In last week’s column I mentioned Hillary Clinton.
A friend and staunch supporter wanted to know why I didn’t love Hillary as much as she does.
I responded, “You got half an hour?”
It’s not that I support Donald Trump. To me he sounds like a senile old man in pajamas, talking about the good old days without any real ideas on how to make that happen again. The thought of him in the Oval Office scares me to death.
But what is my other option? One of the greatest examples you could ever have for corrupt politicians.
The Clintons have been in politics nearly my entire life, and I’m 44. So it’s easy to forget all of their many scandals as a couple, plus all the newer ones that Hillary has amassed by herself.
Let’s look at some of these, shall we?
• Travel Office. Only four months after the Clintons entered the White House, the couple fired seven travel office employees. They put a company from their home state of Arkansas, World Wide Travel, in charge of the office.
This led to investigations by the FBI, Department of Justice and other agencies. Hillary said she had nothing to do with this, but independent counsel Robert Ray concluded that she made “factually false statements” during sworn testimony, which common folk like us would call “lying under oath.”
Under pressure, World Wide Travel withdrew from the role and was replaced by American Express Travel Services.
• Whitewater. In 1994, the Clintons’ real estate venture, Whitewater Development Corp., was investigated for shady business deals with Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan.
Business partner Susan McDougal refused to testify against the Clintons, especially her relationship with Hillary’s law firm, so a judge threw her in jail for contempt of court. She spent the maximum jail time of a year and a half.
Special prosecutor Robert Fiske issued a grand jury subpoena for billing records for Hillary’s law firm, but the couple reported the records missing. Two years later, after the couple had been cleared, a Clinton staffer found the files in the Clintons’ private area of the White House.
• In 1978, with Bill running for governor for the first time, Hillary invested about $1,000 with stock trader James Blair, who also was outside counsel for Tyson, one of the biggest employers in Arkansas.
Just 10 months later in July 1979, Hillary pulled out of trading with a balance of nearly $100,000.
Three months after that, there was a crash in cattle futures, leading to many traders suing investment firms for artificially driving up cattle prices. Refco brokerage firm settled out of court with some of the traders.
According to published reports, Hillary never paid taxes on this enormous gain until an exposé came out in 1994. By then, she had racked up $14,600 in fines and late fees for 15 years of back taxes.
• Legal fund. The Clinton Legal Defense Fund was established to help the first family raise money for its continuing legal bills. Many people and corporations made donations to the fund, which wasn’t under the same strict guidelines that a campaign fund must face.
The Justice Department opened a task force in late 1996 to begin investigating allegations of campaign fund-raising abuses by the Clinton/Gore re-election campaign. It expanded its internal investigation to include activities related to the Clinton Legal Defense Fund in December 1996.
FBI agent Daniel Wehr told Congress that the first head U.S. attorney in the investigation, Laura Ingersoll, told the agents they should “not pursue any matter related to solicitation of funds for access to the president.” Wehr and three other FBI agents said that Ingersoll prevented them from executing search warrants to stop destruction of evidence.
• Pardons. Over the course of his eight years in office, Bill gave presidential pardons to 450 individuals.
One-third of those pardons came on his last day in office in January 2001.
Among these was Marc Rich, a billionaire who had been a fugitive on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. Rich, who fled to Switzerland to avoid arrest, was wanted on 51 counts of tax fraud and owed the U.S. government $48 million. As part of the pardon arrangement, Rich only had to pay $1 million of that $48 million.
Reports soon arose that Rich’s ex-wife, Denise, donated $600,000 to the Clintons’ presidential library and $135,000 to Hillary’s Senate campaign fund before the pardon came down. At a Congressional hearing, Denise was asked if she bribed the Clintons for the pardon, and she pleaded the fifth amendment and refused to answer.
Jimmy Carter, the last Democratic president before Bill, called these “shameless pardons disgraceful.”
And of course none of this involves any of the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Vince Foster.
These are simply statements either made to reporters or sworn under oath. Despite all the mounting evidence, including the more recent email scandal, Hillary always gets off.
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.