BY: Andrew Stiles
The Wall Street Journal reports on yet another shady connection between Hillary Clinton, a major foreign corporation, and the Clinton Foundation. Here is the gist:
A few weeks after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, she was summoned to Geneva by her Swiss counterpart to discuss an urgent matter. The Internal Revenue Service was suing UBS AG to get the identities of Americans with secret accounts.
If the case proceeded, Switzerland’s largest bank would face an impossible choice: Violate Swiss secrecy laws by handing over the names, or refuse and face criminal charges in U.S. federal court.
Within months, Mrs. Clinton announced a tentative legal settlement—an unusual intervention by the top U.S. diplomat. UBS ultimately turned over information on 4,450 accounts, a fraction of the 52,000 sought by the IRS, an outcome that drew criticism from some lawmakers who wanted a more extensive crackdown.
From that point on, UBS’s engagement with the Clinton family’s charitable organization increased. Total donations by UBS to the Clinton Foundation grew from less than $60,000 through 2008 to a cumulative total of about $600,000 by the end of 2014, according the foundation and the bank.
UBS also paid Bill Clinton $1.5 million to take part in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS executives around the country, which, according to the Journal, makes UBS “his biggest single corporate source of speech income disclosed since he left the White House.”
The paper dutifully notes that “there is no evidence of any link” between Hillary’s involvement in the tax case and the bank’s donations to the Clinton Foundation. No smoking gun, and whatnot. In a press conference Thursday, Hillary Clinton dismissed the implications of the story as “categorically false,” saying: “This is just the kind of unfortunate claim or charge that you see in campaigns.
But in order to believe there is anything other than a direct link between Hillary’s efforts and the bank’s donations, one must harbor a view of both politicians and Wall Street that is almost unhealthily idealistic.This is especially true for Hillary’s liberal supporters, who will shrug this off (no smoking gun!) despite their repeated insistence that Wall Street banks are almost always up to no good and have essentially bought off the (Republican) political class. Mitt Romney caught a lot of grief for at one point having a Swiss bank account. Hillary will catch no such grief for personally helping a Swiss bank (and its super-rich American accountholders) avoid scrutiny from the IRS.
It’s also the sort of scandal that would, on its own, make any other candidate look bad. But for someone like Hillary, it is merely another drop in the massive bucket of shady dealings, the sheer volume of which, ironically, somehow dilutes the political impact, perhaps because the sketchiness is already baked into her candidacy. It won’t help her polls numbers when it comes to honest and trustworthiness among voters, but in the end that might not even matter. Nothing matters.Read Less