What difference, at this point, will this make?

Hillary Clinton’s State Department aides were sometimes consulted “as a practical matter” during the independent review process of President Bill Clinton’s lucrative global appearances and business deals to get “additional perspective,” a State Department official acknowledged to POLITICO.

In one instance, the department’s top ethics lawyer Jim Thessin decided to consult with the secretary’s close aides about a 2010 request from the former president to accept an invitation to speak in China, according to documents obtained by POLITICO….

It’s unclear with whom Thessin discussed the proposed Bill Clinton appearance, one of several with Chinese-government sponsors, but thousands of pages of State Department ethics-review records obtained by POLITICO under the Freedom of Information Act show that Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff and longtime aide Cheryl Mills was copied on virtually all requests.

In some instances, the records show Thessin and Mills exchanged emails about Bill Clinton’s proposed speeches or travels. The substance of those emails was deleted from the records released by the State Department, which cited a need to preserve internal deliberations.

It appears that consultations with Hillary’s office was often a one-way affair. The State Department knew Bill received “honorariums,” but had no idea the scope of the payments until they later appeared on disclosures, according to Politico’s Josh Gerstein:

“I do not have a problem with this as long as President Clinton is not serving as a U.S. government employee at the time of the appearance and when he is paid an honorarium,” Thessin wrote. “If not an employee, he may accept reimbursements of expenses and an honorarium for his speech/talk, but he may not receive any gifts from the Canadian government.”…

Bill Clinton got similar approval for the 2010 speech sponsored by the Thai government, for an unknown amount, and for an environmental event in Abu Dhabi in 2011, which carried a $500,000 paycheck.

The records suggest that ethics reviewers generally did not know how much money Clinton was receiving for the speaking engagements until his wife’s disclosure form was filed months or even a year or more after the events.

Honoraria? If Clinton was getting $175,000 from the Canadian government, it’s hardly an honorarium. It looks a lot more like a gift to the Secretary of State through her spouse. What kind of gift would have crossed an ethics threshold that the six-figure paydays didn’t violate? A fully restored Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder?

The Clintons set up a payoff circuit, and the State Department made sure not to cross Hillary while they were using it. If Mills and the Clintons kept Thessin in the dark about the scale of the cash going into Bill Clinton’s pocket (and therefore Hillary’s), it seems Thessin wasn’t terribly interested in knowing it, either.

The Clintons have continued to claim that the State Department approved the donations and speeches as a way of claiming to be clean. It’s more an example of their ability to manipulate government power for their own benefit … as ever.