Hillary Clinton’s email scandal just can’t seem to die. Good; it shouldn’t.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press (AP) broke news that “more than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation.” An “extraordinary proportion” the AP called it.
Extraordinary indeed. There is no light which can paint this nicely; no spin which can portray this as anything other than what it was – a “pay-to-play” attitude on the part of Clinton, who allowed top Foundation donors to reap the benefits of the near-limitless power of America’s State Department.
The AP’s examination of emails connecting the State Department and the Clinton Foundation find examples of these meetings, and has uncovered instances where State Department resources were used directly to assist with favours for Clinton Foundation donors.
Such favours included those dished out to Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus – who chairs a non-profit bank which has donated upwards of $200,000 dollars to the Clinton Foundation. He received assistance from Clinton’s aides after three meetings with the secretary and a string of pleas to help him with his relationship with the Bangladeshi government. Another case showed how, just one day after Clinton attended a breakfast in which a Wall Street executive (and an estimated $250-$500,000 donor to the Clinton Foundation) was in attendance, the State Department was working on issuing a visa at his request.
This is only the latest round in the email saga to reveal deeply problematic ties between Clinton’s time spent as Secretary of State and her foundation. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported issues of compromised US interests and nepotism: “an executive at the Clinton Foundation in 2009 sought to put a billionaire donor in touch with the United States ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interests there. In another email, the foundation appeared to push aides to Mrs Clinton to help find a job for a foundation associate. Her aides indicated that the department was working on the request.”
No-one can (credibly) claim that this email story is a non-issue or just a fabricated attack ploy from the opposition. The facts go straight from her email records to the front page of newspapers, laying bare to everyone her completely unethical behaviour, and the prioritisation of her own interests while she held one of the most powerful offices in the world.
And the American people aren’t fooled. They know something is rotten in the State Department. They know it reflects a broken system, where power has corrupted those who have been wielding it for far too long; and there is no better example than secretary Clinton.
I don’t believe Americans would ordinarily tolerate this level of corruption and elitism. It’s why her ratings for trustworthiness and honestly are so low. It’s why senator Bernie Sanders garnered so much support when he focused in on her ties to Wall Street. It’s why almost any Republican candidate would have beaten her in a general election.
But by an ironic twist of fate, it is that deep disdain for the seedy nature of politicians like Clinton that has led to the nomination of the one candidate who will struggle to beat her in the presidential race.
The most depressing outcome this November may very well be that, given the shambolic state of the opposition, Clinton’s disregard and disrespect for the integrity of the office she seeks will not be seen for the danger it really is.