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Is the foundation clean? Is it corrupt? Or is the truth in the muddy middle, where we so often find the Clintons? Due to the fact that Hillary Clinton chose to skirt federal regulations and house her State Department emails on an off-the-books server, even the most loyal Democrat can't honestly answer those questions without an independent vetting of her electronic correspondence.
Without those emails, we may never be able to follow the money. Could that be why she hasn't coughed up the server?
Disclosure: I've known and respected the Clintons since the 1980s, when I covered state politics for the Arkansas Democrat (now the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) and the Associated Press. Over the years, they've been kind to my family, and my career obviously benefited from their rise. Of all the public servants I've covered since moving to Washington in 1993, none approach the Clintons in terms of both strengths and weaknesses. While I've never called them corrupt (the Whitewater land deal was legitimate), I can tell you almost 30 years of stories about their entitlement, outsized victimization, and an aggravating belief in the ends justifying the means.
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Which is why I wasn't surprised when veteran Clinton chronicler Todd S. Purdum of Politco compared Hillary Clinton to Richard Nixon.
Not even Clinton's harshest critics could claim that Servergate (or Chappaquadata, or whatever it may come to be called) constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor. But it does connote a reflexive wariness about her enemies—a wariness that sometimes seems to border on paranoia—that has long dogged Clinton, and that struck at least a few old Nixon hands as familiar "...
"There is, of course," Purdum continued, "a bitter paradox in the fact that Clinton, as a young staffer on the House Judiciary Committee, actually worked on Nixon's impeachment."
I wonder what a young Hillary Clinton would think of a private charity run by a former U.S. president and a potential future president that collected hundreds of millions of dollars from countries and companies hoping to influence the pair. Actually, I don't wonder: She would think it smells.
And yet, a New York developer donated $100,000 to the foundation at about the same time Hillary Clinton helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the businessman's mall project.
An aide close enough to Bill Clinton to be considered a surrogate son, Doug Band, set up Teneo, a company that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd calls "a scammy blend of corporate consulting, public relations, and merchant banking." Band recruited clients from the foundation donor list while encouraging others to donate. "Its marketing materials highlighted Mr. Band's relationship with Mr. Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, where Mr. Band sat on the board of directors through 2011 and remains as an advisers," according to a 2013 New York Times exposé.