Bill Clinton has said that, if Hillary Clinton is elected president, the Clinton Foundation, i.e., the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, will no longer accept foreign or corporate contributions. It is unclear whether this policy will go in effect on Election Day (or whenever former Secretary Clinton wins states with 270 electoral votes) or only when she is inaugurated. However, the question is: Why the delay? Secretary Clinton is the odds-on favorite to be elected president. If the purpose of the new policy is to avoid the “perception that Clinton Foundation donors could benefit from her administration’s official actions,” shouldn’t the policy start now? It would seem to me that a contribution made now has the same perception as one made on January 21 of next year. Unless what the Foundation is really looking for is a surge in contributions from countries and corporations that want to be well thought of once Secretary Clinton is in office.1
The whole question brings to mind President Obama’s criticism of the Citizens United decision in his State of the Union address in 2010. The President, in that classy way he is so famous for, ripped into the Supreme Court’s decision with the Supreme Court justices sitting right in front of him, unable to respond to him or to the cheers of the Democratic legislators. In his complaints on Citizens United, the President said that the decision would allow foreign corporations to make contributions to federal campaigns. This was, of course, wrong. The decision did no such thing, and in fact, the Court specifically said it was not doing that. Still, the President said it.
And this doesn’t even take into consideration that, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation took contributions from foreign governments when it had said it wouldn’t do so, and it did not notify the State Department of contributions when it said it would do so. [Here and here.]
At least this time, nobody who votes for Secretary Clinton can claim they are “shocked – shocked” when the traditional Clinton ethics issues start popping up.
1 When Hillary Clinton was running for president in 2007-08, she famously denied that the “surge” in Iraq and change in strategy, to David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency plan, was working. This may be a surge, however, that she believes in.
2 Which, as I said, wasn’t true (which cannot be emphasized often enough). But for these purposes, it is what he said that counts.