Shakedown: The Clinton money machine

The Clinton’s aren’t public-spirited philanthropists. They’re shakedown artists.

Michael Gerson, a columnist at the Washington Post, recently asked, “..what compels the Clintons to operate so close to the ethical line when public scrutiny is so likely?”

Greed and power, sir, pure greed, a quest for power. and no shame.

Chelsea, Hillary and Bill Clinton bask in the limelight.

Chelsea, Hillary and Bill Clinton bask in the limelight.

When the Clintons moved out of the White House, thy hauled off $190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas and other gifts. Greed without shame.

When Bill Clinton left the White House he initially wanted to lease a fancy high-rise office in midtown Manhattan for $800,0000 a year, $500,000 of that to be covered by taxpayers, more than the annual office rent for ex-presidents Reagan, Carter and Ford combined. Greed without shame.

The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has raised about $2 billion since it was founded in 2001. The money has come from foreign governments, corporate tycoons, politically-connected influencers, and other moneyed interests.

Meanwhile, Bill and Hillary have raked in millions from speeches, many to groups with interests in government policies.

Just between January 2001, when Bill Clinton left the White House, and January 2013, when Hillary stepped down as Secretary of State, Bill Clinton was paid $104.9 million for 542 speeches around the world, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. After leaving the State Department, Hillary joined the money rush with speeches for which she earned $200,000 or more per appearance.

Even the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, has learned “the family business.” With no media experience, she secured a $600,000 a year job as a “special correspondent” for NBC News in 2011 that lasted until mid-2014. Her uninspiring performance earned her the distinction of being called “one of the most boring people of her era” by Washington Post Style reporter, Hank Stueverof.

“We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt,” Hillary said. Not any more.

At its essence, the Clinton’s money haul, both the personal haul and the fundraising for their foundation, are part of a massive pay-to-play scheme.

The foundation’s programs run the gamut from climate change and economic development to public health and woman and girls, and it claims to be impacting lives around the world.

But the simple fact is that thousands of other non-profits in the U.S. and around the world were doing the same work when the Clinton Foundation was created and are continuing to do so, often while starved for funds.

If the Clintons really wanted to advance causes dear to their hearts after leaving the White House, they could have checked Charity Navigator and advocated on behalf of already established, exemplary non-profits, rather than creating another hydra-headed creature focused on promoting the brand of its founders. In short, there was absolutely no need to create the behemoth that is the Clinton Foundation.

The only reason for creating it was to give the Clintons a platform for self-aggrandizement, to allow powerful U. S. and foreign interests to curry favor with a former President and maybe a future one.

NOTE: Charity Navigator refuses to rate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, noting that “…this charity’s atypical business model can not be accurately captured in our current rating methodology.” Instead, the Foundation has been placed on Charity Navigator’s “Watchlist” in light of issues raised about its operations. “…given that our primary obligation is to donors, Charity Navigator has determined that the nature of this/these issue(s) warrants highlighting the information available so that donors are aware of the issues in question which may be relevant to their decision whether to contribute to this organization.” Another non-profit on the Watchlist is Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, cited for failing to pay payroll taxes. “With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. Sharpton traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as ‘abusive,’ or ‘potentially criminal’ if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful,” the New York Times reported in 2014.

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