The Washington Post has produced
an enormous examination of the $3 billion that Bill and Hillary Clinton
have raised for political and philanthropic endeavors over their 41 years of seeking public office.
Reporters include Tom Hamburger, a former reporter for the Arkansas Gazette.
It's an encyclopedic look at the big givers they've cultivated over the years. Also the small. The sheer number of repeat contributors is enormous. And overall, the Post identified 336,000 contributors to one related organization or another. The article notes that the Bush family dynasty has accounted for "only" $2.4 billion in money raising despite more years in the presidency. However, you won't find a philanthropy in the Bush family that approaches the Clinton Foundation's global projects.
Philanthropic or not, the Clinton Foundation has been and will forever be inextricably tied with politics — sometimes fairly, sometimes not. No matter how worthy the work (HIV in Africa) or how distant the giver (the Dutch postal lottery) from direct political interests, the giving by foreign governments will be raised as a potential conflict of interest. The same for major givers, who rarely are without any political interests. The continued operation of the Clinton Foundation at its current level during another Clinton presidency seems a huge question given the inevitability of such questions. That reality probably is at the core of rumblings about the free-wheeling Clinton health initiative, run by Ira Magaziner, subject of reporting on internal friction in the New York Times this morning.
The Post article happens to make the point repeatedly that contributions aren't a guarantee of return. That was evident early on in Arkansas, when the labor-backed Clinton administration made temporary enemies of Arkansas Education Association members over teacher testing. The teachers are back on board today.
Among the dozens of people interviewed, you won't be surprised to learn that some of these very rich people just simply like the Clintons. They really like them. And not just the charismatic former president, but also the current candidate, with her seeming command of detail about everyone she's ever formed a relationship with.
Have some time? Check it out. Opponents will be connecting dots in it from now until November 2016.