Op-Ed: Washington, District of Cash

“Political Corruption is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain.”

You’ve heard it here from the Google definition  for “governmental corruption.” Does this sound familiar?

When Hillary and Bill Clinton left the White house in 2001, Hillary said that they were “not only dead broke, but in debt.”

Today, the couple’s net worth totals $111 million, according to their financial disclosures. That sum is broken down as $31.3 million for Hillary and $80 million for Bill. Not bad for 15 years of work!

Still, the sum in the power couple’s personal bank account amounts to a foundational rounding error. The valuation of Hillary and Bill’s “Clinton Foundation” commitments is currently at $13.6 billion, according to their website. But when the line between personal achievement and charity is so expertly blended as this, who can tell?

Douglas Band is a former Clinton Foundation fundraiser and key player, and I will delve into his story later this article. In the past, he accused former first daughter Chelsea Clinton of paying for her $1 million wedding, along with general life expenses, for “over a decade” with Clinton Foundation funds. The Foundation is already famous for its high overhead, exorbitant salaries, and luxury airline travel, costing $20 million to annually operate. Most non-profits, due to their charitable priorities, fly commercially.

With the exception of a book, what products have the Clinton’s sold to accumulate such a massive sum? I can assure you, Hillary Clinton’s six figure speeches to corporate investment banks, which she refuses to disclose, do not include her comments on economic forecasts or underwriting strategies. So do they sell widgets? No, they have sold their political influence to make themselves fabulously wealthy, and seeing it is common sense.

Back to Band. Recently, the Clinton employee wrote a 12-page memo that did two things. Band’s impetus was to justify his position between his personal consulting business and his charitable fundraising for the Clinton Foundation, but in doing so he articulated the unorthodox and sketchy business model that may be used to testify against the Clinton family with the Public Corruption branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The controversial memo outlines the Clinton Foundation’s model and the absurdity of the Clinton’s cash nexus. In fact, at no point in Doug Band’s fundraising role justification is general charitable goodwill mentioned. The memo admits, now to the general public, that the Clinton family’s ostensible Clinton Foundation is all but a means to be an unregistered super PAC—companies donate to the foundation while simultaneously paying Bill Clinton as much as possible for speeches and honorary positions.

Band said that he “leveraged” his activities to convince foundation donors to also hire Bill Clinton personally for speeches. The memo included examples: Barclays, a British bank, paid Bill $700,000 for 2 speeches. UBS, a Swiss bank, agreed to pay Bill $960,000 in 2011 with $450,000 to pay later. Ericson agreed to pay $750,000 for a speech and $400,000 for a private plane. In all, Band individually helped secure for Bill Clinton over $50 million in for-profit activity.

If you think that it’s fishy for corporations to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for speech content, you’re right.

Any Ole Miss accounting major knows that tax and anti-corruption law requires individuals to keep separate for-profit and not-for-profit activities.

Transfer money to Bill Clinton, the husband of a presidential hopeful and patriarch of the most powerful family in American politics, write “speech” or “campaign donation” in the memo of the check, and bribery is legal.

Not only is the Clinton Foundation a means to enrich the Clintons’ themselves, but it is also a nifty way to dole out political influence. The patristic Clinton Foundation, with Chelsea Vice-Chair and Bill a director on the board, disperses its charity funds to various select charitable causes—headed by friends, clients, or those who they could influence—and then, frankly, no one knows what happens. Clinton Foundation Audit Reports highlight the ambiguity of the subsequent transfers of money and the lack of internal controls in the organizational structure.

This is not accepted in other civilized western countries. How would these countries view their major political party nominee whose spouse has accepted millions of dollars in payments and donations from foreign banks?

For “liberals” or “conservatives,” with their respective worldviews, we should all be concerned. Her corrupt habits are oppressive and will characterize her White House tenure.

Soon, we have an election about which many things scare many people. As a rule, though, we can have zero tolerance for corruption with our leading officials.

The behavior between the Clinton family and their foundation resembles the antics of Huey Long or Edwin Edwards, but it is under the guise of charity and on a much bigger scale.

Op-Eds do not reflect the views of The Ole Miss or the University of Mississippi. For any concerns, please contact managing@theolemissyearbook.com.

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