Now this is a Bill Clinton theme worth pursuing in 2016. In the final days of his presidency, while the First Couple began to strip the White House of its furnishings (and the Ws off of the computer keyboards), the soon-to-be-former president issued the last of his clemency actions. The most significant of these was a pardon for Marc Rich, a billionaire who had flouted international sanctions and then fled the country before his case could be tried. The pardon for a Democratic donor who had become a fugitive shocked even Democrats at the time, especially since the Rich family turned out to be handsome donors to the Clinton library.
It has been 15 years almost to the day since the Rich pardon. Marc Rich died in 2013, but his legacy lives on … mainly in the Clinton family’s fortunes, as the New York Post reports today in an essay by Peter Schweitzer (via Instapundit):
Rich died in 2013. But his business partners, lawyers, advisers and friends have showered millions of dollars on the Clintons in the decade and a half following the scandal. …
Chagoury has been very generous to the Clintons in the years following the Rich pardon. He has organized an event at which Bill was paid $100,000 to speak (in 2003), donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and in 2009 pledged a cool $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative. The Chagourys were also active in Hillary’s 2008 presidential bid. Michel Chaghouri, a relative in Los Angeles, was a bundler and served on her campaign staff. Numerous other relatives gave the maximum $4,600 each to her campaign. …
Then there’s Russian investor Sergei Kurzin. He worked for Marc Rich in the 1990s, traveling around Russia looking for suitable investment opportunities in the crumbled former Soviet Union.
An engineer by training, Kurzin has been involved in lucrative deals in Kazakhstan and other countries, including the lucrative Uranium One deal that involved Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra.
Russia bought 20 percent of all uranium production capacity in the US, a deal that needed to be signed off on by the State Department when it was headed by Hillary Clinton. While the deal was going through, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 to give a speech in Moscow, paid for by a Russian investment bank promoting the uranium deal.
Kurzin, meanwhile, donated $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.
The Uranium One deal is an especially potent topic. That required approvals from the State Department (among other) at the same time that Bill was collecting his $500,000 fee from one of the principals in the deal. It eventually put a substantial amount of control on US uranium in the hands of a Russian consortium.
The pardon of Marc Rich should get more attention as perhaps the launch of the corrupt post-presidency career of both Clintons. It broke precedent, which had required fugitives to return to the US prior to any clemency action, and it involved big-time donors who had broken laws to acquire vast sums of wealth. The Clintons spent the next fifteen years following that pattern, amassing a huge fortune for themselves while purporting to be doing nothing but charitable work. The Clintons made $57 million alone during the four years in which Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State, with deals like Uranium One contributing significantly to that haul.
Forget the personal peccadilloes of Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. Follow the money instead. The Clintons have left plenty to track.