For Hillary Clinton, the whispers of scandal and impropriety are nothing new: it has been the norm for all of her (and her husband’s) career. Recently, though, the newest issue that seems to be tripping up Hillary and her campaign are the accusations of “pay to play” with reports saying that the Clinton Foundation has taken millions of dollars from foreign governments and entities and then granting access and performing favors for these donors while Secretary of State. The State Department has actually now been ordered to release Clinton’s schedule from her time as Secretary of State before the November election, which could be used to show that access was indeed granted to those who donated to her and her husband’s foundation.
Following the breaking of this story, and then the subsequent criticism and calls from both sides of the aisle for Hillary Clinton to separate herself from the foundation if she is to be elected; it was announced last week that the Clinton Foundation will stop accepting donations from foreign governments and entities. Instead, the Clinton Foundation will only accept donations from American citizens and independent charities as well as having Bill and Chelsea Clinton step away from the Foundation for the duration of Hillary’s term. This brings up more than a few tough questions and issues, but there are a couple in particular that make it impossible for Hillary Clinton to be an impartial President and honest leader even if the foundation honors their pledge to not accept anymore foreign donations or even if it decides to shut down completely.
Firstly, if it is improper to accept foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary is President, which is what Clinton and her team are admitting by pledging to not accept any more foreign donations to the foundation during her possible Presidency, it obviously wasn’t proper for it to happen while she was at the State Department. It’s an admittance of, if not guilt, at least impropriety and brings into question just how much access was granted and how many State policies changed because of donations like these during her tenure as Secretary of State.
Secondly, deciding to now no longer accept foreign donations still doesn’t make for a transparent Presidency for Hillary. Her family’s Foundation, which claims to be a charity while rarely using more than 10% of donated funds for Foundation causes, has already accepted millions of dollars from both foreign (and in some cases unfriendly) governments and actors as well as the big bank and energy corporations that she claims to want to over-regulate and put out of business. Just because there won’t be more donations from these people, governments, and corporations in the near future doesn’t mean she does not feel beholden to them still. Hillary Clinton would be able to still impact policies and grant favors to previous donors with or without the Clinton Foundation’s new policy.
Finally, critics of Hillary Clinton and her campaign have called for the Clinton Foundation to practically be shut down altogether by stopping acceptance of any and all donations during Hillary Clinton’s Presidency, if she were to be elected. The problem with this, though, is that it is not outside the realm of possibility to imagine Hillary Clinton making a “gentleman’s agreement” with certain governments and actors that she will go ahead and grant them favors or change policies that benefit them in exchange for the promise of a large donation to the Clinton Foundation once she is out of office and the Foundation is up and running again. While I’m sure we, the American people, would all like to believe that no one, especially our President, would make shady deals like this, Hillary Clinton’s past record shows that it is at the very least possible and leaning towards probable.
At the end of the day, it is nearly impossible to separate the donations (and the implications that come with them) from Hillary Clinton and because of that her entire Presidency would be tainted with the idea of impropriety and corruption.