Hillary Clinton

Bill Clinton Probably Won't Give Paid Speeches if Hillary is President, Foundation Will Presumably Churn On

The former president dismissed concerns about Clinton Foundation donations.

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White House

In an interview at the Clinton Foundation conference in Denver, Bill Clinton said he didn't think he'd give paid speeches if Hillary Clinton were elected president, not because he believed it could be improper, but because of the controversy it could cause. "Once you get to be president," he explained, "then you're just making a daily story.

In his most substantive comments on the Clinton Foundation since its history of donors who were trying to do business with the U.S. government gained media scrutiny, the former president also vigourously defended the donations. Via Reuters:

"No one has ever asked me for anything," he said of the foundation's donors.

Clinton said he did not know whether foreign governments, companies and other foundation donors were seeking anything in return beyond supporting philanthropy.

"And I don't think Hillary would know, either," he said. "She was pretty busy those years. I never saw her study a list of my contributors, and I had no idea who was doing business before the State Department."

Journalists and political opponents have failed to turn up any proof that Clinton's State Department sold favors. The Clintons dismiss the allegations as politically motivated.

But an increasing number of Americans have said they find Hillary Clinton untrustworthy in polls.

"Yeah, but I mean we're used to it," her husband said.

The Clintons are, if nothing else, sharp political minds, so it shouldn't be surprising there's no paper trail of them studying foundation donors or connecting contributions to favors at the State Department when Hillary Clinton ran it, or elsewhere in government. The absence of evidence, of course, is not the evidence of absence. It's nice, I suppose, that Bill doesn't think he'll give paid speeches if his wife is president, but it doesn't address the wider issue of the Clinton Foundation's potential to act as a place to launder bribes if Hillary becomes president.

The left loves to fetishize money in politics. From a free market perspective, there's nothing wrong with the Clintons trading on their brand name to earn money on speeches. Whether their speeches are worth the money paid for them absent their connections to government is an open question. And if the donors are paying for access to government favors, then whether or not the Clintons delivered on the access isn't relevant, only whether the access, or the appearance of it, played into how much got paid.

Democrats faulted Mitt Romney, a deeply flawed Republican candidate, for his business career, which consisted largely of making money by providing advice on how businesses can be run better. If he gave poor advice and his client's business failed, it effected his reputation and future income-earning potentials. The Clintons, on the other hand, made their money trading on their history of "public service." By the left's own principles, the Clintons ought to be shunned. But with the left it's principals over principles, especially but not exclusively in the run up to elections. So Marco Rubio not using his political influence to make traffic tickets go away is a scandal but outrage over the Clintons using their access to government to turn a profit is treated as just another politically motivated hit job.

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  1. Just going to stick to straight up bribes, influence peddling, and kick-backs? And some philandering in his spare time.

    1. Have you seen the interns?

      1. Did Hil do the hiring?
        If so, I’d rather not.

  2. “I never saw her study a list of my contributors”

    Alrighty, then.

  3. “No one has ever asked me for anything,” he said of the foundation’s donors.

    No, they just couched it in metaphors and implications. Powerful people never trade favors for donations. Never.

    1. “No one has ever asked me for anything,” he said of the foundation’s donors.

      Also, because he wasn’t Secretary of State.

    2. I bet he never asked an intern to blow him, either.

      1. It was all her.. he was a victim of the rape culture..

      2. Jesus, he was on the phone with some European democratic socialist leader at the time. What was he supposed to do, listen to the clown?

        If I had ever been stupid enough to intern at 1600 Penn, you can rest assured I would’ve tried to sneak into the Oval Office one evening with a blacklight and a camera.

    3. That’s what aides are for. You give the money to one guy, say to another how great it would be if x would happen, and the Clintons hands are completely clean.

  4. OK, Reason, did you defy them (you know what I refer to), or should you adopt this new mascot:

    http://www.marechal-petain.com/affiche3.jpg

    1. Eddy, have you been checking the various sites and comments?

      1. More or less.

          1. Wait, Sevo, you’re trying to give me useful information?

            What happened to you, man, it’s like the current situation has promoted some kind of unusual solidarity among commenters.

            1. Notorious G.K.C.|6.11.15 @ 12:09AM|#
              “Wait, Sevo, you’re trying to give me useful information?”

              Eddy, it’s a shame you never listened to useful information, and you have yet to prove you do.

              1. Gosh, and here I thought we were having a “moment.”

                That’s OK, you’re more than welcome to kiss my ass.

                1. Notorious G.K.C.|6.11.15 @ 12:15AM|#
                  “That’s OK, you’re more than welcome to kiss my ass.”

                  That’s fine, shitstain. Next time you need info, you can whistle Dixie and if anyone gives it to you, you can ignore it as ignorant bleevers commonly do.

                  1. Fuck you, sevo, I was trying to be grateful (in the sarcastic manner made famous by H&R commenters), but if you are too fucking stupid to accept my thanks, then you can

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOphGZZrE44

                    1. Calm down, boys. Let’s have more solidarity and fewer insults.

        1. I have yet to see the Reason people say, “we’re refusing to obey this subpoena; we’re remaining loyal to our commenters.”

            1. I’m switching to the link you gave…

  5. Not too long ago, this kind of cronyism would have led me to saying that this is all the more reason for libertarians to make common cause with the GOP. Unfortunately the response of all too many “conservatives” to recent events doesn’t put me in much a mood to push for fusionism.

    1. Are you referring to a certain fedoraed conservatives talking about a certain War we’re not supposed to talk about as well as certain comments at certain conservative blogs where they argued that certain participants in this war kind of got what’s coming to them?

      It’s so hard talking around this subject…

      1. “[…]where they argued that certain participants in this war kind of got what’s coming to them?[…]”

        Unless I missed another blog, I think those who claimed so were offered a ride in a woodchipper.

      2. Let’s just say that for people quick to talk about alligators and being eaten last, a lot of “conservatives” seem to hope that a particular alligator is satisfied with libertarians.

  6. Journalists and political opponents have failed to turn up any proof that Clinton’s State Department sold favors.

    A private e-mail server is a wonderful thing.

    1. “A private e-mail server is a wonderful thing.”

      Reason should get one of those..

    1. With a lifespan of that duration, why even take a picture? He’ll have a new one soon.

        1. It’s really no mystery why some people don’t seem to rise out of poverty

            1. Sterilize the chicken? Good idea

          1. Note to self:
            Start chicken brothel; rise out of poverty.

            1. Have you ever smelled a chicken coop?

              1. Don’t be silly. Chicken comes from the supermarket.

                1. Well if you are going to have processed chicken at your brothel you won’t have to worry about the feces, just remember to rotate the stock and keep a meat thermometer handy

                  1. My business plan involves olive oil too.

                    1. Wow, this went south really quickly.

                    2. Pl?ya Manhattan.|6.11.15 @ 12:02AM|#
                      “Wow, this went south really quickly.”

                      Kleiner, Perkins said fuggitaboutit!

                    3. Dammit I’m hungry for chicken while simultaneously feeling bad for it.

            2. That’s almost a synopsis of the SF novel, Dr Adder. Set in SoCal too.

            3. Please stop making fun of federal employees.

    1. Awfully white of America’s first black president.

      1. He struggled against white privilege and institutionalized racism. Overcame the obstacles of his humble Arkansas roots, ran the gauntlet of smear campaigns and sleazy politics, and made to the top. You owe respect for his courage, not sneering condescension.. snot-nosed punk!

        1. Chipper Gore Woodcarving|6.11.15 @ 12:08AM|#
          “He struggled against white privilege and institutionalized racism. Overcame the obstacles of his humble Arkansas roots, ran the gauntlet of smear campaigns and sleazy politics, and made to the top. You owe respect for his courage, not sneering condescension.. snot-nosed punk!”

          Naah.
          He deserves sneering condescension in amounts we can’t possibly deliver.

  7. Another amazing performance from the guy who wowed the nation by subtly changing one or two words in a lie to make it a true statement that people would carelessly interpret as equivalent to the lie. e.g. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” when speaking of Monica’s blowjob, and the famous “There is no sex” when answering a question about sex that had taken place in the past.

    No one has ever asked me for anything
    vs
    No one has ever asked Hilary for anything

    I never saw her study a list of my contributors
    vs
    I never saw her study a list of our foundation’s contributors

    and I had no idea who was doing business before the State Department
    vs
    and Hilary had no idea who was doing business before the State Department

  8. “The former president dismissed concerns about Clinton Foundation donations.”

    Well, I’m satisfied. I mean, if you can’t trust slick Willie, who can you trust?

    1. Slick Willie before he slicks you.

      1. Ya know, in the ’70s, I was gonna buy this used car from Milhous Motors, but somehow…

        1. !

      2. Slick Willie before he slicks you.

        Uh oh. Another round of subpoenas for everyone!

        1. Well, I for one think that Bill is the best president the nation has seen for a full generation now*, so just send that Judicial Angel of Death right on down the road.

          *I also think that melanoma is the very best kind of cancer to contract.

  9. I recently had to take anti-bribery corruption training for my job. Giving any amount to a charity in the name of a government official or to a government official’s charity is de facto bribery/corruption under their policy. No matter how “legitimate” the charity and without any evidence of a favor in return.

    1. Pretty sure Bubba and Hil never heard of Caesar’s wife. Or if they did, they figured she was a sucker who missed out on a real scam!

    2. It’s good that Bill and Hillary’s employer is more lenient on that topic.

      1. Bill was represented in the training film by the gold-toothed African customs inspector wearing a better suit than the models standing in for my co-workers.

  10. “From a free market perspective, there’s nothing wrong with the Clintons trading on their brand name to earn money on speeches.”

    From a free market perspective, there’s nothing the Clintons could do to funnel favors or wealth to their political cronies even if they wanted to.

    Since there isn’t a free market, they can expect plenty of scrutiny every time they so much as renew their Grey Lady subscription. Even a hint of corruption from a political elite who can have people killed or persecuted into oblivion has to be treated like the end of the world by a responsible journalist.

  11. Clinton said he did not know whether foreign governments, companies and other foundation donors were seeking anything in return beyond supporting philanthropy.

    Think real hard, Bill. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

  12. Bill Clinton has done us a great service:

    If you have ever struggled to understand the exact meaning of “disingenous”, there it is.

  13. “The Clintons are, if nothing else, sharp political minds”

    And as far as I can tell, they are, in fact, nothing else. That’s the whole problem.

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