Friends With Benefits

May 15, 2016 |

 The Clinton Foundation has been under scrutiny for the way the Clintons have turned their cozy relationships with the wealthy and powerful into mega-donations to their nonprofit.  But the latest scandal is a new twist because it’s not about who gave the Clintons money, but where they helped direct money.  Bill reportedly lobbied Energy Secretary Steven Chu to give an $812,000 federal grant to an energy company partly owned by several Clinton pals, including a former Democratic Party official, the treasurer of the DNC, and a “wealthy blonde divorcee” (the New York Post’s term).

Human nature being what it is, reporters tend to focus on the “friends with benefits” angle, but let’s put the tawdry speculation aside.  The reason this story is getting attention from outlets like the Wall Street Journal is because there are laws and IRS regulations governing non-profits.  While it’s not yet clear what rules might have been violated, it’s generally verboten for a nonprofit to give money to (or lobby the government to give money to) a for-profit company owned by the nonprofit’s executives’ friends and political cronies.

A spokesperson for the Clinton Foundation brushed off the questions by saying that “President Clinton has forged an amazing universe of relationships and friendships.”  Well, that's an understatement!  In fact, this is peanuts compared to new reports of the many millions flowing to the Clintons from repressive Middle Eastern nations that would love to purchase influence with the next President.  This latest story is a new twist, but financially, it’s just a drop in the bucket of corruption.  Still, it’s a reminder that with the Clintons, the drip-drip-drip of corruption never ends.

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