“Efforts to insulate the foundation from potential conflicts have highlighted just how difficult it can be to disentangle the Clintons’ charity work from Bill Clinton’s moneymaking ventures and Hillary Clinton’s political future,” Confessore and Chozick wrote.
The most egregious nest of conflicts was a firm founded by Doug Band called Teneo, a scammy blend of corporate consulting, public relations and merchant banking. Band, a surrogate son to Bill, put Huma, a surrogate daughter to Hillary, on the payroll. Even Big Daddy Bill was a paid adviser.
As The Times reported, Teneo worked on retainer, charging monthly fees up to $250,000 and recruiting clients from among Clinton Foundation donors, while encouraging others to become foundation donors. The Clintons distanced themselves from Teneo when they got scorched with bad publicity after the collapse of its client MF Global, the international brokerage firm led by the former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine.
And Chelsea is now shaping the foundation’s future, and her political future. So there may not be as much oxygen for her troublesome surrogate siblings.
As George Packer wrote in The New Yorker, Bill Clinton earned $17 million last year giving speeches, including one to a Lagos company for $700,000. Hillary gets $200,000 a speech.
Until Harry Truman wrote his memoirs, the ex-president struggled on an Army pension of $112.56 a month. “I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable,” he said, “that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency.”
So quaint, Packer wrote, observing, “The top of American life has become a very cozy and lucrative place, where the social capital of who you are and who you know brings unimaginable returns.”
The Clintons want to do big worthy things, but they also want to squeeze money from rich people wherever they live on planet Earth, insatiably gobbling up cash for politics and charity and themselves from the same incestuous swirl.