AP: Clinton made State awfully cozy for Foundation -- and political -- donors

Cozy, yes … but illegally so? Not exactly, says the Associated Press, but the confluence of Hillary Clinton’s power and a number of donors to her family foundation and political campaigns, as well as potential conflicts of interest over business opportunities, gives the impression of corruption. And it might be just that no one has yet uncovered a quid pro quo yet … or more than one:

The woman who would become a 2016 presidential candidate met or spoke by phone with nearly 100 corporate executives and long-time Clinton political and charity donors during her four years at the State Department between 2009 and 2013, records show.

Those formally scheduled meetings involved heads of companies and organizations that pursued business or private interests with the Obama administration, including with the State Department while Clinton was in charge.

The AP found no evidence of legal or ethical conflicts in Clinton’s meetings in its examination of 1,294 pages from the calendars. Her sit-downs with business leaders were not unique among recent secretaries of state, who sometimes summoned corporate executives to aid in international affairs, documents show.

But the difference with Clinton’s meetings was that she was a 2008 presidential contender who was widely expected to run again in 2016. Her availability to luminaries from politics, business and charity shows the extent to which her office became a sounding board for their interests. And her ties with so many familiar faces from those intersecting worlds were complicated by their lucrative financial largess and political support over the years — even during her State Department tenure — to her campaigns, her husband’s and to her family’s foundation.

Some of these intersections of politics and “donations” would be no surprise anyway, and likely would have taken place even if Hillary had stayed in the Senate. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, serves on a pro-Hillary PAC and regularly lobbies the federal government anyway. But the influence of Pepsico on State after grants in 2008 to the Clinton Foundation totaling more than $7.6 million should raise a few eyebrows, especially among those — mainly on the Left, but not exclusively so — who regularly rail on about corporate power in America.

All of this would be less interesting if Hillary Clinton could name a significant accomplishment during her tenure at State. The Russian reset turned into a demonstration of stunning naïveté, the Libyan coup of Qaddafi created a terrorist-overrun failed state on the Mediterranean and precipitated a refugee crisis, ignoring security concerns for the Benghazi consulate in its aftermath and unprepared for a terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11, and so on. And don’t forget that Hillary was still embracing our current bête noire Bashar al-Assad as a “reformer” as late as 2011, in the middle of the Arab Spring.  No, really (~2:20 mark):

In fact, while it certainly wouldn’t hurt to investigate the possibility/likelihood of corruption during Hillary’s tenure at State, the GOP would do better to keep the focus on her track record of incompetence and futility. Most of the candidates have already made that choice, and have reminded voters at every turn that Barack Obamas’ foreign-policy failures belong to Hillary as well.

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