Perhaps Victor Pinchuk was just the tip of the iceberg. A new book hits the shelves in two weeks that claims that Hillary Clinton traded favors for big-bucks donations to the Clinton Foundation while serving as Secretary of State. Unlike Newsweek, the New York Times’ Amy Chozick doesn’t lead with handwringing over what Hillary’s “enemies” will do with this information, although the story does start with … Rand Paul:
The book does not hit shelves until May 5, but already the Republican Rand Paul has called its findings “big news” that will “shock people” and make voters “question” the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” by Peter Schweizer — a 186-page investigation of donations made to the Clinton Foundation by foreign entities — is proving the most anticipated and feared book of a presidential cycle still in its infancy.
The book, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, asserts that foreign entities who made payments to the Clinton Foundation and to Mr. Clinton through high speaking fees received favors from Mrs. Clinton’s State Department in return.
“We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds,” Mr. Schweizer writes.
The Newsweek story, once it dispensed with the Republican-overreach spin, never quite got around to making an explicit quid pro quo argument on Pinchuk. The best it does — and it’s enough — is to show that Pinchuk’s company violated UN and US sanctions on trade with Iran in the oil-production field, and that Hillary’s State Department didn’t do anything about it. That looks very suspicious, with Pinchuk’s visibility high as a donor with at least $8.6 million invested in the Clinton family business, but a failure to act can be explained or excused out of ignorance — even if that ignorance seems implausible, to put it mildly.
Schweizer goes beyond Newsweek’s model. He links payments to the Clinton Foundation to specific policy changes that benefit donors. For instance, one South American donor made a lot of money when Hillary Clinton pursued the free-trade policy with Colombia that her fellow Democrats had spent years blocking during the preceding Bush administration. Chozick notes that Clinton Cash will focus more on money that went directly into their pockets, though, through the speaking tours of Bill Clinton. Eleven of the 13 $550K-plus speeches given by the former President took place during Hillary’s tenure as SecState, Schweizer will document in the book.
“During Hillary’s years of public service, the Clintons have conducted or facilitated hundreds of large transactions” with foreign governments and individuals, he writes. “Some of these transactions have put millions in their own pockets.”
Newsweek’s Rory Ross spun the story about Republicans attacking Hillary; Chozick frames this as a vindication of Rand Paul. Undoubtedly, Team Hillary will be working overtime the next two weeks to discredit Schweizer as a partisan hack and the book as rehashed gossip, but Chozick warns that may not work. Schweizer, a Hudson Institution fellow, does not hide his distaste for the Clintons, but he also documents his meticulous research from “tax records and government documents.” The Clintons may be forced to come up with some actual answers … assuming the media isn’t more focused on who will attend a same-sex wedding these days.