Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton and the Saga of Sidney Blumenthal

Former administration staffer and foundation employee sought to influence Clinton while she served as Secretary of State.

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C-SPAN

The latest story in the Clinton Foundation saga is a messy personnel drama involving Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton family loyalist and fixer who worked in Bill Clinton's administration.

As with previous stories, it's a bit labyrinthine, but it suggests the ways that old ties from the Clinton administration have in recent years been rolled over into the Clinton Foundation, and how interests related to those old ties influenced Hillary Clinton's work as Secretary of State.

The New York Times reported that Blumenthal, who had been barred by Obama administration aides from serving as a State Department employee during Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State, nonetheless managed to get more than two dozen memos on various foreign policy issues in front of Clinton during her time as America's top diplomat.

This was in direct contradiction to the usual procedures, which require a careful vetting of the information and analysis that makes its way to senior administration officials. Blumenthal's memos, the Times report suggests, were designed to feel like conventional State memos, but lacked proper sourcing or discussion of the motives of various players.

But Blumenthal probably would not have wanted to go too deep into detail about some of his sources or their motivations because, according to the Times, the information he provided, "appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government." The report strongly suggests that Blumenthal was the front man for an effort by Clinton's allies and their associates to profit off of conflict in Libya: "The venture," it says, "which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy."

It's more than a little suspicious: As The Washington Examiner's Timothy Carney put it on Twitter, "Hillary Clinton helped push us into an illegal war in Libya, and her advisor was making money off regime change." Well, it certainly sounds like Blumenthal tried. 

Naturally, during this time, Blumenthal, who'd been blocked from employment at the Department of State, was employed by the Clinton Foundation. The New York Times says that his job there was "to help with research."

Blumenthal's memos may not have been up to snuff, but Hillary Clinton appears to have treated them seriously. According to the Times, she would distribute them to other officials and sometimes as for responses, and she continued to do so "even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal's assessments were often unreliable."

So here's what appears to have happened: Hillary Clinton was not allowed to hire her family's old adviser Blumenthal during her time at State. Instead, the Clinton Foundation kept him on the payroll as a researcher, where he appears to have fed Hillary Clinton bad information planted by his clients who had international interests. Clinton treated that information and analysis seriously, despite its low quality. Blumenthal was, in a sense, a shadow Clinton staffer, paid by the foundation and kept on despite being blocked from an official job. In some ways the story resembles the Hillary Clinton email story that broke a few months ago: She ran all of her email through a privately run server, in violation of official expectations.

Like the Uranium One kerfuffle, it's all in line with the sort of not-illegal-but-shady-seeming behavior, mixing professional ties and personal finances, that the Clintons have specialized in for a while. Recall that when the Clintons left the White House, they bought the Chappaqua, NY, house they now live in using a loan backed with $1.35 million from the Clinton administration fundraiser, and current Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe. The deal was frowned upon when it happened: "It's just plain wrong. It's dangerous. It's inappropriate. This is a financial favor worth over a million dollars to the president," Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21 told The Washington Post. But McAullife's cash saved either party from having to share personal financial details. "There's the ability to remain discreet," Melissa Cohn, president of the Manhattan Mortgage Company, told The New York Times at the time, "It saves them from any disclosure."

That's the pattern here—a consistent disinterest in submitting to oversight or playing by the rules as others are expected to do. (The Clinton Foundation, too, has consistently failed to fully disclose its donors, even where agreements are in place for it to do so, and even when it has insisted that the disclosures were already made.)

Fittingly, for a candidate who seems so wary of transparency and disclosure, Clinton's team has declined to answer questions from the press on this or any other subject for nearly a month. The last time she took a question from a reporter was on April 21.

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  1. Each day is worse than the last.

    Please stay in the race, Mrs. Clinton.

    1. Please stay in the race, Mrs. Clinton.

      Jeez no kidding!

      She’s simultaneously embarrassingly inept and horribly inept as well as being painfully, obviously, and shamelessly crooked.

      America deserves Hillary Clinton!

      1. I am sure that SusanM will be here shortly to tell us that this is a fake scandal and we won’t win on the issue of politicizing or focusing this as voters don’t care and have scandal fatigue.

        Move along, losers.

      2. Just as Bush II severely damaged America’s faith in military adventurism in the name of “keeping us safe”, I have hope that the Clintons and Obamas will severely damage America’s faith in big governments orchestrating massive budgets in the name of “Making life fair”.

        If the Clinton machine is not a shining warning label that says “Despite your best intentions and the stated intentions of your chosen politicians, give enough money and power to the government will always result in Chronies lining their pockets”, then I don’t know what is.

  2. it’s a drama about a crime-family. Can’t waste recurring characters.

  3. “Influence peddling” requires a seller as well as a buyer.

  4. Look, no one works for free. Bubba got the most financially out of his work as president, and Hillary got the most financially out of her work at State. I suppose all of you go to work every day solely for the enjoyment and don’t even review those pay stubs.

    1. You keep using that word “work”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    2. Bubba never had a job that paid over $35,000 per year before he got into politics, and now he’s worth north of $100 million.

      But for some reason, Americans think Mexican and Pakistani politicians are particularly corrupt.

  5. How can she possibly not be indicted. Bob Mcdonnell was convicted to two years in prison for far far less.

      1. Can we impeach her before she is elected? Just for efficiency’s sake of course.

        1. No, but they probably get impeach her before she was in office very long. I see high crimes and misdemeanors all over the place. And there’s really no limit on what Congress deems as impeachable.

          1. She will never get impeached, because the Dems will never go along with it.

            1. I dunno, they seem intent on losing seats in Congress.

          2. There’s no way she’s getting impeached. Impeachment is about getting political power, not how good the case is. Anyone impeaching her will be seen (correctly) as doing it for political gain. She’s untouchable.

      2. They never even proved that quid pro quo existed in that case, he never actually used his governorship to give the guy any sweetheart contracts at all. In this case you have people activiley giving money that directly goes into the Clinton’s pockets and they are somehow thrust into the front of the line for securing contacts and contracts in areas that directly tied into what Mrs Clinton was doing.

        1. They used to try to hide their corruption. Now, of course, they’re way past mere hubris.

          1. The Clinton’s wear their corruption like a badge of honour.

            1. Bonus points for spelling honour with the “u.”

              1. “‘Presumptuous’?! Moi?!”

      3. What difference at this point does it make?

    1. Above the Law is the only possible answer.

      1. It’s not really even a serious question.

        1. Steven Segal disagrees.

    2. Um, because she’s a powerful democrat and Mcdonnell was a republican?

  6. It’s all a right wing conspiracy

    For months now, America Rising has sent out a steady stream of posts on social media attacking Mrs. Clinton, some of them specifically designed to be spotted, and shared, by liberals. The posts highlight critiques of her connections to Wall Street and the Clinton Foundation and feature images of Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, interspersed with cartoon characters and pictures of Kevin Spacey, who plays the villain in “House of Cards.” And as they are read and shared, an anti-Clinton narrative is reinforced.

    1. some of those comments gave me some hope.

    2. It’s funny, because the opposition would of course be jumping all over her if she were committing open crimes. How can you call that a conspiracy without being openly mocked? What a mess things are today.

  7. And she would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you meddling right wing conspiracy kids!

  8. Just amazing. This woman knew that she intended to run for President again. She knew that people might look into her dealings since her husband left the White House. So, she took the precaution of creating a Foundation that could be used to launder the bribes she was paid. She took the precaution of putting all her official correspondence as a representative of the United States government on a private server and deleting everything she decided was too personal.

    What NEVER occurred to her was that she should maybe settle for only making tens of millions of dollars peddling her celebrity, when she could make hundreds of millions if she was also willing to sell her influence. Amoral to the core, she has never understood any reason NOT to sell her soul in this way. She was dead broke, and had bills to pay, and so why not make as much money as possible selling the interests of the Uniter States and its citizens to the highest bidder?

    Now, it looks as if it is all falling apart. But she depends on the fact that 45% of the population will vote for ANYONE with a (D) after their name, and that she has established herself as the sole legitimate heir and successor to the throne in that quarter.

    1. It shouldn’t be that surprising; we all encounter people in our daily lives that will push and push and scheme and betray trusts and do whatever they can get away with until some consequence smacks them down. We all have worked with someone who gets fired for selling stuff on the side, moonlighting on a second job, posting comments on some comment board while they are working…

      Hillary has gotten away with it because people have refused to make her face consequences. The people who have shielded her have done it for a variety of reasons, most of which boil down to either self-interest or self-deception.

      She’ll likely get away with it, ie. get to keep much of the money paid to her for her speeches and or work with her foundation. She may even become president, and further erode the authority and respect the populace hold for the state (to the joy of my black anarchist heart), while further looting the people for the benefit of her cronies. My guess is that she won’t be president, though. Her machine is failing to shut down criticism, and she is in hiding. If she can’t bump off a flawed opponent like O’Malley, others will see in his survival a good chance for themselves.

      1. You’re BLACK?!?!?

          1. OK, the internet doesn’t seem to know what “TIWTANBL” means. Care to elaborate?

            1. This is why there are no…. (submit victim class of your choice)

              1. libertarians

      2. I think part of her cover is the reluctance that’s out there–on both sides of the aisle–to prosecute and incarcerate a former president. Because he’s in on it, too, of course.

      3. The one thing the Clintons have stumbled upon is the fact that if you don’t follow the script and leave in shame voluntarily everything will blow over and you get back to taking more graft.

        Any pol other than Willy would have slunk off to retirement if they had been caught diddling the help (especially after emphatically denying it in public). Willy figured out that there really was no real life sheriff who would come evict him from the premises if he just hunkered down and waited it out.

        Same thing with Hillary. By this point any normal pol would have folded their tent. She is just going to wait all this out and still get the nomination.

      4. You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need.
        You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you’re on the street,
        You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed.
        And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight,
        You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking.

        And after a while, you can work on points for style.
        Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
        A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
        You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
        So that when they turn their backs on you,
        You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.

      5. Her machine is failing to shut down criticism, and she is in hiding

        Indeed. Usually when a candidate announces their bid to become President, they’re out and about kissing babies and generally being unctuous.

      6. Also, I work with a shit-ton of Hillary-lovers. You should have seen them fawn and wail when she left State.

        But nary a word from these same people when she announced her candidacy. She can’t even inspire people that are pre-inspired.

        1. “can’t even inspire people that are pre-inspired.”

          *applause*

        2. They’ll all vote for her though, so what difference does it make?

    2. She never learned that pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.

      1. Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are.
        You well heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are.
        And when your hand is on your heart,
        You’re nearly a good laugh,
        Almost a joker,
        With your head down in the pig bin,
        Saying “Keep on digging.”
        Pig stain on your fat chin.
        What do you hope to find.
        When you’re down in the pig mine.
        You’re nearly a laugh,
        You’re nearly a laugh
        But you’re really a cry.

        Bus stop rat bag, ha ha charade you are.
        You fucked up old hag, ha ha charade you are.
        You radiate cold shafts of broken glass.
        You’re nearly a good laugh,
        Almost worth a quick grin.
        You like the feel of steel,
        You’re hot stuff with a hatpin,
        And good fun with a hand gun.
        You’re nearly a laugh,
        You’re nearly a laugh
        But you’re really a cry.

        Hey you, Whitehouse,
        Ha ha charade you are.
        You house proud town mouse,
        Ha ha charade you are
        You’re trying to keep our feelings off the street.
        You’re nearly a real treat,
        All tight lips and cold feet

    1. It worked for FDR, so why shouldn’t it work for her?

      1. She’s a *woman* — she should be better than that.

        /sarc

  9. So all the Democrats who have been screaming about Dick Cheney and Halliburton for the last 15 years will be calling for subpoenas and possible indictments, right? Right?

    But seriously, the House GOP needs to subpoena Blumenthal and grill the shit out of him for this. This is like manna from heaven for them a year before elections.

    1. the House GOP needs to subpoena Blumenthal and grill the shit out of him

      AND don’t forget about the administrator(s) of Hillary’s server.

  10. Bush did it, too.

    Whatever it was.

  11. IT’S HER TURN!

  12. So Hillary and her cronies tried to make a buck off a war but all we hear (d) about was Cheney and Haliburton.

    Nice gig.

  13. “not-illegal-but-shady-seeming”

    I’ll pretend you didn’t say that.

  14. I just dropped by to say that Max Blumenthal is a terrible human being who, in a sane and just world, would be stripped naked, frog-marched out into the public square, and then beaten with a stick until he looses control of his bowels from either fear or neurological damage. After that, he would be placed inside a bronze cauldron and a lid would seal him inside. Underneath the cauldron a fire would be set and accompanied by the sound of fifes and timbrels, the crowd would dance to his fearful bellowing as he is slowly roasted inside the cauldron.

    However, our world is neither sane nor just.

    1. Well, at least we’ve moved on from “the boats”.

      1. Scaphism is too good for young Blumenthal. I would settle for Max enduring slow slicing.

    2. Who do I talk to to get the booze concession for this event?

      1. This is libertopia. Drag your cart out and start selling.

        1. Just name a cocktail “The Brazen Bull”

          Maybe something hot?

          1. Grog or a hot toddy in a Moscow Mule copper mug.

          2. Cinnamon schnapps with just a hint of decayed corpse.

    3. +1 Brazen Bull

  15. “Hillary Clinton helped push us into an illegal war in Libya, and her advisor was making money off regime change.”

    The Clinton Foundation, taking the broken window fallacy to bold new heights.

  16. It is time to start a write-in campaign to elect SugarFree as President. At least the press releases would be entertaining.

    1. Sorry, diabetics already had their turn with Taft.

    2. Haven’t heard much from him lately.

      Maybe he’s already got an exploratory committee going.

    3. No, not for president. But he could definitely be communication director.

      1. 😎

        “As you know, this administration takes the First Amendment at face value, so ….”

      2. Warty for Secretary of Defense?

        1. “Heath and Inhuman Services”

          1. …and now applause for you.

    4. I will do what I must for this country I love so dearly.

    5. The bitch who keeps spamming for Commerce Director provided she shuts the fuck up on the comments section.

  17. My buddy’s mother makes $75 every hour on the laptop . She has been laid off for seven months but last month her pay check was $18875 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    Look At This. ???? http://www.jobsfish.com

  18. Is it just me, or is she looking more and more like Christopher Walken?

    1. What this administrations needs, is more cowbell!

    2. Now if only she was getting as interesting as Christopher Walken.

  19. The last candidate for president who had such a trail of insider dealings and scandals was a guy named Lyndon Baines Johnson. The American people didn’t care, giving him a landslide election, because the guy he ran against wanted to incinerate little girls picking daisies and appoint Ku Klux Klan grand wizards to his cabinet. And the Clinton machine, backed by their media lapdogs are prepared to eviscerate whomever wins the GOP nomination.

    1. He was massively corrupt. I’m surprised more press doesn’t get thrown around about that in retrospectives. I guess the Great Society stuff provides his legacy with a shield, as far as the media is concerned.

      1. Also, the Progressives REALLY don’t like looking too closely at past Democrat Presidencies. LBJ was a cross between Texas Blather and Tammany Hall. JFK was a shiny mediocrity with an advanced case of satyriasis and a first rate team that Daddy bought him. FDR was a racist jerk who thought he could manipulate Stalin. And Woodrow Wilson was a phony-pious, eugenics adoring bigot.

        Let the Great Unwashed consider this record at any length and they might never vote for a Democrat Presidential Candidate again.

      2. I guess the Great Society stuff provides his legacy with a shield, as far as the media is concerned.

        “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
        – LBJ

          1. That is the premise of an episode of a show that people watch for entertainment? wow.

        1. Landslide Lyndon stole his Senate seat by like 102 votes, in alphabetical order, all in the same handwriting. According to Robert Caro in The Years of Lyndon Johnson, either The Path to Power or Means of Ascent

    2. Not only that but LBJ was what liberals accuse Republicans of being. Pure unadulterated white trash.

  20. This here’s a story about Hillary Rodham and Sid Blumenthal
    Two old cronies with nothin’ better to do
    Than speech around the world, get high fees, and watch the tube
    And here is what happened when they decided to cut loose

    They headed down to, ooh, old DC
    That’s where they ran into a great big hassle
    Hillary crossed a line while feathering her castle
    Sid took the money and run

    Go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run

  21. This here’s a story about Hillary Rodham and Sid Blumenthal
    Two old cronies with nothin’ better to do
    Than speech around the world, get high fees, and watch the tube
    And here is what happened when they decided to cut loose

    They headed down to, ooh, old DC
    That’s where they ran into a great big hassle
    Hillary crossed a line while feathering her castle
    Sid took the money and run

    Go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run

    1. This here’s a story about squirrelz….

  22. To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, Hillary’s candidacy should not be gently laid aside, but hurled with great force.

  23. I’ve yet to come across anyone who cares, or even knows much, about any of this stuff. All they know is it’s a woman’s turn and things were great when Bill and Hillary were President until the Republicans messed everything up.
    There isn’t really any more depth to it than that for most people.

  24. ” The report strongly suggests that Blumenthal was the front man for an effort by Clinton’s allies and their associates to profit off of conflict in Libya”

    I’m sure all the people who published 200 frothing “”CHENEY!! HALLIBURTON!!”” articles will be all over this.

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