Archive | Scandals RSS feed for this section

Hillary Scales ‘Mount Scandal’ with Ease

25 Jul

By Sam Smith, The Progressive Review, February 24, 1999

In the late 1970s, the Clintons and McDougals buy land in the Ozarks with mostly borrowed funds. The Clintons get 50% interest with no cash down. The plot, known as Whitewater, is fifty miles from the nearest grocery store. The Washington Post will report later that some purchasers of lots, many of them retirees, “put up houses or cabins, others slept in vans or tents, hoping to be able to live off the land.” HRC writes Jim McDougal, “If Reagonomics works at all, Whitewater could become the Western Hemisphere’s Mecca.” More than half of the purchasers will lose their plots thanks to the sleazy form of financing used.

The McDougals will be among a number of close HRC’s friends and business associates who will end up in jail. Others include her law partner Webster Hubbell and financial middle man David Hale.

Two months after commencing the Whitewater scam, Hillary Clinton invests $1,000 in cattle futures. Within a few days she has a $5,000 profit. Before bailing out she earns nearly $100,000 on her investment. Many years later, several economists will calculate that the chances of earning such returns legally were one in 250 million.

Hillary Clinton makes a $44,000 profit on a $2,000 investment in a cellular phone franchise deal that involves taking advantage of the FCC’s preference for locals, minorities and women. The franchise is almost immediately flipped to the cellular giant, McCaw.

Jim McDougal tries to prevent state agencies from shutting down his S&L, which has been providing cash for the Whitewater operation. According to the Washington Times, Ms. Clinton is put on a $2000 a month retainer by the S&L. Ms. Clinton will later claim not to have received any retainer nor to have been deeply involved with Madison.

During the 1992 campaign, Hillary Clinton defends her role in the Madison Guarantee S&L scandal by saying, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas. But what I decided to do was pursue my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.” Forgotten, however, is what inspired this homily: accusations that Ms. Clinton had represented Whitewater business partner Jim McDougal’s S&L before her husband’s government. Here’s what the New York Times reported on March 17, 1992: “Hillary Clinton said today that she did not earn ‘a penny’ from state business conducted by her Little Rock law firm and that she never intervened with state regulators on behalf of a failed Arkansas savings and loan association. . . ”

Records will show that she did, in fact, represent Madison before the state securities department. After the revelation, she says, “For goodness sakes, you can’t be a lawyer if you don’t represent banks.”

Susan McDougal recalls Ms. Clinton coming in and drumming up the business. Ms. McDougal tells the Washington Post: “The problem was finances, her finances.” The Washington Times quotes an unnamed Clinton business associate who claims the governor used to “jog over to McDougal’s office about once a month to pick up the [retainer] check for his wife.” Jim McDougal’s version of the story, according to the LA Times, is that Clinton asked him to throw some legal work his wife’s way to help the Clintons out of a financial crunch: “I hired Hillary because Bill came in whimpering that they needed help.”

Hillary Clinton writes Jim McDougal enclosing a power of attorney for him to sign “authorizing me to act on your behalf with respect to matters concerning Whitewater Development Corporation.” Another power of attorney is enclosed for Susan McDougal. The power of attorney includes the right to endorse, sign and execute “checks, notes, deeds, agreements, certificates, receipts or any other instruments in writing of all matters related to Whitewater Development Corporation.” This letter, uncovered in 1993 by Jerry Seper of the Washington Times, directly contradicts the claim of the Clintons that they were “passive shareholders” in Whitewater.

From a 1996 Chicago Tribune editorial: “The legal issues will sort themselves out in time. But one thing has become all too clear. Bill and Hillary Clinton and their aides have made a concerted effort to deceive official investigators and the American public with half truths and outright lies . . . It’s not clear what the Clintons want to conceal, but it’s clear that they have made extraordinary efforts to do so.”

The American Spectator reports in 1996 that on her Asian tour, Hillary Clinton told New Zealand television that she had been named after Sir Edmund Hillary. Sir Edmund, however, was an unknown beekeeper the year of Mrs. Clinton’s birth.

The Spectator also reports that HRC served on the board of a corporation about which serious questions have been raised concerning its role in the pre-Gulf War arms pipeline to Iraq.

A drug dealer donates $20,000 to the DNC, attends a Christmas reception hosted by Hillary Clinton, has his photo taken with the Clintons and Al Gore and then — three weeks later — is arrested for smuggling 6,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States. It should have come as no surprise to anyone involved. After all, Jorge Cabrera had already served two prison sentences — one for trying to bribe a grand jury witness and the other for filing a false income tax return. Later he will be back in the news when a businessman pleads guilty to laundering $3.5 million for Cabrera between 1986 and 1996.

“I see the White House is like a subway — you have to put in coins to open the gates.” — Clinton contributor Johnny Chung talking about the $50,000 he gave Hillary Clinton’s top aide while seeking VIP treatment at the White House.

Spilling some of the beans on her “close friend” Ron Brown, Nolanda Hill tells Prime Time Live that Brown used drugs while Commerce Secretary and considered taking a big payoff from Vietnam to get trade restrictions lifted but dropped the idea when he got a tip that FBI was on the case. Hill also says that Brown thought it was Hillary who placed John Huang in a Commerce Department job. Huang left the Lippo Group — with a golden parachute of around $800,000 — to work for Commerce. Brown orders a top secret clearance for Huang. While at Commerce, Huang visits the White House about 70 times, is briefed 37 times by the CIA, views about 500 intelligence reports, and makes 281 calls to Lippo banks.

A federal judge issues a fine for a quarter million dollars because, “The Executive Branch of the government, working in tandem, was dishonest with this court.” At issue is the composition of Hillary Clinton’s health task force, a body stacked with those from the medical industry who would gain most from its faux reforms.

Number of times Hillary Clinton says “I don’t recall” or its equivalent in a statement to a House investigating committee: 50. Number of paragraphs in this statement: 42

Starr decides not to pursue the FBI file matter after an investigation that included a nine-minute interview with HRC over tea and coffee. FBI Director Louis Freeh calls the handling of the FBI tapes an “egregious violation of privacy . . . without justification.”

“Mr. Starr also botched the investigation into the White House’s illicit use of confidential FBI files on 900 Republican opponents. He used FBI agents to probe misconduct involving the FBI itself. Needless to say, they came up empty handed. A civil suit on behalf of the victims has since uncovered evidence that the purloined files were part of a campaign of political espionage ordered by Hillary Clinton herself. The dirt in the files, including raw data on congressional leaders, was fed into computers.

Presumably it was later used for blackmail, or fed to media surrogates for the systematic smearing of Republicans.” — Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, London Telegraph.

After quitting the Justice Department and before going to jail, Hubbell is a busy man. He meets with Hillary Clinton, and follows up by getting together with major scandal figures John Huang, James Riady, and Ng Lapseng. Riady and Huang go to the White House every day from June 21 to June 25, 1994 according to White House records. Hubbell has breakfast and lunch with Riady on June 23. Four days later — and one week after Hubbell’s meeting with Hillary — the Hong Kong Chinese Bank, jointly owned by Lippo and the Chinese intelligence services, send $100,000 to Hubbell.

“Through discovery in its civil lawsuit against the Clinton Commerce Department, Judicial Watch also has found evidence that President Clinton condoned and participated in a scheme, conceived by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and approved by the President, to sell seats on U.S. Department of Commerce trade missions in exchange for political contributions. ~~~ In addition to the illegal sale of taxpayer financed services, such as seats on trade missions, for political contributions, the President and Mrs. Clinton have illegally solicited and received monies directly from private citizens and others. The creation and use of legal defense funds is not only prohibited under federal law, but they have proved to be a means whereby lobbyists, influence peddlers and foreign powers have tried to influence the Administration, contrary to U.S. national security interests. In sum, Judicial Watch has uncovered a pattern of conduct by this President and his agents that indicates he has run, in effect, a criminal enterprise from the White House to obtain and maintain hold on the Office of the President of the United States. Indeed, he is likely in violation of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). ” — Judicial Watch

“Communist Party cadres should study the speeches of Hillary Clinton because she offers a very good example of the skills of propaganda. Her sentences are short and stimulating. That’s why she gets a lot of applause. But Chinese people have a habit of giving long speeches in which the sentences are long and tedious.” — Yu Quanyu, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Studies, in Ideological and Political Work Studies.

Former White House FBI agent Gary Aldrich reports that Hillary Clinton told the Secret Service agents in public to “stay the fuck back, stay the fuck away from me! Don’t come within ten yards of me or else!” When her guards have argued with her, she had said, “Just fucking do as I say, okay?”

Hillary Clinton and David Watkins move to oust the White House travel office in favor of World Wide Travel, Clinton’s source of $1 million in fly-now- pay-later campaign trips. The White House fires seven long-term employees for alleged mismanagement and kickbacks. The director, Billy Dale, charged with embezzlement in the HRC-organized frame-up, will be acquitted in less than two hours by the jury.

White House-assigned FBI agent Gary Aldrich agrees to help trim the Christmas tree in the Blue Room. Aldrich is surprised to find a small clay ornament of 12-lords-aleaping. Among the things that were aleaping on the 12 lords are their erections. Also provided by Hillary Clinton and her staff: ornaments made of drug paraphernalia such as syringes and roach clips, three French hens in a menage á trois, two turtle doves fornicating, five golden rings attached to a gingerbread man’s ear, nipple, belly button, nose, and penis.

Hillary Clinton’s attempts to conceal the fact that she had $120,000 of editorial help in preparing a book-like substance.

Billing records documenting HRC’s work on the Castle Grande development scam are discovered in the family quarters of the White House. HRC says she has no idea how they got there.

Judicial Watch sues Hillary Clinton in a $90 million lawsuit on behalf of the 900 persons whose FBI files were taken by the White House. She is also a defendant in a shareholder suit filed against Loral and others over the sale of slots on public trade missions. The FBI files case is expected to reach trial next year.


A Clinton Scandal Primer

24 Jul

By John Wilson

Below is a guide to the Clinton scandals:

I’ve already written about the corruption issue as it relates to the current issue of earmarks. My primary reason for bringing up these scandals is because I think the same standards should be applied to all candidates (I’ll get to John McCain’s scandals later this year). If Barack Obama is going to be attacked for the very minor Rezko “scandal”, then Hillary Clinton deserves the same treatment for her involvement in many more scandals of far greater significance. The books by Carl Bernstein as well as Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta also provide useful (and often damning) information that the public hasn’t heard in the media coverage of the campaign.

Even Hillary Clinton’s appointment of Maggie Williams (a central figures in one of the Clinton scandals) as campaign manager prompted almost universal silence about the Clinton scandals. We need to re-examine the scandals of the Clinton Era involving Hillary for two basic reasons: 1) these scandals will not be forgotten by the press and the 527s in the general election, so they will become a campaign issue hurting Democrats; 2) these scandals may indicate what kind of administration Hillary Clinton will have, and the danger is that she may appoint people like Williams with this history of misconduct.

For each Clinton scandal (and I don’t pretend to cover every single one), I provide a short summary along with my judgment of how serious the scandal was, and the degree of Hillary Clinton’s involvement in it (on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest scandal).

Johnny Chung Fundraising Scandal

Level of Scandal: 2

Hillary Clinton’s Involvement: 9

Johnny Chung gave $366,000 to the Democratic National Committee, and Hillary Clinton’s office was his strongest defender under Hillary’s chief of staff Maggie Williams. Williams declared, “This is the one office where I can run it the way I want to,” and she gave Chung remarkable privileges during Chung’s 51 visits to the White House, including signed photographs with the first lady and the privilege to eat on her tab at the White House Mess. Williams testified, A prime example of his … misguided behavior was his persistent request to give money directly to Mrs. Clinton. On more than one occasion, I told Mr. Chung this was not possible, although his offer was much appreciated. However, Williams’ aide Evan Ryan directly told Chung that the DNC owed the White House $80,000 for a Christmas party and asked for a donation to help pay off the debt. Chung personally gave Williams inside the White House a $50,000 check for the DNC. Two days later, Chung brought in a group of Chinese businessmen into the Oval Office to watch Bill Clinton deliver his radio address, and have their picture taken with him. Chung pled guilty to election law violations for his illegal fund-raising.

Conclusion: The announcement on February 10, 2008 that Maggie Williams would become the new campaign manager for Hillary Clinton was a particularly shocking example of the influence-peddling that Hillary is willing to tolerate. Maggie Williams was Hillary’s chief of staff as First Lady, and in that role Williams was deeply involved in an especially sleazy aspect of the Clinton Administration. Chung summarized his view of the Clinton Administration this way: The White House is like a subway — you have to put in coins to open the gates.

Cattle Futures Trading

Level of Scandal: 2 (5 for cover-up)

Hillary’s involvement: 10

Wikipedia summary: “In 1978 and 1979, lawyer and First Lady of Arkansas Hillary Rodham engaged in a series of trades of cattle futures contracts. Her initial $1,000 investment generated nearly $100,000 when she stopped trading after ten months….At one point she owed in excess of $100,000 to Refco as part of covering losses, but no margin calls were made by Refco against her…..In 1995, economists from Auburn University and University of North Florida ran a statistical computer model against a record of Rodham’s trades, factoring in Wall Street Journal market data from the time, and concluded in an article published in the Journal of Economics and Statistics that there was only a 1 in 250 million chance that Rodham could have made the profits she did legitimately.”

Conclusion: There’s no evidence that Hillary Clinton realized that she must have been getting some preferential treatment in order to benefit her and her husband financially. But she’s not dumb enough to think that people make free money like this without risk. That’s why she tried to conceal these facts. In 1992, Hillary personally warned staffers not to talk about the tax returns showing her profits, and the Clintons tax returns were only revealed up to 1980. The campaign successfully created a fake cover story to explain the jump in net worth, falsely telling reporters that it was a gift from Hillary’s parents.(Gerth and Van Natta, p. 114-5) The fact that the Clintons currently refuse to reveal their tax returns strongly suggests they have something to hide, considering that their history of selective concealment of tax information to prevent scandalous information from coming out.


Level of Scandal: 1 for scandal (7 for cover-up)

Hillary Clinton’s Involvement: 9

In 1993: “May 19: The White House fires seven employees of its Travel Office, following a review by Associate Counsel William Kennedy III, a former member of the Rose Law Firm. Mr. Kennedy’s actions, which included attempts to involve the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service in a criminal investigation of the Travel Office, are sharply criticized.”

Conclusion: The Travel Office firings were inept and misguided, but never a huge scandal. Hillary actually wanted to show her good government credentials by cleaning up the questionable activities of the White House Travel Office, never realizing that the workers had close relations to the media. I believe Hillary had only good intentions, even though the fact that Arkansas buddies taking over the office made it seem like a patronage issue. But the key fact is that Hillary lied under oath (or came perilously close) in denying any involvement in the firings. The independent counsel concluded, “The evidence is sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Mrs. Clinton had a ‘role’ in the Travel Office firings and that she had ‘input’ into that decision. Her testimony to the contrary was factually false.” Hillary could have easily been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, but proving that she knowingly lied was difficult, and Hillary was never the main target of the investigations, so they gave her a break. Still, the scandal shows Hillary’s managerial ineptitude and her propensity to deny responsibility.


Level of Scandal: 5

Hillary Clinton’s Involvement: 1

From wikipedia: “In March 2000, Bill Clinton pardoned Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, owners of the carnival company United Shows International, for charges of bank fraud from a 1982 conviction (the couple were already out of jail, but the prior conviction prevented them from doing business transactions in certain states). First Lady Hillary Clinton’s youngest brother, Tony Rodham, was an acquaintance of the Gregorys, and had lobbied Clinton on their behalf. In October 2006, the group Judicial Watch filed a request with the U.S. Justice Department for an investigation, alleging that Rodham had received $107,000 from the Gregorys for the pardons, in the form of loans that were never repaid, as part of a quid pro quo scheme….Almon Glenn Braswell was pardoned of his mail fraud and perjury convictions, even while a federal investigation was underway regarding additional money laundering and tax evasion charges. Braswell and Carlos Vignali each paid approximately $200,000 to Hillary Clinton’s brother, Hugh Rodham, to represent their respective cases for clemency. Hugh Rodham returned the payments after they were disclosed to the public.”

“Marc Rich, a fugitive, was pardoned of tax evasion….Critics complained that Denise Rich, his former wife, had made substantial donations to the Clinton library and to Mrs. Clinton’s senate campaign….According to Paul Volcker’s independent investigation of Iraqi Oil-for-Food kickback schemes, Marc Rich was a middleman for several suspect Iraqi oil deals involving over 4 million barrels of oil.”

Conclusion: Bill Clinton’s abuse of his pardon power disgusted nearly everyone, but there’s no clear evidence of Hillary Clinton’s involvement. Still, it’s hard to believe that she knew absolutely nothing about what her husband was doing on behalf of her brother and one of her major donors.


Level of Scandal: 1

Hillary Clinton’s Involvement: 5

According to Wikipedia: “The Whitewater controversy was the focus of media attention from the publication of a New York Times report during the 1992 presidential campaign, and throughout her time as First Lady. The Clintons had lost their late-1970s investment in the Whitewater Development Corporation; at the same time, their partners in that investment, Jim and Susan McDougal, operated Madison Guaranty, a savings and loan institution that retained the legal services of Rose Law Firm, and may have been improperly subsidizing Whitewater losses. Madison Guaranty later failed, and Clinton’s work at Rose was scrutinized for a possible conflict of interest in representing the bank before state regulators that her husband had appointed; she claimed she had done minimal work for the bank. Independent counsels Robert Fiske and Kenneth Starr subpoenaed Clinton’s legal billing records; she claimed to be unable to produce these records. The records were found in the First Lady’s White House book room after a two-year search, and delivered to investigators in early 1996.”

Conclusion: Ultimately, the Whitewater scandal is not about a failed investment; it’s about McDougal using his influence with the Clintons to get preferential treatment for a failing bank. It’s possible (but ultimately unproven) that Hillary did try to cover up billing records that embarrassed her. They showed that either she was lying about her involvement in the legal work that included the Castle Grande transaction which “were quickly found to be a sham meant to hide from bank examiners that Madison was breaking federal lending rules”(p. 161), or (the most likely case) she was padding her billing on the case in order to make more money for work she didn’t do. As Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta conclude, “her invoices were undocumented, inaccurate, or padded.”(p. 162)


Level of Scandal: 1

Hillary’s Involvement: 10

Wikipedia summary: “In 1993, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, along with several other groups, filed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and Donna Shalala over closed-door meetings related to the health care plan. The AAPS sued to gain access to the list of members of the task force. Judge Royce C. Lamberth found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $285,864 to the AAPS for legal costs; Lamberth also harshly criticized the Clinton administration and Clinton aide Ira Magaziner in his ruling. Subsequently, a federal appeals court overturned the award and the initial findings on the basis that Magaziner and the administration had not acted in bad faith.”

Conclusion: Hillary Clinton’s secrecy about her health-care plan reflects a troubling tendency to avoid public disclosure. It probably wasn’t illegal, but it hurt the effort to pass health care reform.

Rose Law Firm

Level of Scandal: 1

Hillary Clinton’s Involvement: 10

Wikipedia summary: “Clinton continued to practice law with the Rose Law Firm while she was First Lady of Arkansas. She earned less than all the other partners, due to fewer hours being billed, but still made over $200,000 in her final year there. She continued to rarely do trial work, but was considered a rainmaker at the firm for bringing in clients, partly due to the prestige she lent the firm and to her corporate board connections. She was also very influential in the appointment of state judges. Bill Clinton’s Republican opponent in his 1986 gubernatorial re-election campaign accused the Clintons of conflict of interest, because Rose Law did state business; the Clintons deflected the charge by saying that state fees were walled off by the firm before her profits were calculated.”

Conclusion: It’s not reasonable to expect the governor’s wife to give up her law practice to avoid contact with anyone doing state business. Still, Hillary clearly had some questionable dealings, and falsely promoted the idea that her profits were walled off from the start. Also, the disappearance of Rose Law records about her legal work (the surface a few days after the statute of limitations on fraud expired) raises serious questions.

Vince Foster Records

Level of Scandal: 1

Hillary Clinton’s Involvement: 8

In 1993, “July 20: The Little Rock FBI obtains a warrant to search the office of David Hale as part of its investigation into Capital Management Services. In Washington, Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster drives to Ft. Marcy Park and commits suicide. That evening, White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, Clinton aide Patsy Thomasson, and Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff Maggie Williams visit Mr. Foster’s office. According to testimony by a uniformed Secret Service officer, Ms. Williams exits the counsel’s suite with an armful of folders.”

Conclusion: Obviously, the conspiracy nuts who think Vince Foster was murdered are idiots, but Hillary did try to block investigators from seeing all the records in Foster’s office, and there is evidence that her current campaign manager, Maggie Williams, removed records from his office.

Summary: I don’t consider any of these Clinton scandals, alone or taken together, to be a disqualifying scandal that should prevent her from becoming president. I don’t even think these scandals are the primary reasons why people shouldn’t vote for Clinton in the 2008 primaries. However, many of these scandals do include real components that show very bad judgment on the part of Hillary Clinton. They are, at the very least, relevant information that the public deserves to know about before they cast a vote.