain why a majority of independents in a May 5 New York Times/CBS News poll said that although Hillary Clinton is a "strong leader" who "shares their values," she is "not honest and trustworthy." 



http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-05-07/the-billionaire-whose-clinton-foundation-ties-could-be-trouble-for-hillary-clinton



All of this on the heals of Hillary's “blasting "unaccountable money" and calling for a campaign finance overhaul”.



Hillary's "self-inflicted damages" are no insinuation, it's a gift  to the GOP that is not likely to stop giving. 



Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@MHSmith debunked


The fact is, Clinton was one of nine voting members on the foreign investments committee, which also includes the secretaries of the Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy, the attorney general, and representatives from two White House offices — the United States Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. (Separately, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission needed to approve (and did approve) the transfer of two uranium recovery licenses as part of the sale.)


please read that real slow ok

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

While Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" works for Democrats and on their constituency, they don't work too well with conservative and INDEPENDENT voters.

You're absolutely right, Kyle. A different strategy is in order.

"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

^^^ That one won't work with democratic voters. They'll accept anything the party puts forth, whether they suspect her or not.


Steve13
Steve13

Conservatives must realize that the Ex-Im Bank, like the Federal Government in general, picks winners and losers.  Even Charles Koch realizes this.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Childish insinuations will get old with the voters,  go shut down something...


LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@Jefferson1776 @LilBarryBailout

The pawns are those who have to vote Democrat to ensure their meager livelihood.  Who have so little self-respect that they're planning on a standard of living that can be supported by SNAP, section 8, and Obamacare, and, later, Social Security and Medicare.

Real Americans want better than that and don't mind working productive lives to make it happen.

lvg
lvg

Elizabeth Warren is forming an exploratory committee. Time for good old fashioned cat fight.

332-206
332-206

Breaking Breaking Breaking:

A brand (ha ha) new way Republicans can be against something or other...

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Get used to the idea of the corrupt Clintons in the White House again.  A slight majority of voters are now dependent on the minority of tax paying Real Americans to keep their heads above water and Democrats are the party of handouts.  In fact, Hitlery might be the least destructive of potential Democrat candidates.  Her hatred of America is not as pronounced as most leftists, and, if she's like her nominal "husband" she at least understands that the best way to blow out government spending is to let the job creators have a little freer hand than the liberal fascist Obama.  Let the economy grow a little bit and start the tax revenue flowing faster.

JKLtwo
JKLtwo

Clueless Demwits to the rescue.  Power to the sheeple!


hillary 2016:  If you thought voting for skin color was a good idea...

sssinff
sssinff

@JKLtwo


People voted for Obama because he was black. That's the exact reason why Herman Cain was elected presi--


Oh wait...

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

A Richmond jury today convicted former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on 11 of 14 corruption counts. His co-defendant wife Maureen McDonnell was found guilty on nine corruption counts and obstruction of justice.


The charges stemmed from granting favors to a wealthy Virginia businessman in exchange for more than $177,000 worth of lavish gifts, vacations, and loans. The pair was acquitted of bank fraud charges.


http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/jury-virginia-gov-bob-mcdonnell-guilty-corruption/story?id=25250287


Amazing the difference between him and Corruptons..  HillBillary spend $177,000 a week "just paying their bills" according to ole Slick.  If the charming couple were Republicans they probably would be neighbors of Bob McDonnell and his wife in the big house.


MHSmith
MHSmith

Hillary's honesty called into question. 


Whether it's emails or the Clinton Foundation or the Scooby-Doo van, a kind of negative dynamic is in its nascent stage. Young, but there. And Clinton needs to convince people it's a temporary downdraft, that she is no caricature.


http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/06/opinions/borger-hillary-trustworthy/


Who wudathunkit?



stogiefogey
stogiefogey

"...Texas Gov. Rick Perry has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning explaining his conversion from a supporter of the Export-Import Bank to an advocate of shutting it down."

Well at least this time he was able to actually remember the name of the agency he wants to shut down, so there's hope. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Good take Kyle, but a hard sale.  We seem stuck in the old runaround that the Corruptons always use.  You say it is so, they say it ain't so, and there is no irrefutable referee.  The Conservative media backs up the "so" claim, but the Corruptons then dismiss the corroboration as just the "right wing conspiracy crowd".  The majority leftwing progressive media sit on the sidelines and refuse to get involved in the story, hoping it will go away. 


The no nothings, willfully uninformed, and generally clueless convince themselves that "it ain't so", or they would have heard someone make a big deal out of it.  


Bottom line, I don't think there is any shady unethical thing that the Corruptons could do that would disqualify Hillary in the minds of the left, due to the lack of scrutiny from the Justice Dept, the courts, or the media.


For the GOP to win, they need to quit trying to prove something on Hillary and concentrate on the economy, something Hillary is trying to avoid at all costs.  They need to make their message that Hillary is Obama 2.0 and if you like the slow economic growth re-distributive big government high tax economy, that has failed to produce jobs and prosperity for the last 8 years, vote for Hillary, but if you want to return to a growing economy and prosperity of the Reagan years, when everyone who wanted one, had a job, well you need to vote Republican.

IReportYouWhine#1
IReportYouWhine#1

I don't understand why she doesn't have iron bars separating her from the outside world. Honestly, our leaders are exempt from following the law and moral guidelines? All it takes is one precedent and they can all do it?


How much longer will we have a Constitution?

Mandingo
Mandingo

Here we go again...... Let no facts get in way of your opinions. A hard core GOP voter is just as dumb as a hard core Dem voter. Both parties depend on these " base voters " to win elections so the pot has to be stirred based on their simplistic understanding of non issues they sincerely value. Rafael Cruz  or the righteous reverend Hank Huckaby  will win Georgia by a landslide  on the GOP side and Lady Hillary will have no problems on the Dem side. I won't bother to vote this time around.......It has become a complete waste of time.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

http://www.factcheck.org/2015/04/no-veto-power-for-clinton-on-uranium-deal/


The fact is, Clinton was one of nine voting members on the foreign investments committee, which also includes the secretaries of the Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy, the attorney general, and representatives from two White House offices — the United States Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. (Separately, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission needed to approve (and did approve) the transfer of two uranium recovery licenses as part of the sale.)

This is what passes for a Clinton scandal these days. The notion that she alone approved a sale quid pro quo is absurd. Even Fox News ( Chris Wallace) has recognized this fact. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

Trying to reason with Republicans about Hillary Clinton is useless, because they refuse reason, if it does not agree with their pre-conceived ideas. Try telling them that foreign donations to a charity, which does humanitarian work all over the world, is neither illegal, not unethical, or that Hillary Clinton was not even part of that charity while Secretary of State; you cannot penetrate that wall of denial of reason.

As for the verbiage from the Republican candidates for nomination, shown in the column, it is only interesting for its vacuity. They talk as if lobbyists worked only for the goals of the Democrats and that they and loopholes will disappear if only they are elected. The talks are full of the empty words like “smaller government” and “reducing spending” and “cleaning up the tax codes,” “curbing regulations,” etc., all the things that mean nothing without spelling out the details.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@MarkVV Take the blind fold off and pull your fingers out of your ears, Mark.  People don't pay Bill Clinton 500K to give his canned stump speech to an adoring crowd of Katzhatistani's (sp) , without expecting something in return.  The government of Saudi Arabia is surely capable of buying mosquito nets for Africans or drinking water for Haitians without running their money through the Clinton foundation, where they know it is skimmed.  So why send the money by way of  the Corrupton's if they are only interested in charity?

MarkVV
MarkVV

@RafeHollister @MarkVV  Put up some evidence first.


As for, "they (the foreign governments and people" can do it themselves," such an inanity does not even deserve an answer.  Why don't you apply it to the US foreign aid, governmental as well as from individuals and other organizations?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister @MarkVV Take the blind fold off and pull your fingers out of your ears, Mark.  People don't pay Bill Clinton 500K to give his canned stump speech to an adoring crowd of Katzhatistani's (sp) , without expecting something in return


Debunked see above.



MHSmith
MHSmith

A couple of things you can bet the farm on happening under a  president Hillary...


Hillary will give us free trade deals just like Bill's greatest achievement, NAFTA as said wife Hillary; then blame the GOP for more offshore outsourcing of American jobs, while supporting illegal immigration and a blanket amnesty. 


No need to say what her meaning of tax reform will be. Under Hillary's watch transparency will be as clear as mud. Growing the government and government regulations will go a steady diet of social engineering steroids. 





DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I stopped reading, Kyle. This is NOT a GOP issue, it is an AMERICAN CITIZEN issue. The GOP doesn't have to attack Hillary on the basis of dishonesty, corruption, and misbehavior in office, it's out there plain as day for everyone to see. The REAL question is do people inclined to vote for DEMOCRATS care, or is this what they want for a leader of their Party and potentially of our Country?


If Democrats continue to prop up the Corzines and Clintons et. al. this Nation will ultimately collapse into a cesspool of corruption. You can say the same for the Republicans. We need leaders in BOTH Parties, not grub worms.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar "will resonate with voters

No"

Polling shows that's only true of Democratic voters, who apparently could watch her kill Bill with her own bare hands and still blame Bush.

straker
straker

Since the GOP cannot come up with any realistic way of addressing our problems in education, crime, crumbling infrastructure, jobs, the economy and global warming,  it only follows that all they can do is attack Hillary and hope their gullible electorate will think that is enough.

GB101
GB101

@straker Let's consider what the Ds propose to address the issues you cite:


Education:  more money more money more money more money more money 


Crime: more investment in communities of color more investment in communities of color more investment in communities of color more investment in communities of color


Crumbling infrastructure:  stimulus for shovel ready jobs, which the president himself joked about as being nor shovel ready


Jobs:  more jobs programs more jobs programs more jobs programs more jobs programs more jobs programs 


Economy: more government control over the economy 


Global:  jetting around the world, having conferences in places like Davos, and pretending that China and India will pay attention to "accords" and "frameworks."



TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

Let the sowing of FUD continue...did you notice nothing here but innuendo, what if, maybe and bashing a guy for making money.  Wonder how the NPV of Clintons speaking fees stack up against Ronnie Rayguns?  $5 million in 1988 dollars is is almost $10 million today and that was just Ronnie's first speech.

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

@Kyle_Wingfield @TheRealJDW


Around the time someone had real evidence Bill was influence peddling. Hilary doesn't even go him to these events...cramps his style :)

WilJohnson
WilJohnson

As a conservative, this is embarrassing. Thinking that what third-tier candidates like Fiorina or Perry think matters at all demonstrates desperation and a lack of vision as to building the diversity of support  necessary to defeat the Clinton/Obama voter coalition.


Here's what I know about Ex Im. The United States ranks #130 or so in exports as a percentage of GDP. I think that ties us with Haiti.  Since 1934 the Ex Im Bank has underwritten $600 billion in loans and guarantees to support sales of American products abroad. China did that for their exports since 2013. China is building the Silk Road and establishing themselves as the world economic visionary and our Tea Party Retreads are talking about private servers, speaking fees and striving to be Fox News contributors after they drop out of the race. They are drinking the Clinton Cash Kool-aid.


I think Mr. Wingfield has taken a sip of same.



Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@WilJohnson And I'll bet you a subscription to this blog that China's export percentage decreases over time as its GDP grows and its people consume more themselves (i.e., as China becomes more like the U.S. and Europe).

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@WilJohnson If the U.S. were to have the same exports/GDP percentage as, say, Germany, our exports would have to equal 1/8 of the entire rest of the world's GDP. Size matters here.

The European Union, whose combined GDP is a bit larger than ours and whose standard of living is roughly equivalent to ours (as opposed to, say, that of China), has exports representing about 12% of GDP. Our percentage is about 13%. I'd say we're doing fine.

WilJohnson
WilJohnson

@Kyle_Wingfield @WilJohnson And wait until the demand from Pakistan and India kick in as China's normalizes. There will be high speed rail from Beijing to Istanbul and we'll be talking on this blog about adding a bus line to Acworth.