Monday, May 25, 2015

Whitewater controversy.......Hillary is back and so are nonstop scandals

Whitewater controversy.......Hillary is back and so are nonstop scandals

The Whitewater controversy (also known as the Whitewater scandal, or simply Whitewater) began with investigations into the real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim and Susan McDougal, in the Whitewater Development Corporation, a failed business venture in the 1970s and 1980s.
A March 1992 New York Times article published during the U.S. presidential campaign reported that the Clintons—then governor and first lady of Arkansas—had invested and lost money in the Whitewater Development Corporation.[1] The article stimulated the interest of L. Jean Lewis, a Resolution Trust Corporation investigator who was looking into the failure of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, owned by McDougal. She looked for connections between the savings and loan company and the Clintons, and on September 2, 1992, she submitted a criminal referral to the FBI naming Bill and Hillary Clinton as witnesses in the Madison Guaranty case. Little Rock U.S. Attorney Charles A. Banks and the FBI determined that the referral lacked merit, but she continued to pursue it. From 1992 to 1994, Lewis issued several additional referrals against the Clintons and repeatedly called the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock and the Justice Department regarding the case.[2] Her referrals eventually became public knowledge, and she testified before the Senate Whitewater Committee in 1994.
David Hale, the source of criminal allegations against the Clintons, claimed in November 1993 that as governor of Arkansas, Clinton had pressured him into providing an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, the Clintons' partner in the Whitewater land deal.[3] Clinton supporters regarded Hale's allegations as questionable, as Hale had not mentioned Clinton in reference to this loan during the original FBI investigation of Madison Guaranty in 1989; only after coming under indictment for this in 1993 did Hale make allegations against the Clintons.[4]
A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation did result in convictions against the McDougals for their role in the Whitewater project, but the Clintons themselves were never prosecuted, as three separate inquiries found insufficient evidence linking them with the criminal conduct of others related to the land deal.[5] Bill Clinton's successor as governor, Jim Guy Tucker, was also convicted and served time in prison for his role in the fraud. Susan McDougal later served 18 months in prison for contempt of court for refusing to answer any questions relating to Whitewater, and was granted a pardon by President Clinton just before he left office.
The term Whitewater is also sometimes used to include other controversies from the Bill Clinton administration, especially those such as Travelgate, Filegate, and the circumstances surrounding Vince Foster's death, that were investigated by the Whitewater independent counsel.[6]

Origins of Whitewater Development Corporation

Hillary Rodham and Bill Clinton lived in this 980 square feet (91 m2) house in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock from 1977 to 1979 while he was Arkansas Attorney General.[7] The couple's modest circumstances led them to seek outside investment income.
Bill Clinton had known Arkansas businessman and political figure Jim McDougal since 1968, and had made a previous small real estate investment with him in 1977.[8] Clinton and Hillary Rodham were seeking ways of supplementing his salary of $26,500 as Arkansas Attorney General (which would rise to $35,000 if his campaign for Governor of Arkansas succeeded) and hers of $24,500 as Rose Law Firm associate.[9][10] It was around this time that Rodham also began trading cattle futures.[8]
In spring of 1978, McDougal proposed that Clinton and Rodham join him and his wife Susan in buying 230 acres (0.93 km2) of undeveloped land along the south bank of the White River near Flippin, Arkansas, in the Ozark Mountains. The goal was to subdivide the site into lots for vacation homes, intended for the many people coming south from Chicago and Detroit who were interested in low property taxes, fishing, rafting, and mountain scenery. The plan was to hold the property for a few years and then sell the lots at a profit.[8]
The four borrowed $203,000 to buy land, and subsequently transferred ownership of the land to the newly created Whitewater Development Corporation, in which all four participants had equal shares;[8] Susan McDougal chose[11] the name "Whitewater Estates";[12] their sales pitch was, "One weekend here and you'll never want to live anywhere else."[10] The business was incorporated on June 18, 1979.

Failure of Whitewater Development Corporation

This period featured high interest rates in general, and by the time these lots were surveyed and thus available for sale at the end of 1979, rates had climbed to near 20 percent. Prospective buyers could no longer afford to buy vacation homes. Rather than take a loss on the venture, the four decided to hold on, building a model home and hoping for better economic conditions.[8]
The White River, near Flippin, Arkansas, and the intended site of the Whitewater Development Corporation's vacation homes.
During the next several years, Jim McDougal asked the Clintons for checks for various interest payments on the loan or other expenses; the Clintons later claimed to have no knowledge of the uses of these contributions.[8][13] Concurrently, Jim McDougal had lost his job as the governor's economic aide when Bill Clinton failed to win re-election in 1980.[10] McDougal decided to go into banking instead,[10] and then acquired the Bank of Kingston in 1980 and the Woodruff Savings & Loan in 1982[14] renaming them the Madison Bank & Trust and the Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, respectively.[11]
In spring 1985, McDougal held a fundraiser at Madison's office in Little Rock that paid off Clinton's remaining 1984 gubernatorial campaign debt of $50,000. McDougal raised $35,000, and of that Madison cashier's checks accounted for $12,000.[15][16]
In 1985, Jim McDougal set his sights on investment into local residential construction, labeling the project Castle Grande. The 1,000 acres (4 km²), located south of Little Rock,[11] were priced at about $1.75 million, more than McDougal could afford on his own: due to financial laws, McDougal could borrow at most $600,000 from his own savings and loan, Madison Guaranty. McDougal subsequently involved several others to produce the additional funds. Among these was Seth Ward, an employee of the bank, who helped funnel the additional $1.15 million required. To avoid potential investigations, the money was moved back and forth among several other investors and intermediaries. Hillary Clinton, then an attorney at Little Rock-based Rose Law Firm, provided legal services to Castle Grande.
In 1986, their scheme was unveiled by federal regulators who realized that all of the necessary funds for this real estate venture had come entirely from Madison Guaranty; regulators called Castle Grande a sham. In July of that year, McDougal resigned from Madison Guaranty. Seth Ward fell under investigation, along with the lawyer who helped him draft the agreement. Castle Grande earned $2 million in commissions and fees for McDougal's business associates, as well as an unknown amount of legal fees by Hillary Clinton's law firm, but in 1989 it collapsed, at a cost to the government of $4 million.[17] This in turn helped trigger the 1989 collapse of Madison Guaranty,[17] which federal regulators then had to take over. Taking place in the midst of the nationwide savings and loan crisis, the failure of Madison Guaranty cost the United States $73 million.[18]
The Clintons lost between $37,000 and $69,000 on their Whitewater investment,[19] a lesser amount than the McDougals lost, for reasons unclear in the media reports.[13] The White House and the President's supporters claimed that they were exonerated by the Pillsbury Report, a $3 million study done for the Resolution Trust Corporation by the Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro law firm at the time that Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan was dissolved. In this report it was shown that James McDougal, who had set up the deal, was the managing partner, and Clinton was a passive investor in the venture.[20] Charles Patterson, lead attorney from Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro on the investigation, refuted the White House's claim, stating that "It was not our purpose to vindicate, castigate, exculpate". The President's critics cited the unequal capital contributions by the Clintons and McDougals as evidence that then-Governor Clinton was to contribute in other ways.

Bill Clinton's first run for president

During Bill Clinton's first bid for the presidency in 1992, he was asked by New York Times reporters about the failure of the Whitewater development, which Bill Clinton and Jim McDougal had originally purchased in 1978.[21] The subsequent New York Times article, by reporter Jeff Gerth, appeared on March 8, 1992.[1]

Removal of documents

Within hours of the death of Vince Foster in July 1993, chief White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum removed documents, some of them concerning the Whitewater Development Corporation, from Foster's office and gave them to Maggie Williams, Chief of Staff to the First Lady. According to the New York Times, Williams placed them in a safe in the White House for five days before turning them over to their personal lawyer.[22]

Subpoena of the presidential couple

Hillary Rodham Clinton worked on the third floor of Rose Law Firm.[23] Her billing records from the mid-1980s would become the subject of intrigue during the Whitewater controversy.
As a result of the exposé in the New York Times, the Justice Department opened an investigation into the failed Whitewater deal. Media pressure continued to build, and on April 22, 1994, Hillary Clinton gave an unusual press conference under a portrait of Abraham Lincoln in the State Dining Room of the White House, to address questions on both Whitewater and the cattle futures controversy; it was broadcast live on several networks. In it she claimed that the Clintons had a passive role in the Whitewater venture, and had committed no wrongdoing, but admitted her explanations had been vague and that she no longer opposed appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the matter. Afterwards she won media praise for the manner in which she conducted herself during this, her first adversarial press conference;[13] Time called her "open, candid, but above all unflappable...the real message was her attitude and her poise. The confiding tone and relaxed body language...immediately drew approving reviews".[24] By that time there was growing backlash from Democrats and other members of the political left against the press' investigations of Whitewater, with the New York Times coming in for special criticism by Gene Lyons of Harper's Magazine, who felt its reporters were exaggerating the significance and possible impropriety of what they were uncovering.[25]
At Clinton's request, Attorney General Janet Reno appointed a special prosecutor Robert B. Fiske to investigate the legality of the Whitewater transactions in 1994. Two allegations surfaced: 1) that Clinton had exerted pressure on an Arkansas businessman, David Hale, to make a loan that would benefit him and the owners of Madison Guaranty; and 2) that an Arkansas bank had concealed transactions involving Clinton's gubernatorial campaign in 1990. In May 1994, Independent Counsel Robert Fiske issued a grand jury subpoena to the President and his wife for all documents relating to Madison Guaranty, with a deadline of 30 days. They were reported as missing by the Clintons. Almost two years later, the subpoenaed billing records of the Rose Law Firm, which Hillary Clinton worked for, were discovered in the Clintons' private residence in the White House by a staffer in January 1996.
The Clintons claimed to have been cleared of all wrongdoing in two reports prepared by the San Francisco law firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro for the Resolution Trust Corporation, which was overseeing the liquidation of Madison Guaranty. Charles Patterson, lead attorney for Pillsbury, Madison refuted that claim, stating that "It was not our purpose to vindicate, castigate, exculpate".

The Kenneth Starr investigation

In August 1994, Kenneth Starr was appointed by a three-judge panel to continue the Whitewater investigation, replacing Robert B. Fiske, who had been specially appointed by the Attorney General, prior to the re-enactment of the Independent Counsel law. Fiske was replaced because he had been chosen and appointed by Janet Reno, Clinton's Attorney General, creating an apparent conflict of interest.
David Hale, the key witness against President Clinton in Starr's Whitewater investigation, alleged in November 1992 that Clinton, while governor of Arkansas, pressured him to provide an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, the partner of the Clintons in the Whitewater deal.[3]
Hale's defense strategy, as proposed by attorney Randy Coleman, was to present himself as the victim of high-powered politicians who forced him to give away all of the money.[26] This self-caricature was undermined by testimony from November 1989, wherein FBI agents investigating the failure of Madison Guaranty had questioned Hale about his dealings with Jim and Susan McDougal, including the $300,000 loan. [It is unclear how Hale was asked about the $300,000 loan in 1989, when, as noted above, Hale provided the loan in November 1992 three years AFTER the FBI interview.] According to the agents' official memorandum of that interview, Hale described in some detail his dealings with Jim Guy Tucker (then an attorney in private practice, later Bill Clinton's lieutenant governor), both McDougals, and several others, but never mentioned Governor Bill Clinton. Nor did Clinton's name come up when Hale testified at McDougal's 1990 trial, which ended in an acquittal.
Clinton denied that he pressured Hale to approve the loan to Susan McDougal. By this time, Hale had already pleaded guilty to two felonies and secured a reduction in his sentence in exchange for his testimony against Clinton from prosecutors. Charges were made by Clinton supporters that Hale had received numerous cash payments from representatives of the so-called Arkansas Project, a $2.4 million campaign established to assist in Hale's defense strategy, and to investigate Clinton and his associates between 1993 and 1997.[3] These charges were subsequently the topic of a separate investigation by former Department of Justice investigator Michael E. Shaheen Jr.[27] Shaheen filed his report in July 1999 to Starr, who summarized the findings in that there was insufficient evidence of Hale having been paid in hopes of influencing his testimony, with such allegations being "unsubstantiated or, in some cases, untrue", and that no charges would be brought against Hale or Arkansas Project outlet The American Spectator.[28] Writers from Salon complained that the full, 168-page, unleaked report had not been made public, a complaint still being reiterated by Salon, as of 2001.[29]
The state prosecutors went ahead and signed an arrest warrant against Hale in early July 1996. Criminal charges filed by the state prosecutors charged that Hale had made misrepresentations to the state insurance commission regarding the solvency of an insurance company that he had owned, National Savings Life. The prosecutors also alleged in court papers that Hale had made those misrepresentations to conceal the fact that he had looted the insurance company. Hale said that any infraction was a technicality and that no one lost any money.[30] In March 1999, Hale was convicted of the first charge, with the jury recommending a 21-day jail sentence.[30]
Starr drafted an impeachment referral to the House of Representatives in the fall of 1997, alleging that there was "substantial and credible evidence" that Clinton might have committed perjury regarding Hale's allegations.
Theodore B. Olson, who with several associates, launched the plan that later became known as known as the "Arkansas Project", wrote several essays for The American Spectator, accusing Clinton and many of his associates of wrongdoing. The first of those pieces appeared in February 1994, alleging a wide variety of criminal offenses by the Clintons and others, including Webster Hubbell. These allegations led to the discovery that Hubbell, a Hillary Clinton friend and former Rose Law Firm partner, had committed multiple frauds, mostly against his own firm. Hillary Clinton, instead of being complicit in Hubbell's crimes, had been among his victims. In December 1994, one week after Hubbell pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion, Associate White House Counsel, Jane C. Sherburne, created a "Task List" which included a reference to monitoring Hubbell's cooperation with Starr. Hubbell was later recorded in prison saying "I need to roll over one more time" regarding the Rose Law firm lawsuit. In his next court appearance, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination (see United States v. Hubbell).
In February 1997, Starr announced he would leave the investigation to pursue a position at the Pepperdine University School of Law. However, he "flip flopped" in the face of "intense criticism", and new evidence of sexual misconduct.[31]
By April 1998, diverted to some degree by the burgeoning Lewinsky scandal, Starr's investigations in Arkansas were winding down, with his Little Rock grand jury about to expire in the following month.[17] Hubbell, Jim Guy Tucker, and Susan McDougal had all refused to cooperate with Starr.[17] Tucker and McDougal were later pardoned by President Clinton. When the Arkansas grand jury did conclude its work in May 1998, after 30 months in panel, it came up with only a contempt indictment against Susan McDougal.[27] Although she refused to testify under oath regarding the Clintons' involvement in Whitewater, Susan McDougal did make the case in the media that the Clintons had been truthful in their account of the loan, and had cast doubt on her former husband's motives for cooperating with Starr. She also claimed that James McDougal felt abandoned by Clinton, and told her "he was going to pay back the Clintons". She also claimed to the press, again not under oath, that her husband had told her that Republican activist and Little Rock lawyer, Sheffield Nelson, was willing to "pay him some money" for talking to the New York Times about Clinton, and in 1992, he told her that, in fact, one of Clinton's political enemies was paying him to tell the New York Times about Whitewater.
From the beginning, Susan McDougal charged that Starr offered her "global immunity" from other charges, if she would cooperate with the Whitewater investigation. McDougal told the jury that refusing to answer questions about the Clintons and Whitewater wasn't easy for her, or her family. "It's been a long road, a very long road...and it was not an easy decision to make", McDougal told the court. McDougal refused to answer any questions while under oath, leading to her being imprisoned by the judge for civil contempt of court for the maximum 18 months, including eight months in isolation. Starr's subsequent indictment of McDougal for criminal contempt of court charges resulted in a jury hung 7-5, in favor of acquittal. President Clinton later pardoned her, shortly before leaving office.
In September 1998, Independent Counsel Starr released the Starr Report, concerning offenses alleged to have been committed by President Clinton, as part of the Lewinsky scandal. As it dealt exclusively with the Lewinsky scandal, it mentioned Whitewater only in passing, save for a glancing reference that longtime Clinton friend and advisor, Vernon Jordan, had both tried to find Monica Lewinsky a job after her removal from the White House internship and tried to help Webster Hubbell financially with "no-show" consulting contracts, while he was under pressure to cooperate with the Whitewater investigations.[27] Indeed, it was on this basis that Starr took on the Lewinsky investigation, under the umbrella of the Whitewater Independent Counsel mandate in the first place.[27]
There was much acrimony from the most fervent critics of the Clintons, after release of the Starr report on the Foster matter and after Starr's departure and return to the case. The death of Foster had been the source of many conspiracy theories. Christopher Ruddy, a reporter for Clinton critic Richard Mellon Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, helped fuel much of this speculation with claims that Starr had not pursued this line of inquiry far enough.[32]

Reaction of the Clintons

On January 26, 1996, Hillary Clinton testified before a grand jury concerning her investments in Whitewater. This was the first time in American history that a First Lady had been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury. She testified that they never borrowed any money from the bank, and denied having caused anyone to borrow money on their behalf. Over the course of the investigation, fifteen individuals—including Jim and Susan McDougal, White House counsel Webster Hubbell, and Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker—were convicted of federal charges. Other than Jim McDougal, none of the convicted agreed to cooperate with the Whitewater investigators, and Clinton pardoned four of them in the final hours of his presidency (see list of people pardoned by Bill Clinton).

Reaction of Senate and Congress

Parallel to the Independent Counsel track, both houses of the United States Congress had been investigating Whitewater and holding hearings on it. The House Committee on Financial Services had been scheduled to begin hearings in late March 1994, but they were postponed a couple of days before after an unusually angry written communication from Democratic Banking Committee chair Henry B. Gonzalez to Republican Jim Leach in which he called Leach "obstinate", "obdurate", "in willful disregard" of House etiquette, and "premeditatedly" plotting a "judicial adventure".[33] The House Banking Committee did then begin its hearings in late July 1994.[34]
The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee also began hearings on Whitewater in July 1994;[35] these intensified in May 1995, following the Republican gain of control, when the Special Whitewater Committee was formed, with Republican Banking Committee chairman Al D'Amato also being chairman of the special committee and Michael Chertoff being chief counsel. The committee's hearings were much more extensive than those held previously by the Democrats, running for 300 hours over 60 sessions across 13 months, taking over 10,000 pages of testimony and 35,000 pages of depositions from almost 250 people; many of these marks were records.[36] The hearings' testimony and senatorial lines of investigation mostly followed partisan lines, with Republicans investigating the President and the Democrats defending him.[36] The Senate Special Whitewater Committee issued an 800-page majority report on June 18, 1996, which only hinted at one possible improper action by President Clinton, but spoke of the Clinton Administration as "an American presidency [of having] misused its power, circumvented the limits on its authority and attempted to manipulate the truth". The First Lady came in for much stronger criticism, as she was "the central figure" in all aspects of the alleged wrongdoings.[37] The Democratic minority on the Committee derided these findings as "a legislative travesty", "a witch hunt", and "a political game".[37]
On November 19, 1998, Independent Counsel Starr testified before the House Judiciary Committee in connection with the Impeachment of Bill Clinton over charges related to the Lewinsky scandal. Here, Starr said that in late 1997 he had come close to preparing an impeachment report related to Whitewater, in particular related to the fraudulent $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, and to whether the President had testified truthfully regarding the loan.[38] Starr said that he held back the charges due to not being sure of the truthfulness of two major witnesses,[39] but that the investigation was still ongoing. Regarding the reappearance of Hillary Rodham Clinton's Rose Law Firm billing records in the White House residential section, Starr said the investigation had found no explanation for the disappearance or the reappearance: "After a thorough investigation, we have found no explanation how the billing records got where they were or why they were not discovered and produced earlier. It remains a mystery to this day."[39] Starr also chose this occasion to completely exonerate President Clinton of any wrongdoing in the Travelgate and Filegate matters;[38] Democrats on the committee immediately criticized Starr for withholding these findings, as well as the Whitewater one, until after the 1998 Congressional elections.[39]


Ultimately the Clintons were never charged, but 15 other persons were convicted of more than 40 crimes, including Bill Clinton's successor as Governor, who was removed from office.[40]

Tax returns

In March 1992, during his presidential campaign, the Clintons acknowledged that on their 1984 and 1985 tax returns, they had claimed improper tax deductions for interest payments made by the Whitewater Development Company and not them personally.[41] Due to the age of mistake, the Clintons were not obligated to make good the error, but Bill Clinton announced that they would nonetheless do so.[41]
Deputy White House counsel Vince Foster looked into this matter, but did not take any action before his death.[41] Almost two years from the original announcement passed before, on December 28, 1993, the Clintons did make this reimbursement payment, for $4,900, to the Internal Revenue Service. This was done just before Justice Department investigators started seeking the Clintons' Whitewater files. The payment was made without filing an amended return (possibly because the three-year period for amended return filing had passed), but did include full interest on the amount in error, including the additional two-year delay.[41] The Whitewater files in question, publicly released in August 1995, cast some doubt on the Clintons' assertions in the matter, as they showed that the couple were aware that the interest payments in question were by the Whitewater corporation and not them personally.[41]

Ray report

Kenneth Starr's successor as Independent Counsel, Robert Ray, released a report in September 2000 that stated "This office determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that either President or Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in any criminal conduct."[21] Ray nonetheless criticized the White House in a statement regarding the release of the report, saying delays in the production of evidence and "unmeritorious litigation" by the president's lawyers severely impeded the investigation's progress, leading to a total cost of nearly $60 million. Ray's report effectively closed the Whitewater investigation.[5]


The exhibit on the Whitewater controversy at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas
Bill and Hillary Clinton never visited the actual Whitewater property. In May 1985, Jim McDougal had sold the remaining lots of the failed Whitewater Development Corporation to local realtor Chris Wade. By 1993, there were a few occupied houses on the site, but mostly just "For Sale" signs; after swarms of Whitewater reporters made the trek there, one owner hung a sign saying "Go Home, Idiots."[42] By 2007, there were about 12 houses in the subdivision, with the last lot up for sale by son Chris Wade, Jr., for $25,000. In Flippin, Jim McDougal's savings and loan bank had been replaced by a variety of small businesses, most recently a barbershop.[43]
The length, expense, and results of the Whitewater investigations turned the public against the Office of the Independent Counsel; even Kenneth Starr was opposed.[44] In particular, Democrats portrayed Whitewater as a political witch-hunt, much as Republicans had at the end of the 1980s Iran-Contra investigations.[11] As such, the Independent Counsel law expired in 1999.[44] Indeed, no one ended up happy with the Whitewater investigation; Democrats felt that the investigation was a political witch-hunt, Republicans were frustrated that both Clintons had escaped formal charges, and those without partisan involvement found press coverage of Whitewater, which spanned four decades, difficult to understand.

Read more:..............


Hillary is back and so are nonstop scandals

January 8, 2014

To a greater extent than any modern politician, with the possible exception of her husband and the late Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton and scandal are inseparable. While first lady, she was caught up in the Rose Law Firm file flap and the White House travel office firings, about which she denied knowing anything. At the State Department there was Benghazi, the lack of candor about Benghazi, the phony Accountability Review Board (which conveniently didn’t question her) and the apparent scapegoating of four State Department employees who seemed to have no real responsibility for the death of four Americans. Unlike her first-lady excuses, she couldn’t very well say she didn’t know what was going on in her own department. The stench of fundraising scandals and the prison sentences of some of Clinton’s donors almost get lost in the torrent of excuse-mongering. If she is not one of the most dishonest pols of our time, than she must be a perpetual victim (no doubt of the “vast right-wing conspiracy”) or the most unlucky woman on the planet.
Since Clinton left office, controversy has swirled about the management of the Clinton Foundation. Now, thanks to the new memoir from former secretary of defense Robert Gates, it spins even faster.
It is hard to quibble with Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus’s take on the Gates revelations, on CNN on Tuesday: “With all of the scandal around her I’m not sure it would be all that bad for the Republican Party, to tell you the truth. She wanders and scandal surrounds her. We talk about Benghazi. We talk about the health-care rollout in the early ’90s. Whitewater. I mean, you name it.” That sentiment — that Republicans wouldn’t mind running against Hillary in 2016 — is more than media spin. It is easy to see why.
As these issues mount Clinton must decide whether she will personally respond to the accusations of heinous irresponsibility for her own political gain, have one of her legions of aides do it or ignore the whole thing and hope it goes away. Meanwhile, she ducks questions about the fruits of her misguided actions, including the descent of Syria into a hellish bloodbath, the resurrection of al-Qaeda and the effort to engage Iran and ignore the Green Revolution. Can she explain her series of blunders, or does she hope everyone will forget about them by 2016?
Republicans would be smart to abide by three simple rules when it comes to Hillary.
First, stick to the facts (which are bad enough) and don’t overreach. Making her accusers seem unhinged is a favorite Clinton family ploy. Indeed, some of her excuses (e.g. she had no system in place to route key memos to her, such as the ones from U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens pleading for more security) are worse than the conspiratorial explanations for her behavior.
Second, because the public has a short memory, it’s important to remind voters and unenthusiastic media outlets when events like Gates’s book come along that, whatever the scandal du jour may be, it is part of a decades-long pattern. Recall that in 2008 Barack Obama ran against her and the Clinton culture of corruption and cronyism. (Obama, if nothing else, is a master at destroying opponents.)
Third, it is not an either/or proposition with Hillary. She can be both dishonest (e.g. in her post-attack spin on Benghazi) and incompetent (e.g. taking her eye off the ball in Libya).  Let the facts concerning her motives guide Republican critics based on the particulars of each scandal.
Republicans are increasingly confident that the meltdown in the Obama second term, the flurry of foreign policy disasters Clinton left brewing for her successor and the constant swirl of scandal will make Hillary vulnerable to a reform-minded GOP opponent in 2016. At this point, running against Clinton instead of an unblemished fresh face suits them just fine.
But as Mitt Romney found out, they can’t win simply by pointing their fingers at the Obama-Clinton mess and saying, “See!” No, they will need a candidate with a forward-looking agenda that appeals to the center-right and one who knows how to land some hits without overdoing it. If they get the right opponent (Hillary) and the right standard-bearer (likely a governor or Rep. Paul Ryan), they’ll be in good shape in 2016.


June 15, 2013

Hillary Clinton's Legacy of Scandal

In the midst of the eruption of near-daily scandals involving the Obama administration, let us not forget that until just a few months ago, Hillary Clinton was the most significant persona within that administration besides the president himself.  Let us not also forget that notwithstanding the scandal-grenades going off all around us, Mrs. Clinton diligently plans her run for the presidency, even while several of those scandals are obviously and entirely her responsibility, exposing the State Department during her tenure as an utter sewer of corruption, cronyism, and fatal incompetence. 

For as long as Hillary Clinton has been on the national scene, she has left a path of destruction and wreckage in her wake that is both impressive and terrible to behold.  She is a testament to the extent of damage that can be done by one person determined to conquer everything before her in the quest for unlimited power and self-gratification.  The only prize left to her in American politics is the presidency, which she has always felt is hers by right.  Indeed, she would have attained it were it not for the upstart community organizer, a fellow admirer of Saul Alinsky, who spoke in volumes but said nothing. 

While such determination comes at a staggering cost, we should remind ourselves that the bill is never paid by Mrs. Clinton or her equally arrogant husband.  It is paid by the country.  Before we ask yet again for the check, perhaps we should remind ourselves of exactly who this woman is who will soon attempt to seduce the country, and her history as the object of an absurd and undeserved degree of national affection.

Before accompanying her husband to the White House as our first co-president, Mrs. Clinton was working hard on becoming the person we now know her to be.  As with her husband, the goal has always been the attainment of power masquerading as public service.  Setting an example for the Obamas to emulate, the Clintons put self-absorption and personal victory before all else.  The Clintons have always served themselves, and nothing else.
Do you recall the slime that was Whitewater, in which the Clintons dissembled and lied while their former business partners went to jail?  Do you remember Mrs. Clinton earning $100,000 in profit in 1979 on a $1,000 investment over the course of only 9 months in volatile cattle futures, about which she knew nothing, thanks to help from a highly placed Tyson Foods connection?  Tyson profited handsomely in Arkansas, with state loans and appointments.  We are to believe that Clinton studied the Wall Street Journal to achieve a feat against which the odds were one in 250 million.  Do you recall the Rose Law Firm billing records that magically appeared in Mrs. Clinton's White House office, years after they had been subpoenaed?  Or the death of Vince Foster under rather extraordinary and inexplicable circumstances, and the lies and cover-up that followed?  Do you recall that while testifying before congressional investigators as first lady, she answered "I don't know" or "I don't remember" 250 times?

Do you recall Travelgate, in which the Clintons destroyed reputations and careers to reward campaign donors?  What about the endless parade of women, long known to Mrs. Clinton and laughably passed off by her as "ministering" to a troubled young woman in the matter of Miss Lewinsky?  Nevertheless, when the truth came out, she was entirely happy to exploit the illusion of victimhood for her own martyrdom in the cause of political advancement.

Wherever Mrs. Clinton goes, destruction follows.  Of course, like the current president, nothing is ever her fault.  She knows nothing.  She is the innocent victim of all around her, endlessly bemoaning her fate as the victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy that somehow has directed the events of her life even before there was a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Make no mistake: the Clintons, and Hillary Clinton in particular, hold the American public in utter contempt, but especially so their own supporters.  How else to explain the countless frauds, crimes, and lies they perpetrate upon their devotees, whose own intellectual honesty is devalued to nothing by their loyalty?  And how else besides intellectual dishonesty to rationalize somehow being a Hillary Clinton supporter?

As if Benghazi was not enough, and it should have been even with the little that has come to light thus far, news broke this week about the culture of pure corruption, decay, immorality, criminality, and scandal that has been our Department of State under Mrs. Clinton.  We were regaled with liberal celebrations of the mythical "Greatest Secretary of State" ever, while those paying attention could not identify a single advancement in the image or policies of the United States during her tenure.  Certainly the blame for that does not fall entirely upon her, given whose policies she was advocating, but she still opted to be the person who advanced those destructive policies, putting our country at risk and lowering its standing throughout the world.  This reality was recently driven home by the revelation that the Clintons and President Obama struck a deal under which she accepted the post of secretary of state in exchange for Obama's support in 2016. 

Regardless of the means, we are now being provided a window into what actually occurred under Mrs. Clinton's stewardship.  No doubt we will once again be treated to a river of alibis.  Like the president, we will be asked by Mrs. Clinton's public relations mercenaries to believe that the structure over which she presided was entirely foreign to her, and that despite her zeal to take credit for any exercise of power as head of that structure, any wrongdoing by those carrying out her organizational mission statement is somehow not attachable to her.  Like the president, her good name has been hijacked by those actively doing wrong under her very nose.  Also like the president, rampant wrongdoing and criminality occurring in her very presence met with no censure whatsoever, which is becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile with the real world in which the rest of us live.  Either she entirely failed morally as a leader because she knew what was happening and ignored it (or worse, actively participated in it), or she entirely failed in terms of competence for not even being that pathetic.

For those paying attention, we are being treated to a preview of coming attractions.  Indeed, every day under President Obama is a preview of the presidency of Hillary Clinton, if we are so reckless as to accept her self-serving proposal of figurative marriage.  Unlike Mr. Obama, however, about whom we knew nothing before his rise, the Hillary Clinton preview of coming attractions has been running on a near-continuous loop for the better part of 30 years.
As the State Department scandal deepens, and as more people potentially refuse to take the fall for the advancement of an utterly corrupt politician, perhaps our knowledge of Mrs. Clinton will deepen -- as if we really needed to know more to understand who and what she is.  We should be grateful as a nation for the gift of foresight.  May it finally enlighten those who so far have proved poor excuses for sensible American citizens.


November 28, 2008

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Hillary Clinton Back in the White House
So let me get this straight. You’re the President-elect trying to deliver a new spirit of reform and integrity to Washington, DC, while at the same time healing and bringing together a divided country. And then you tap Hillary Rodham Clinton, perhaps the most corrupt politician in modern political history – and certainly the most polarizing — to be your Secretary of State? Hillary Clinton, the nation’s top diplomat?
If you’ve read this update for any length of time, or if you’re familiar with Judicial Watch’s 13-year record of holding the Clintons accountable, you know what a truly horrible decision Barack Obama has just made for his administration and for the country.
It would be impossible for me to provide a comprehensive review of the many scandals that have involved Hillary Clinton. For this you should check out our Internet site, (You can also read this booklet, which summarizes Judicial Watch’s Clinton-related investigations and lawsuits) But here is a "greatest hits" list of some of Hillary Clinton’s more reprehensible acts over the last 15 years:
  • Chinagate: Hillary Clinton allegedly masterminded the illegal scheme to sell taxpayer-financed trade mission seats in exchange for campaign contributions to the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign in 1996. This opened the door to campaign cash for White House access and administration favors for the communist Chinese and other foreign nationals.
  • Filegate: Hillary Clinton allegedly orchestrated the theft of the private FBI files of former Reagan-Bush staffers, and then used the information to blackmail the Clintons’ political enemies.
  • Travelgate: Hillary Clinton ordered the firing of several long-time employees of the White House Travel Office in order to install her friends and campaign supporters in their positions. Independent Counsel Robert Ray stated that Hillary’s testimony regarding the incident was "factually false."
  • Smear Campaigns: Hillary Clinton destroyed the lives of women who had the courage to come forward and publicly disclose the abuse they suffered at the hands of Bill Clinton. This was all part of Hillary Clinton’s "slash and burn" campaign used against anyone who dared to cross them.
  • Campaign Finance: Hillary Clinton failed to report a $2 million campaign contribution in the form of a star-studded Hollywood fundraiser dedicated to her husband. The National Finance Director for Hillary’s Senate 2000 campaign, David Rosen, was indicted in the scandal and her campaign finance operation was fined by the FEC.
Trust me this is a partial list. I could go on and on about pardons for terrorists, pardons for cash (profiting her brothers), White House fundraising coffees, Whitewater, doing business with the State of Arkansas while her husband was governor, Web Hubbell, John Huang, Chinese generals, the Lippo Group, and paid sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom, stealing White House furniture, etc., etc.
With specific relevance to her new job as Secretary of State, there are also the serious conflicts of interest involving Bill Clinton, who has become something of an international sensation since leaving the White House, brokering international business deals and reaping huge fees for foreign speaking engagements. Even the liberal CNN reported that Bill Clinton’s "complicated global business interests could present future conflicts of interest that result in unneeded headaches for the incoming commander-in-chief."
The question is what promises will Bill Clinton make to his international business associates with respect to U.S. State Department Policy that his wife will have to keep?
Hillary Clinton is ethically challenged. Her husband is ethically challenged. Has any other Secretary of State nominee been the subject of a grand jury criminal investigation? From their days in the White House to the present day, they have consistently abused their public office for personal and political gain. Hillary and Bill (not to mention their siblings) are scandals waiting to happen. She has neither the temperament nor ethics to be in such a sensitive office.
I believe Obama made a deal with the devil to avoid a floor flight at the convention. It may have served him politically, but the public shouldn’t suffer the consequences. If the Senate is serious about ethics in government, Hillary’s nomination would be rejected. In putting forward Hillary, Obama now owns the Clinton scandals. Her nomination is another weak personnel decision that will harm his presidency.
Will the Obama administration exercise due diligence and keep a watchful eye on the Clintons? My guess is that if Obama is willing to hire Hillary given her dismal record, he’ll be willing to turn a blind eye to her likely corrupt behavior at the State Department.
The vetting of Hillary seems to have been run by John Podesta (her husband’s former Chief of Staff) and Cheryl Mills (the ethically-challenged lawyer who served as Clinton White House lawyer). Surprise. Surprise. She passed.
Will the names of those at home and abroad who gave the Clinton machine millions over the years be released?
With pals like Rezko, Wright, and Ayers, Obama doesn’t seem to care about the ethics of his cronies.
That means it’ll be up to Judicial Watch to monitor Hillary Clinton’s every move if she and Bill make it to State.
Another Clinton Crony to Join the Obama Administration
What is this obsession Barack Obama has with scandal-ridden former Clinton officials? Rahm Emanuel, Greg Craig, John Podesta, and Eric Holder are all slated to hold key positions in the upcoming Obama administration (not to mention Hillary herself, see above). And now you can add former Clinton Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to the list. Richardson will now serve as Obama’s Secretary of Commerce.
Richardson may not have the corruption resume of, say, a Hillary Clinton. (But who does?) That said, Richardson is not without his ethical skeletons.
You may recall that Richardson was the Secretary of Energy at the time nuclear secrets were stolen from the Los Alamos Laboratory and possibly transferred to the Communist Chinese. Judicial Watch client Notra Trulock, the DOE Director of Intelligence who uncovered this serious breach of national security, was subjected to a massive smear campaign by Clinton officials in retaliation, led by Bill Richardson. Trulock was demoted and ultimately forced out of the agency. (Judicial Watch deposed Richardson in litigation on behalf of Trulock.)
(Richardson was roundly criticized for his mishandling of the Los Alamos fiasco, but that didn’t stop him from publishing a book entitled, Leading by Example: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution. You gotta admit; he’s got nerve.)
While serving as Clinton’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Richardson also narrowly escaped prosecution for his alleged participation in the attempted Monica Lewinsky cover-up. Richardson met with Lewinsky on several occasions in her Watergate condo and offered her a job at the UN. This was an attempt to keep Lewinsky quiet about the affair. In fact, Richardson apparently lied during his Secretary of Energy confirmation hearings when he said he offered a job to Lewinsky to fill an "existing opening." Evidence suggests there was no such job.
Still, Richardson was confirmed and, following the Clinton administration, was elected Governor of New Mexico. Now, he’ll be in charge of guiding the nation’s Commerce Department through the most serious financial crisis in 60 years. During the Clinton years, Commerce was a bazaar where, at Hillary’s direction, taxpayer-funded seats on trade mission junkets (and waivers for missile technology transfers to the communist Chinese) were sold to companies in exchange for political donations. It is fair to ask whether Richardson will follow the corrupt model of the Clinton years at Commerce.
So who’s next on Barack Obama’s list? Sandy Berger, the disgraced former Clinton National Security Advisor who was caught stealing and destroying documents from the National Archives? It wouldn’t surprise me in the least…
FEC Gives McCain Campaign a "Pass" on Foreign Campaign Fundraiser
Apparently, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is not concerned about foreign nationals attempting to influence the U.S. election process.
Judicial Watch was notified recently that the FEC had decided to "close the file" on an April 22, 2008, Judicial Watch complaint related to a fundraising luncheon held at London’s Spencer House to benefit Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, despite noting questionable delays in billing for the event.
In its "factual and legal analysis," the FEC noted that the McCain campaign was invoiced for the event one week after Judicial Watch filed its complaint, which "could raise a question as to the commercial reasonableness of Spencer House’s extension of credit to the campaign." However, the FEC ultimately decided nonetheless that no violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act had occurred.
(According to 2 U.S.C. § 441e, it is illegal for any foreign national to "make a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value" to a Federal, State or Local election.)
The McCain fundraiser was held on March 20, 2008 at London’s Spencer House, which is billed as "London’s most magnificent 18th century private palace." The McCain campaign distributed an invitation indicating that the site for the luncheon had been provided "by kind permission of Lord Rothschild, OM GBE and the Hon. Nathaniel Rothschild," who are both foreign nationals. In statements to the press, the McCain campaign referred to the luncheon as a "fundraiser."
Judicial Watch filed its complaint with the FEC on April 22, 2008, suggesting the McCain campaign, "may have accepted an in-kind contribution from foreign nationals Lord Rothschild OM GBE and the Hon. Nathaniel Rothschild of Great Britain in contravention of federal election laws." On April 29, 2008 – one week after Judicial Watch’s complaint and 40 days after the event was held – the Spencer House finally invoiced the McCain Campaign for the event. The invoice was paid three days later.
So what is the excuse for the delayed billing?
Spencer House officials claim they "needed to consult with ‘advisors’ to ascertain whether Value Added Tax should be added to the charges since the Committee is located in the United States."
This is a feeble excuse, and I’m not buying it. The McCain foreign fundraising event was only cleaned up after we filed and publicized our complaint. I find "after the fact" invoices and excuses about taxes unconvincing. Pity the FEC bought it.
The FEC had better start taking seriously the threat posed by foreign nationals who seek to corrupt our election process because this McCain campaign fundraiser is just the tip of the iceberg. Remember all those foreign Internet contributions allegedly flooding into the Obama campaign? Foreign influence in U.S. elections is a serious problem and it deserves the FEC’s (and law enforcement’s) full attention.
Happy Thanksgiving
On behalf of all of us here at Judicial Watch, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. In the spirit of the holiday, I want to extend my gratitude to all of you who continue to support Judicial Watch and our work to clean up corruption and to hold politicians of every political stripe accountable to the rule of law.
As we’ve seen over the last few weeks, Judicial Watch is going to have its work cut out in 2009. We need your help now more than ever. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to help Judicial Watch monitor the Obama-Clinton administration, please click here.
Thank you and God bless…

Tom Fitton

Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts, click here.

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