While it is true that George Stephanopoulos should have been more forthright and disclosed his donations to the Clinton foundation before doing an interview with a lying hack who was peddling nonsense, the mudslingers on the radical right wing of the GOP that were hoping this would be the “smoking gun” that brings the Clintons down are going to be sorely disappointed.
Really at the heart of why this isn’t a scandal is what we have known all along — specifically that the Clinton Foundation is simply one of the best large charitable organizations around. As correctrecord.com showed, praise for the organization comes from across the political spectrum (sans maybe the Tea People and other radical GOPers) even in this toxic political age.
- Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax: “There’s a good reason why he pledged a seven-figure donation to the Clinton Foundation. ‘I really like what he does,’ says Ruddy, referring to Clinton Foundation name partner and former president Bill Clinton… In a phone call with the ex-president last week, Ruddy says he explained, ‘I’m proud of what you’re doing, and I don’t care what they say on Fox News.’” [Washington Post, 2/23/15]
- John McCain: “Let me also congratulate you, Mr. President, on the great work of the Clinton Global Initiative. It says a lot about a man that after 12 years as a governor, and another eight years at the Resolute desk, he is still working hard in service to others.” [McCain remarks, 9/25/08; video]
- Mitt Romney: “The Clinton Global Initiative has also demonstrated the effectiveness of entrepreneurship and social enterprise. You endeavor to not only comfort the afflicted, but to also change lives [through] freedom, free enterprise, and the incomparable dignity of work.” [Romney remarks to CGI, Wall Street Journal, 9/25/12; Video]
- Fox News’ Doug Schoen: Speaking about the Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, Schoen said, “A lot of very good work has been done. I helped in Ukraine with the health initiative… that has literally saved thousands of lives.” [Fox News’ Fox Report Sunday, 2/22/15]
- Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers: Referring to Hillary Clinton’s work with the Clinton Foundation, she said, “They have done a whole lot of good work. In fact, they’ve actually done real job creation with union pension funds where we have worked together to try to rebuild our infrastructure, try to create jobs, and try to have good, you know, returns on the money. And she’s also done a lot of work in terms of early childhood.” [MSNBC’s The Ed Show, 2/23/15]
- Elizabeth Warren: “Earlier this month, Warren sent out a fundraising email on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic foundation run by former President Bill Clinton.” [MassLive, 12/24/12]
Beyond that, where this faux ‘scandal’ really disintegrates is when you “follow the money.” Not only has the aforementioned Ruddy from Newsmax donated in the 1-5 million dollar (plus) range, there are other conservative media that donate to the foundation, as well. The notion that donating is some “pay to play” front operation is simply ridiculous when you look at all the conflicting agendas of the donor list. While the Clintons certainly are masters of the arts of compromise and “triangulating” different sides to a common goal, even this list would make appeasement an impossibility. To take it a step further, who here thinks that Stephanopoulos’s 75k was pulling the strings versus the kind of cash these big right wing names were sending the charity?
Media Matters gave a sampling of some of their more high profile and politically distant donors:
- Newsmax Media, Inc. The media company, which has billed itself as operating the “#1 Conservative Site in the Nation,” has made donations to the Clinton Foundation of between $100,001 to $250,000 and between $1,000,001 to $5,000,000.
- Donald J. Trump. Trump, a perennial-potential Republican presidential candidate, donated between $100,001 to $250,000 to the foundation.
- Richard M. Scaife. The late Scaife, who published the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, was described as “one of America’s leading funders of conservative causes.” He donated between $250,001 to $500,000 to the foundation.
- News Corporation Foundation. The foundation for News Corp., which is headed by Rupert Murdoch and was formerly the parent company of Fox News, donated between $500,001 to $1,000,000 to the foundation.
- James R. Murdoch. Murdoch, the co-chief operating officer of Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox, and son of Rupert Murdoch, donated between $1,000,001 to $5,000,000.
In addition to that, Media Matters pointed out many key conservative leaders including former POTUS candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney, and current hopeful Carly Fiorina, as well as “maybe running” Chris Christie:
Many Republican Party-affiliated individuals have attended and supported Clinton Foundation-affiliated events, including the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meetings. They include former first lady Laura Bush, Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch, former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, Republican billionaire T. Boone Pickens, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Bush Treasury secretaryHank Paulson, and former first daughter Barbara Bush.
So again, while George Stephanopoulos should have disclosed his donations (where this whole hub-bub started) and should be given 40 lashes with a wet noodle, once again there is no “Clinton scandal.” All that remains is only the typical hollow charges from the usual suspects over on the far right. Ironically, it is their fellow conservatives that prove the case against them so definitively.
Big surprise, huh?
Featured image via screen capture