Last week Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said, “Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.”
My reaction was, “She’s got some big shoes to fill, there, Donald!”
Politics has always been a dirty business, but for the most part our presidents have been on the up and up. Some, like Grant, Arthur, Harding, and Reagan were surrounded by corruption but didn’t actually line up at the buffet themselves.
Then Hope and Change happened, and suddenly presidential corruption was elevated to an art form and a lucrative industry. While presidents have always found ways to reward their friends and supporters, the $800 billion blank check President Obama received for stimulus and recovery packages opened the floodgates for rampant, criminal cronyism.
Getting elected to the top political office in the world takes money. A lot of it. And big contributions usually come with expectations of payback. President Obama did not disappoint. Peter Schweitzer points out in his corruption expose, “Throw Them All Out”, how ten members of Obama’s 2008 campaign finance committee parlayed $457,000 in contributions into $11.3 billion in grants and guaranteed loans for companies they own and/or direct. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
The half billion dollar Solyndra scandal was one of the few crony boondoggles that hit the presses. According to Schweitzer, there were many more, and larger, that were never publicized: Solar Trust of America, $2.1 billion. First Solar, $4.7 billion (primary owners include Ted Turner). Leucadia Energy, $3.5 billion. Brightsource, $1.4 billion (primary owners include Robert Kennedy, Jr.).
The purpose of the stimulus was to create jobs, but Schweitzer says most of the grant and taxpayer-guaranteed loan money ended up in the pockets of uber-rich Obama campaign donation bundlers. A $100 million grant to Basin Electric in tiny Beulah, North Dakota created just 8 jobs. Former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers loaned $10 million to the National Democratic Convention when the hometown (Charlotte, NC) event ran short of funds. He was rewarded with environmental waivers and $300 million in grants – a good portion of which was allocated to projects already completed!
Yes, Obama sets the Hanky-Panky bar plenty high for his successor.
But Hillary is no piker. She sold access and influence to cronies and foreign governments for billions of dollars that were laundered through the Clinton Foundation, even during her tenure as Secretary of State. As Secretary, she brokered lucrative deals between foreign countries and US corporations in exchange for huge checks.
But unlike Obama, who has no shame about how he distributes the taxpayer’s money and makes no effort to hide it, Hillary goes to great lengths to avoid transparency. Umm, I mean getting caught. She removed records of 75 secret meetings with donors when she was Secretary of State. She set up her own personal email server and deleted perhaps 30,000 messages, putting national security at risk just to hide her Hanky-Panky. She was paid enormous sums for speeches she made to banker friends on Wall Street.
Meanwhile, Democrats giggle at Donald Trump because he is not raising cash at Clinton’s torrid pace.
After Obama, and with the possibility of a Clinton presidency looming, maybe it would be good to elect a leader who doesn’t have to do the Hanky-Panky to pay back his cronies.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
I never saw her, never never saw her . . .
My baby does the Hanky-Panky!