She kept her own server for professional e-mails, which State Department didn’t archive, and 30,000 of which she destroyed in violation of records-keeping laws and every best practice of public servants.
She refused to turn over that server for inspection, and asked us to trust her because she had eliminated only personal e-mails, pinky swear.
She promised to disclose Clinton Foundation donors she didn’t disclose.
Her foundation had to refile five years of taxes because it mistakenly left off hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign donations off of at least three years of returns.
A Canadian branch of her, ahem, charity failed to disclose foreign donors, and the Clinton campaign decided lying about a Canadian disclosure law would cover them on that front.
It turns out she’s basically running a multi-billion-dollar international money laundering and favor-trading venture made to look like a charity. That is an uncharitable way of putting it, but so’s her charity.
And, all this while running on a platform of gutting the First Amendment, which must be sacrificed because one can’t possibly expect a Clinton to behave herself when it comes to money and politics without the Constitution being changed to stop her. (And even then, I mean, who are we kidding?)
The NYT reports, “Hillary Clinton Embraces a ‘Super PAC,’ Trying to Erode a Republican Edge.” Indeed, Clinton’s acting in opposition to her professed values is certainly the Republicans’ fault for existing and deigning to campaign against her. Just as it was only Republicans’ existence that caused Obama to spurn public financing in 2008 and turn to Super PACs in 2012.
Hillary Rodham Clinton will begin personally courting donors for a “super PAC” supporting her candidacy, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has fully embraced these independent groups that can accept unlimited checks from big donors and are already playing a major role in the 2016 race.
Her decision is another escalation in what is expected to be the most expensive presidential race in history, and it has the potential to transform the balance of power in presidential campaigning, where Republican outside groups have tended to outspend their Democratic counterparts.
Mrs. Clinton’s allies hope that with her support, the top Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA Action, will raise $200 million to $300 million. That is on par with what the largest Republican organizations, such as the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads super PAC and its nonprofit affiliate, spent in 2012.
Mrs. Clinton is meeting with Priorities USA Action donors on her current fund-raising swing for her campaign, which involves a three-day trip through California. One meeting took place in San Francisco on Wednesday, and another, in Los Angeles, is planned for Thursday, according to two people familiar with Mrs. Clinton’s schedule.
How can Clinton reconcile her aggressive advocacy for reigning in big money in politics with her embrace of a super PAC aiming to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to tear down her eventual Republican opponent?
The answer she will likely give to that question, when pressed, is some version of the unilateral disarmament case: The only way to bring about real campaign finance reform is for me to get elected president. The only way for me to get elected president is to ensure a close-to-fair financial fight. The only way to ensure a close-to-fair financial fight is to help the super PAC raise money.
But, the honest truth is that Clinton isn’t likely to be heavily pressed on the question by anyone other than the media. Why? Because for all the sturm und drang about the corrosive role that money plays in politics, there’s very little evidence that anyone outside of a narrow swath of committed campaign finance reformers would even consider making it a voting issue in 2016.
He offers the Gallup list of concerns of Americans, on which campaign finance and election reform don’t make much of an appearance. He’s right that “campaign finance” per se doesn’t do a ton for voters, but check out the issue right at the top of this list when Americans are asked an open-ended question:
“Dissatisfaction with government”
There is no doubt that the issue of money in politics is a huge factor in that dissatisfaction, which in turn fuels many of these polls showing Americans of all stripes trust local and state governments more than ever and far more than the federal government. Though I’m as worried as anyone that American voters will give Clinton a pass on her various corruptions and hypocrisies, with the help of a willing media, it feels a bit foolhardy to assume Americans don’t care about money in politics because they don’t call it “campaign finance reform,” as liberals wish they would. They might call it cronyism or corporatism. In fact, it’s one of the few issues you could get an Occupier and a Tea Partier to sing from the same sheet on— the wrong people have too much influence, and the big connected guy gets all the breaks thanks to that collusion with government, and it’s all very slimy.
For all those convinced that the serial allegations of ethical impropriety swirling around Hillary Clinton will puncture her prospects of winning the presidency next year, there’s a relevant precedent to consider: On the day Bill Clinton was reelected by more than eight million votes in 1996, a solid 54 percent majority of voters said in exit polling that they did not consider him honest and trustworthy.
It’s possible that voters have since grown less tolerant of perceived ethical missteps, such as the questions Hillary Clinton is facing over her private State Department email account and the Clinton Foundation’s fund-raising practices. But it’s more likely that empathy, faith in her competency, and ideological compatibility will count more than integrity in shaping voters’ verdict on Hillary Clinton—just as they did for her husband.
Few presidents ever faced as many distinct ethical allegations from their opponents and the press as Bill Clinton did during his two terms. Those charges created persistently high doubts about his honesty and morality. But none of them produced a fatal wound.
Many factors allowed Clinton to survive questions about his character: satisfaction with overall peace and prosperity, respect for his skill and effectiveness, and distaste for critics who repeatedly seemed to overreach. But his most important shield may have been the belief that he understood, and genuinely hoped to ameliorate, the problems of ordinary Americans. For Hillary Clinton, it’s probably more important to match his strength on that front than to improve on the weak perceptions of his character. And that’s something she has not yet done.
She’s not as good as Bill, so she shouldn’t get away with what he does. I fear that, ironically, she’s running in a time so rife with utter distrust in public institutions, particularly federal ones, it might actually behoove her. Let’s face it, if you think the federal government is basically a hopeless den of iniquity, a Clinton looks like the devil of that den you know. She looks the part of a cronied up, as-little-as-you-expect, check-the-boxes politician. Plus, first woman president!
I hope it’s not enough but it might be. It also certainly leaves open plenty of room for contrast for a positive, unsullied newcomer who offers some semblance of hope for rehabilitating our public institutions by acknowledging the American public’s real problems with them. Clinton will only compound them. I pray we’re not resigned to that, and that someone can credibly offer better. We deserve it.