As investigations into the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising practices intensify, the indications that improprieties occurred while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state have become impossible to ignore.
The Clintons’ self-defense is the same as it ever was; deflection, deception, and misdirection. But Hillary Clinton’s campaign team did make the substantive claim that no one has produced firm evidence of malpractice on the part of either Hillary or Bill Clinton.
This was a contention that was confirmed by Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer during an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday when he admitted that he had not been able to uncover “direct evidence” of corruption on the part of the Clintons.
“The smoking gun is in the pattern of behavior,” Schweizer said. “Most people that engage in criminal insider trading don’t send an email and say, ‘I’ve got inside information — buy this stock.’”
That’s true, but extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Thus far, despite myriad allegations that Hillary Clinton’s influence as America’s chief diplomat was for sale to the highest charitable donor, no direct evidence of dirty dealings on the part of the former first family had been uncovered.
That may have just changed.
An investigation conducted by reporters with The International Business Times has revealed that Bill Clinton personally profited from speeches sponsored by 13 corporations or trade associations that were also lobbying Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
“Many of the companies that paid Bill Clinton for these speeches — a roster of global giants that includes Microsoft, Oracle and Dell — engaged him within the same three-month period in which they were also lobbying the State Department in pursuit of their policy aims, federal disclosure documents show,” the IBT report read. “Several companies received millions of dollars in State Department contracts while Hillary Clinton led the institution.”
Ten of the 13 firms that both lobbied the State Department and paid Bill Clinton speaking fees did so within the very same three-month reporting period. This group includes five technology firms — Oracle, Dell, Microsoft, SalesForce and VeriSign — that collectively paid Bill Clinton a total of $1.05 million.
Federal records show that Microsoft and Oracle were lobbying Clinton’s State Department on, among other issues, immigrant work visas. Oracle was also lobbying in pursuit of legislation dealing with penalties for aiding espionage. Dell was concerned with tariffs imposed by European countries on its computer products. VeriSign was lobbying on cybersecurity and Internet taxation. SalesForce was lobbying on cloud computing, security controls and electronic privacy issues.
Three of the technology firms that paid Bill Clinton while lobbying Hillary Clinton’s agency also received lucrative State Department contracts. Microsoft received almost $4 million in such contracts after receiving none the year before Clinton joined President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. Oracle received $6.5 million in State Department contracts, a large increase from prior years. Dell secured contracts worth more than $28 million, up from just $2.5 million in the year before Clinton became secretary of state.
In order to accept the notion that Bill Clinton was unknowingly cashing seven-figure checks from the same firms that were asking his wife for a favor, one has to suspend disbelief and abandon common sense to an absurd degree. Surely, some committed ideologues will be able to do just that, but perhaps not enough to salvage Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions.