Tony Rodham testimony: "I deal through the Clinton Foundation"

Well, not much profit in this case, but it’s not to say that Tony Rodham didn’t try. The New York Times’ Steve Eder uncovers testimony from the brother of Hillary Clinton in a lawsuit, in which Rodham describes his business plan in Haiti, where he ended up on the board of a company that somehow got a license to mine gold in the impoverished nation. His Haitian dealings came directly through the Clinton Foundation, Rodham testified:

When Mr. Clinton worked as a co-chairman of Haiti’s earthquake recovery commission, Mr. Rodham and his partners sought a $22 million deal to rebuild homes in the country. In court proceedings three years ago in an unrelated lawsuit, Mr. Rodham explained how “a guy in Haiti” had “donated” 10,000 acres of land to him and described how he had leaned on Mr. Clinton to get the rebuilding project funded amid bureaucratic delays.

“I deal through the Clinton Foundation. That gets me in touch with the Haitian officials,” Mr. Rodham said, according to a transcript of his testimony. “I hound my brother-in-law, because it’s his fund that we’re going to get our money from. And he can’t do it until the Haitian government does it.

“And he keeps telling me, ‘Oh, it’s going to happen tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.’ Well, tomorrow hasn’t come yet.”

That deal didn’t pan out, but not for lack of trying. The Haitian government put the kibosh on this project, as it did the gold mining license, angry at exploitation disguised as relief. Eder’s report doesn’t reveal what happened to the “donated” land Rodham received, but the multimillion-dollar housing project linked to it never materialized. Rodham had to explain this in the context of legal fees he owed his attorney, the reason for the lawsuit.

Eder’s report reveals Rodham to be a ne’er-do-well relative who hoped to make a big score through his family. That didn’t exactly pan out either, but the Clintons took care of him in other ways:

When Mr. Rodham was short on cash in 2010, Mr. Clinton helped get him a job for $72,000 a year raising investments in GreenTech Automotive, an electric car company then owned by Terry McAuliffe, an old friend of Mr. Clinton’s and now the governor of Virginia.

“I was complaining to my brother-in-law I didn’t have any money. And he asked McAuliffe to give me a job,” Mr. Rodham said during the court proceedings, which were the result of a lawsuit over unpaid legal bills filed by his lawyer in a child support case.

GreenTech turned into another sleazy deal, but it didn’t stop McAuliffe from winning the gubernatorial race in Virginia.  NY Mag’s Margaret Hartmann thinks the NYT’s story is a nothingburger, too:

The former president and his foundation both say they had no involvement in Rodham’s Haiti deal. If Rodham had his way, he might be featured prominently in the many reports on the Clinton Foundation’s questionable practices, but it sounds like Clinton intended to get around to financing the project right after he came over to help his brother-in-law move all those heavy boxes out of his basement.

She’s probably right. The business dealings of siblings don’t usually have much impact on the candidates themselves. However, rarely has a sibling been so tied to the business operations of the candidate, too.