Despite his conservative bona fides—he was a speechwriter in George W. Bush’s administration, and helped tutor Sarah Palin on foreign policy when she ran for vice president—Schweizer is an equal opportunity investigator, snaring Republicans as well as Democrats. He’s reportedly planning a sequel to Clinton Cash with a similar expose of Bush cash that will focus on the business deals that Jeb Bush busied himself with since leaving the Florida governor’s office almost a decade ago. “His research is very credible,” says Holman with Public Citizen. “It can’t be ignored because of partisanship.”
When Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations committee in her confirmation hearing to become Secretary of State, lawmakers flagged her husband’s foundation and its prodigious fundraising as a potential conflict of interest. This is a new kind of conundrum, a former president whose spouse and foundation raise all kinds of money on the way to the White House.
“Clinton needs to be clear and careful,” says Spalding. While no one is alleging illegality, there are legitimate questions about appearances that if Clinton does not adequately address will have the effect of further weakening citizens’ faith in their government, and in her capacity as a leader. In every crisis, there is opportunity. Recognizing what a conservative critic has to say and not necessarily why he says it would be a good beginning.