Lately, when a new story about Chelsea Clinton crops up in the news it deals with the most recent rumors about her “testing the waters” for an election bid in the House or the Senate. Those stories generally wind up turning out to be vaporware (at least thus far) but this week there was a breaking news item which was 100% legit. In a move which is ostensibly outside of the political circus (at least on the surface) the former First Daughter has been appointed to a very profitable position on the Board of Directors of internet travel planning site Expedia. (Washington Examiner)
Chelsea Clinton has joined Expedia’s board of directors.
A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week shows the travel firm expanded the number of members on its board up from 13 to 14 members and voted for the former first daughter to take the new position.
As MarketWatch notes, Clinton’s compensation will be a “standard” $45,000 a year, plus stock grants valued at $250,000 in accordance to the company’s proxy statement for its 2016 annual meeting of stockholders.
Well, I suppose a girl has to do something to keep the bills paid, right? Up until November 8th of last year it seemed to be widely assumed that once her mother took over the business of running the free world, Chelsea would land some sort of position with the administration. Failing that, she might have taken an even bigger role at the helm of the Clinton Foundation because her parents would be ostensibly a bit busy with other matters as well as being forced to separate themselves on paper from all the cash flowing through that slush fund. Sadly for them, Donald Trump ensured that a very large fly got dropped in the ointment.
Clinton’s husband saw his hedge fund business dry up and close down so it’s not hard to imagine that a new source of revenue was required. This gig with Expedia certainly seems to fill the bill, with roughly $300,000 in salary and stock options coming her way. But has anyone stopped to ask precisely what unique qualifications Chelsea Clinton brings with her to the table for a company like Expedia? The New York Post did, and the answer appears to be basically nothing except for a very good relationship with a billionaire by the name of Barry Diller. (Pictured below along with Chelsea having dinner at some swanky event.)
[W]ith 54 percent of its voting shares, Expedia’s chairman — billionaire Barry Diller — has the clout to do it.
By bringing the 37-year-old daughter of a former president and a near-president aboard, Diller was simply reprising the role he played in appointing Clinton to the board of IAC Interactive four years ago, where he was and still is chairman.
Of course, the future looked brighter for the Clintons back then, and so Diller deserves kudos for showing lasting loyalty.
This is old territory for Diller, being a longtime associate of the Clintons with the ability to make large amounts of money appear as if by magic. As noted by the Post, this is actually the second Board of Directors position which Barry has landed for the younger Clinton. But that’s not all he’s done. A quick look at his political donations for 2016 reveals that he’s been more than generous. He was a max donor to Hillary for America and dumped another $350,000 into the Hillary Victory Fund. He gave generously to some other Democrats as well. (For the record, he was also a donor to Chris Christie for some reason, but we’ll leave that inquiry for another day.)
What is Barry Diller’s long game here? Is he priming the pump to ensure he remains in the good graces of the entire Clinton clan? Or is he perhaps hedging his bets in anticipation of a future Chelsea Clinton rise to power? The other possibility, of course, is that he’s just a loyal friend and wants to make sure that Chelsea remains taken care of even if there is no profit in it for him down the line. Either way, this was certainly a “lucky break” for Chelsea Clinton. She’ll only need to attend a handful of meetings per year with the Expedia folks, have virtually no duties and reel in some significant cash. It’s truly a wonderful life, isn’t it?