Hillary Clinton just spent three days Hoovering up $9 million in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, part of an estimated $57 million she’s raised this month for her presidential campaign.
In her latest visit to the California ATM, she dined and met with Hollywood bosses and celebrities, some wealthy former athletes like Magic Johnson, and the movers-and-shakers in Silicon Valley.
One event she attended in the valley, co-hosted by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Lisa Jackson, the former head of the EPA who is now an Apple VP, raised over $1 million. Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs, hosted a small event for just 20 people who were willing to pay $200,000 each–a total of $4 million to the Clinton campaign.
Other than getting their preferred candidate elected president, it’s hard to know what the donors expect for their money–guest lists are secret, and unlike Barack Obama, Clinton bars the media from these events.
A cynic might point out that Apple is in a tax dispute with the European Union that could cost it as much as $19 billion. The Treasury Department criticized the EU earlier this week for “targeting” Apple, and Cook and Jobs may view these fund-raisers as insurance for future support from the government.
Some might think they’ll get special attention from a Clinton White House, especially if they read the Associated Press story that gives the strong impression people who donated to the Clinton Foundation expected a sympathetic ear at the State Department in return.
AP’s review of Clinton’s schedule for her first two years as Secretary of State showed that 58 of 154 people from the private sector she met with or talked to on the phone were contributors to the foundation, for as much as $156 million. At least 40 of them gave more than $100,000 and 20 contributed more than $1 million.
No evidence has surfaced yet that she did anything illegal or unethical for these people, but you have to wonder where they got the impression that a donation would get them access. It has been observed that you are responsible for what you say and what people hear.
Naturally, Clinton and her press people have denounced the article. “That’s absurd,” Clinton said to allegations that donors paid to play, calling the article “all smoke no fire.” Her camp also points out the story covers only the first two years of her tenure as secretary, painting an incomplete and possibly distorted picture.
They don’t bother to mention that AP has been trying to get Clinton’s complete schedule while she was secretary, and had to sue the State Department to get the two years worth of records that formed the basis for the story.
If nothing else, the story follows a consistent pattern of the Clintons monetizing their past, present and possible future political influence.
The Clintons were deep in debt when they left the White House and are now worth over $100 million, according to a couple of sources. They didn’t make all of that money writing books. From 2013-15, Hillary gave 92 speeches at a standard fee of $225,000–over $21 million in two years. Bill is well-known for his ability to command $500,000 for a one-hour speech.
If in fact the Clintons have been running a pay-for-play hustle, Hillary has a strong incentive to keep her emails as private as possible. Hillary’s misleading statements about what’s in her emails and her unwillingness to cooperate with investigators until a court order is produced only heightens the suspicion of many that she is dishonest and unethical.
Or as Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker wrote, Clinton “has deeply damaged whatever public trust she has remaining–and for a candidate, this can be fatal.”