by Michael Adams
WASHINGTON D.C.- As the Democratic Primaries draw to a close, new information on the dubious sources from which Hillary Clinton has drawn funding are beginning to emerge, casting doubt on how much of her rhetoric from this election cycle she actually intends to stick to.
According to all sensible interpretations of reality, Hillary Clinton has all but locked up the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton now has a total of 2,800 delegates, 2,219 of them pledged delegated and 581 superdelegates; 417 more than the 2,383 she needs for the nomination. Bernie Sanders has 1,881 delegates, and couldn’t even win in a world where the 84 remaining each had two votes to cast. The two Democratic candidates met recently to discuss their plan for the coming months, and they have both agreed to work together. Recent polls for the general election show Clinton’s formerly slim lead growing larger by the day, and the gap between her and Trump with both male and white voters closing steadily. If all goes according to plan for the Democrats, she will be the 45th President of the United States.
Hillary Clinton’s presumptive lead in the generals, however encouraging it may be for the party, is also slim, which is why this latest batch of controversies could prove particularly troublesome. According to The Daily Caller, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State from 2010 to 2013, the non-profit Clinton Foundation received almost $17.7 million in donations from foreign governments. These donations were hidden from the foundation’s tax releases until a later revision took place. The donations were filed through an obscure public charity board for New York State, and have garnered criticism across the political spectrum for the obvious conflict of interest that could stem from the nation’s highest ranking diplomat being indebted to foreign governments.
The identity of the specific governments who donated to the foundation has not been released, but it should be noted that the recently circulated claims that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia claimed his government contributed 20% of her campaign funds have been debunked and refuted as an attempt by hackers to spread misinformation. Even without that, however, the confirmed donations Clinton received from 20 foreign governments that relied on her approval to export weapons calls her political judgment into question. While twenty percent is certainly an overestimate, the Wall Street Journal reported last year that the government of Saudi Arabia has donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation since it was created in 1999. Capitalizing on the recent intrigue into her campaign financing, Donald Trump has demanded that Clinton return the money she received from the Saudis, saying that accepting this money in the first place was an act of hypocrisy. “Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation,” Trump said, “want women as slaves and to kill gays.” After recently calling out the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait for not doing enough to prevent their citizens from funding extremist organizations after the shooting in Orlando, her latest financial entanglement seems to have landed her in hot water. Billing herself as the candidate of women’s rights and LGBT rights and receiving money from governments that punish homosexuality and deny women the right to vote are positions that don’t exactly mix well.
It is important to note the difference between the Clinton Foundation, which uses its funding to help cities fight climate change and aid developing nations, among other things, and the Clinton campaign itself, so as to avoid conflating the two. The Foundation was created by Bill Clinton, and in truth has much more to do with him than his wife. The Saudi government in particular is also the most generous country on the planet in terms of charitable donations, routinely giving money to such organizations as UNCIEF and the Yemeni Red Crescent Society. Still, the ties to Hillary Clinton are there, and are still troubling for anybody who wishes to see her as a champion of civil rights.
As former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne prepares to release Crisis of Character, his tell-all book on the Clintons and their demeanor in the White House that promises to shed light on Hillary’s “erratic, uncontrollable and occasionally violent” personality, now is not the time when she needs to have another scandal brewing. Byrne is a 29 year veteran of the military law enforcement, and was posted outside the Oval Office during Bill Clinton’s presidency. He claims that Clinton “simply lacks the integrity and temperament to serve in office,” and while her campaign attempts to downgrade the testimonies he has collected to a sensationalist grab for book sales, what little of the book has been revealed does seem to corroborate the stories of other Secret Service agents who have served under Clinton. Crisis of Character is currently #1 on the list of Amazon bestsellers.
Controversy seems to have become the norm for Clinton and her campaign in recent months. It has characterized both sides of this election cycle, and given the whole affair the feel of a reality show. Whatever may come in the general election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it seems safe to say it will at least be entertaining.
Featured Image: Clinton Testifying on the Benghazi Embassy Attack to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Source: Jason Reed, Reuters