The previous post expressed the view that the Clinton Foundation was exactly what it purported to be: A charitable foundation, similar to the thousands of charitable foundations all over the country.
So far as we know, the Clintons don’t receive any money from the Foundation, though we expect that their travel expenses on behalf of the Foundation would be reimbursed.
If there is any evidence the Clintons profit in any way from their Foundation (aside from tax deductions), I’d be interested to hear about it.
Go the the Clinton Foundation web site, and you will see the FAQs, among which are:
Who contributes to the Foundation? Where can I find a list of Foundation donors?
We are proud to have more than 300,000 contributors; 90% of our donations are $100 or less. Like all philanthropic organizations, the Foundation depends on contributions to pursue our work around the world. While not required by any law, but in keeping with a long-held commitment to transparency, the Clinton Foundation has for years listed all contributors dating back to the Foundation’s beginning on our website.
Do the Clintons receive any income or personal expense reimbursement from the Foundation?
No. President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, who serve on the Board of Directors, do not take a salary from the Clinton Foundation and receive no funding from it. Secretary Clinton did not take a salary when she served on the Board of Directors.
If anyone has facts to show otherwise, I’ll be glad to publish them.
After the previous post was published, we had to admonish certain readers who claimed the Clinton Foundation was some sort of scam, though no facts were provided. For instance:
“You left out what the purpose of this ‘charity’ is, and who stands to benefit most. I think you might find the mud is there. Recall the saying that Democrats go into politics to get rich, Republicans are already rich so they go in for influence.”
“You imply it’s not possible? You hear often how charities are used as personal enrichment devices. Scandals are a dime a dozen.”
“Rodger, you conflate elected politician and appointed civil servant. The former gets a pass because the Supreme Court says corporations are people and can give boat loads of Free $peech to elect candidates for public office. However, we all know this is legal bribery with its corrupting influence. Who are we kidding? It really disgraces our electoral process, but that’s the system we got. The Secretary of State, on the other hand, as all appointed civil servants, must be beyond reproach. Even if innocent, there must be no appearance of impropriety to maintain confidence in the person and the office.”
“Its problematic because this is this is not the first time questionable campaign fund-raising practices have been associated with the Clintons. Younger readers might be interested when President Bill Clinton raised contributions by inviting donors to sleep overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House.”
“The Clintons just can’t help themselves despite all evidence they should know better, as a past President and First Lady, lawyers both. You know you’re going to run for President in the future, why do you put yourself in these positions.”
“It is the smoke we are talking about, Rodger. Surely you are not so naive to think these bozos can’t hide their tracks well enough a lot of the time, and with connections good enough to get out of jail when they slip up?”
You’ll notice these comments have one thing in common: No facts; all innuendo. Zero evidence of wrongdoing. It’s what I call the “National Enquirer method.”
These readers can be excused, because they are not economists, writers or professional columnists, who are expected to have standards for presenting accusations.
Which brings us to Charles Krauthammer, who is a columnist. Here are excerpts from today’s commentary about the Clinton Foundation. He cleverly titled the article: “The bribery standard,” though he provides zero evidence of any bribery:
Clinton’s scandals are sprawling, multi-layered, complex things. They defy time and space.
“Defy time and space”? Nothing like a bit of melodrama to set the stage for a fact-free piece.
The real question (about Clinton’s Emails) wasn’t classification but: Why did she have a private server in the first place?
It wasn’t convenience. It was concealment. What exactly was she hiding?
Was this merely the prudent paranoia of someone who habitually walks the line of legality?
If she controls the server, she controls the evidence, and can destroy it — as she did 30,000 Emails — at will.
But destroy what?
“Why?” “What?” “Was?”
All those leading questions, devoid of facts. Do they remind you of what you read in the gossip news? (“Which beautiful star was seen cuddling with which married executive at one of Hollywoods most exclusive restaurants?”)
And in that vein, Mr. Krauthammer wrote::
The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc.
Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons’ lifestyle (offices, travel, accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration.
It’s not “disguised as a charity.” It is a charity supervised by the Clintons, who by the way, are not paid for their work.
Apparently, “sucking money” is more exciting than “receiving donations.”
It seems Mr. Krauthammer does not want this charity to secure connections, produce favorable publicity or employ people.
And what the heck is the “coming Clinton Restoration”?
Money is not “channeled to ‘Clinton Inc.'” whatever that is. If Mr. Krauthammer has any evidence whatsoever, that the Clintons illegally or even unethically received any money, he has a front page exclusive — a columnist’s dream.
But since I’ve not seen his byline on any front pages, and probably never will, I’m guessing he has no such evidence. It’s all speculation and grimy gossip column stuff.
So far as I know, the money is used the same way all other legitimate charities use money: For three purposes:
- For investment, to build up the assets of the charity
- To pay expenses of the charity
- To fund good works.
That is how charities operate. I can only imagine that Mr. Krauthammer never has been involved with a charitable foundation, else he would understand these things.
Now we learn how the whole machine operated. Two weeks ago, emails began dribbling out showing foundation officials contacting State Department counterparts to ask favors for foundation “friends.”
Say, a meeting with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon for one particularly generous Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire.
This is supposed to be a scandal? “If you give to this charity, I’ll get you a meeting with an important person.”
That sort of back-scratching probably doesn’t happen more than ten thousand times a day in Washington. I myself have received calls asking whether I’d like to attend a many-dollars-per-plate dinner to meet such-and-such politician.
And mostly the favors are far more personal than “give to this charity.” Usually, they are “give to my re-election committee.”
The next batch revealed foundation requests for face time with the secretary herself. Such as one from the crown prince of Bahrain.
To be sure, Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, is an important Persian Gulf ally. Its crown prince shouldn’t have to go through a foundation — to which his government donated at least $50,000 — to get to the secretary.
The fact that he did is telling.
What’s “telling” is Mr. Krauthammer’s putting 2 and 2 together and getting 22.
Mr. Krauthammer presents zero evidence Mrs. Clinton herself received any money or benefitted in any way from the crown prince’s donation.
Mr. Krauthammer presents zero evidence the crown prince of Bahrain needed to bribe anyone to see Mrs. Clinton (In fact, Mr. Krauthammer admits otherwise.)
Mr. Krauthammer presents zero evidence there was any connection at all, between the donation and a meeting with Mrs. Clinton.
It’s all “wink-wink, hint-hint,” completely lacking substance. Its print amateurism and misdirection at its worst. It’s a perfect example of why the media is so mistrusted these days.
More than half the private interests who were granted phone or personal contact with Secretary Clinton — 85 of 154 — were donors to the foundation. Total contributions? As much as $156 million.
The title of the article was “The bribery standard.” Are these 85 donors supposed to be an example of “bribery”? If so, who was bribed? The charity?
Yes, it’s obvious that access and influence were sold. But no one has demonstrated definitively that the donors received something tangible of value — a pipeline, a permit, a waiver, a favorable regulatory ruling — in exchange.
It’s hard to believe the Clinton folks would be stupid enough to commit something so blatant to writing. Nonetheless, there might be an email allusion to some such conversation. With thousands more emails to come, who knows what lies beneath?
Translation: “Obvious” means I have absolutely no evidence, but I want you to have a negative interpretation.
“No one has demonstrated definitively” also means there is absolutely no evidence, but hey, who needs evidence when rank speculation is so much more titillating.
“There might be” means “I have my fingers crossed.”
And then there is yet another gossip columnist question: “Who knows what lies beneath?” which means, “I have no idea what I’m talking about, but doesn’t this sound delicious!
We are hardly bothered by the routine practice of presidents rewarding big donors with cushy ambassadorships, appointments to portentous boards and invitations to state dinners.
The bright line seems to be outright bribery. Anything short of that is considered — not just for the Clintons, for everyone — acceptable corruption.
It’s a sorry standard. And right now it is Hillary Clinton’s saving grace.
What??! That’s it? After all the leading questions and implied bribery, that’s it? Bemoaning the idea that Mrs. Clinton must be following “routine practice,” warrants the “Bribery” headline?
To be clear, this post is not a defense of Mrs. Clinton. I much would have preferred Elizabeth Warren or even Bernie Sanders, though when it comes to honesty, Mrs. Clinton is light years ahead of Donald Trump (He of Trump University and multiple bankruptcies).
Rather this post is a protest against the “Enquirization” of the media and of the political discourse. The “I’m only askin'” excuse for spreading innuendo is disgusting.
Donald Trump does it all the time. “Is Obama really a citizen.” “What was Cruz’s father doing near Lee Harvey Oswald?” And let’s not forget his silly insinuations about Mrs. Clinton’s health.
Trump is Trump. He is amoral. We know it and we expect it of him.
But we have every right to be shocked and angered when the media, even the right wing media, descend into the muck with him.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be an good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.