Editorial Boards Slam Clinton’s “Mistakes Were Made” Defense
Editorial boards across the country continue to slam Hillary Clinton and her Foundation for ethical lapses and poor judgment. Newspapers in Florida, California, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island all chimed in today, joining yesterday’s from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. See below for excerpts:
This penchant for secrecy is a disturbing character flaw, one that threatens to keep her from the White House. Will Clinton promise not to accept foreign donations during her campaign, or at least fully disclose them? Should we believe her this time? And how would she deal with potential conflicts of interest as President?
We’ve heard enough excuses. Now she owes answers.
Mistakes were made. Paperwork errors. Out of our control. Those are among the excuses about the lack of transparency regarding wealthy foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation and potential conflicts of interest while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. It is another disturbing example where the end justifies the means for the Clintons, and the Democratic candidate for president is going to have to answer that criticism as her campaign moves forward.
The evolving narrative describes a political family too willing to play by their own rules, keep key information from the public and explain it away if it comes out. This is not the smoothest launching of a campaign for president, and Clinton will have to convince voters that there would be a different standard operating procedure in the White House if she is elected.
The Clintons were not the typical foundation founders in the mode of Bill Gates. They did not decide what to do with a fortune. Hillary Clinton famously said she and her husband were “dead broke” when Bill Clinton left office in January of 2001. The Clintons set about making a fortune with Bill as a former president and Hillary as a possible future president. Bill Clinton has received more than $100 million for giving speeches and one forth of those who paid him also gave to his foundation, The Post reports. Hillary, too, has worked the speech circuit for hefty six-figure fees. That unorthodox approach to funding philanthropy had led to the uncomfortable questions now.
But the story points to an issue that will be of the utmost importance in the presidential campaign: The massive conflict of interest that Hillary Clinton had when she served as secretary of state. As her husband attempted to raise money from foreign entities for himself and his foundation, after all, Ms. Clinton had a very prominent role in American foreign policy. That’s deeply troubling — and worth exploring, given the checks put in place to prevent foreign interests from influencing U.S. government. Questions have also arisen about the charity’s inaccurate filings with the Internal Revenue Service and how it has used the money it has accumulated.
At right, columnist Michael Gerson theorizes that the reason the Clintons play so fast and loose on ethical matters is that they’re convinced their motives are pure. That may be true. But when it leads to recklessness and dishonesty, that’s not much of an excuse. Some of the donations from foreign nations to the Clinton Foundation broke explicit promises that the family made to the Obama administration.
That should matter to Democrats – not just Republicans and independents.
To hear Hillary Rodham Clinton’s aides and supporters tell it, questions about her family foundation’s fund-raising while she was secretary of state are “nothing more than a tangled web of conspiracy theories” by Republican operatives.
Sorry: The steady flow of disturbing news has concern growing in Democratic circles.