True enough — but one gets the sense that Nancy Pelosi still remains very open to whatever explanation Hillary Clinton will offer … once a reporter gets to really press her on the Clinton Foundation scandals. This exchange is notable both for Pelosi’s response and the venue in which it’s demanded. Pelosi got grilled on MSNBC, not Fox or CNN, with Thomas Roberts pressing in extensive detail and full context the sordid payoff from a charity trying to raise money to build schools in impoverished nations. “The Clintons will have to answer for the foundation,” Pelosi responds, but then promptly tries to rationalize the greed away:
Well, the Clintons will have to answer for the foundation. But I would imagine that President Clinton’s participation in that event increased the take, and the money spent at the foundation is for a very good cause as well. So it was sort of, uh, everyone benefited from it. But there’s no question it raises questions that they’ll have to answer.
Pelosi’s rationalization won’t hold much water. Deborah Sontag’s article in the New York Times makes it clear that Pelosi’s speculation is simply untrue. “But the Happy Hearts Fund raised less money at the gala featuring Mr. Clinton than it did at its previous one,” Sontag reported, on top of which Clinton ended up taking 20% of the gross with his “honorarium.” Sounds like a bad investment, no?
By the way, Nemcova isn’t a blameless victim in this either. She wanted to rub elbows with the Clintons, and shoveled money out of her charity and away from the children she’s trying to help in doing so. What charity pays someone a half-million dollars to accept an award? Shouldn’t the awards go to those who give money to the charity?
This spin attempt from Pelosi misses the real issue anyway. The Clintons pose as philanthropists, but their charitable efforts appear aimed primarily at themselves and their political aspirations. Pelosi tells Roberts that “the money spent at the foundation is for a very good cause,” but their pass-through rate in 2013 was a scandalous 6.4%, and during Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State it averaged somewhere around 15%. At least 60% of the foundation’s income goes to pay administrative costs, and in at least one year they spent as much on private and first-class air travel as they did in programmatic grants. Charity Navigator finally put the foundation on its watch list because of their financial structure, which with any other charitable organization would result in investigations, not hosannas from the House Minority Leader.
This was nothing but greed and vainglory, two of the enduring qualities of both Clintons. And it’s gotten so bad that even MSNBC has noticed the stink.