State Department opened to corporate donors, fundraisers
One of the favorite opposition tactics of operatives on both sides of the aisle is to present the actions of a politician in an out-of-context format. It’s effective; you want that first public reaction to your enemy’s various foibles and power plays to sprout from a place of distrust.
This is why, even in 2015 when we have candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz who, at least on the surface, don’t give a damn what the opposition has to say, operatives are so careful to advise their clients about how this looks. It’s not fair, but it’s important.
Hillary Clinton, by and large, has broken every rule in the book covering how this looks. The woman has spent a great deal of valuable campaign time defending her tenure as Secretary of State as it relates to the Benghazi attacks, defending her use of a private, unsecured email server, and defending the Clinton Foundation’s financial practices, when she could have saved herself a lot of trouble if she would have bothered to care about public perception from the get-go.
The Associated Press has obtained calendars used during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State that show she opened her office to Democratic party fundraisers, former Clinton administration and campaign allies, and corporate donors to the family’s Foundation. According to the AP, these meetings were “formally scheduled” and many of them occurred between Clinton and power players seeking to influence Obama Administration policy. What she did was not out of the ordinary, but it does fall into her pattern of doing exactly as she pleases while assuming a zero-consequences end game.
More via Fox News:
But the difference with Clinton’s meetings was that she was a 2008 presidential contender who was widely expected to run again in 2016. Her availability to luminaries from politics, business and charity shows the extent to which her office became a sounding board for their interests. And her ties with so many familiar faces from those intersecting worlds were complicated by their lucrative financial largess and political support over the years — even during her State Department tenure — to her campaigns, her husband’s and to her family’s foundation.
In its response to detailed questions from the AP, the Clinton campaign did not address the issue of the candidate’s frequent meetings with corporate and political supporters during her State Department tenure. Instead, campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said “Secretary Clinton turned over all of her work emails, 55,000 pages of them, and asked that they be released to the public.áSome of that will include her schedules.áWe look forward to the rest of her emails being released so people can have a greater window into her work at the department.”
The State Department turned the Clinton calendars over to AP under the federal Freedom of Information Act earlier this month after censoring many meeting entries for privacy reasons or to protect internal deliberations. The State Department’s release of Clinton emails has so far turned up at least 155 planning schedules, called “mini schedules,” but they account for about only 7 percent of the 1,159 days covered by those email releases.
Merrill said Clinton was not sent the planning “mini-schedules” every day or when she traveled, “which would account for why you see some on some days and not on others.”
I’m not going to sit here and say that the various cabinet officials and other political leaders aren’t allowed to have lives during their time of service; it would be foolish of us to accept these calendars as hard evidence of more unethical behavior. Clinton is allowed to meet with whomever she likes; the problem lies in (as the Fox article describes above) the context in which these meetings happened.
Most politicians would at least attempt to be discreet if they were meeting with a big money donor—especially if that politician were running for President—even if the meeting doesn’t even rub up against an ethical violation. Most people would care how it looked to other donors, voters, or even the person who made their appointment. Most people wouldn’t want to look like a scumbag.
We’ve seen how Clinton reacts to pushback and criticism—what difference does it make?! Not only does she believe that she should be able to do exactly as she pleases, she also believes that having to explain what happened—even in a non-adversarial context—is both unreasonable and insulting.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t care. Hillary Clinton believes she is Teflon—and that’s why she’s so dangerous. What are we going to do about it?
At this point, the answer to that question isn’t clear.
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