Bill Clinton, The Six Million Dollar (Foreign) Man
posted at 8:50 am on January 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Right on time, the AP reports that Bill Clinton raked in almost six million dollars in speaking fees from foreign sources — just in 2008. By “right on time”, of course, I mean far too late to do anything about some obvious conflicts of interest this presents for Hillary Clinton as the now-confirmed Secretary of State. For instance, the government of Kuwait paid the former president over a third of a million dollars for a single appearance through its national bank (via Instapundit):
Former President Bill Clinton earned nearly $6 million in speaking fees last year, almost all of it from foreign companies, according to financial documents filed by his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show that $4.6 million of the former president’s reported $5.7 million in 2008 honoraria came from foreign sources, including Kuwait’s national bank, other firms and groups in Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico and Portugal and a Hong Kong-based company that spent $100,000 on federal lobbying last year.
Executives at many of the firms that paid honoraria to Bill Clinton have also donated large amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation, according to documents it released last year as part of an agreement with Congress on Hillary Clinton’s nomination as secretary of state. That agreement was aimed at preventing the appearance of any conflict of interest between the ex-president’s charitable organization and his wife’s new job as the United States’ top diplomat.
Perhaps the Senate should have taken its time in perusing the qualifications of Hillary before leaping to a confirmation vote. Unfortunately, Republicans got scolded by John McCain and Orrin Hatch on the need for bipartisanship on confirmations instead of the need to vet candidates thoroughly. Now we have a Secretary of State whose family earned a fortune from speaking engagements around the world and took payments from at least one government last year.
I wonder how many more checks the Clintons got from nationalized banks and industries abroad over the last few years? Wouldn’t that be something we should know about the chief diplomat of the US?