Behold: The Clinton Empire

Look on their works, ye mighty, and despair

They're not in the politics business. They're in the empire business. (AP)
• July 30, 2014 2:33 pm


This is what a global political empire looks like.

The Washington Examiner reports that Bill Clinton earned $48 million—from speeches and consulting deals—during his wife’s tenure as secretary of state. A number of those speeches were funded by powerful business and political entities with a clear interest in influencing U.S. policy, yet the State Department did not object to any of them, despite policies intended to prevent "potential or actual conflicts of interest."

For example, the Examiner investigation found that Clinton made more than $2 million for a total of eight speeches in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Much of the funding for the speeches came from wealthy investors with close ties to the governments in those countries.

Organizations linked to those countries have also donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and other projects backed by the former president.

Saudi Arabia, for example, was a key Clinton benefactor. The oil-producing giant has had a relationship with the Clintons dating back to Bill Clinton's time as governor of Arkansas.

In 1992, while running for president, then-Gov. Clinton secured a $3.5 million Saudi donation for a Middle East studies program at the University of Arkansas.

A few weeks after Clinton was inaugurated president, the Saudis kicked in another $20 million. Both deals were brokered by a close Clinton friend, David Edwards. […]

UAE-linked entities also have donated at least $2.7 to $11.5 million to the Clinton Foundation, and Egyptian entities have donated at least $250,000 to $750,000.

State Department officials did not object to any of these speaking engagements in the Arab world, although they did intervene against a proposed consultancy deal between Clinton and Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media mogul, due to the fact that Saban was "actively involved in foreign affairs issues, particularly with regards to the Middle East, which is a priority area for the secretary."

China was another priority country for Secretary Clinton. During his wife's time at the State Department, Bill Clinton gave four speeches in China or funded by Chinese entities, earning $1.7 million. Organizations with ties to China have donated at least $750,000, and likely much more than that, to the Clinton Foundation. The former president earned $1 million for three speeches financed by Turkish sponsors, as well as $625,000 for two speeches in Russia, including one to a Russian investment bank.

It's hard to think of a more savvy investment for foreign entities hoping to curry favor with the former first couple who may find themselves back in the White House in 2017. Remember when liberals were so concerned about foreign influence in our democracy? "I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities," President Obama said in his 2010 State of the Union address. This spurious claim was promoted by the Center for American Progress, an organization founded by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. Surely they will be just as concerned about the foreign funds filling the Clintons' already massive coffers.