The Associated Press has revealed a new conflict-of-interest story involving the Clintons. Documents show that during the last year of Bill Clinton’s presidency, Hillary endorsed an administration plan to give tax breaks to private foundations and wealthy charitable donors at the same time the Clinton Foundation was soliciting those same groups and individuals for donations to the Clinton Library.
An interagency task force set up by Bill Clinton’s executive order proposed those breaks along with deductions to middle-class taxpayers who did not itemize their returns. Federal officials estimated the plan would cost the U.S. government $14 billion in lost tax payments over a decade.
In a January 2000 memo to Hillary Clinton from senior aides, plans for a “philanthropy tax initiative roll-out” showed her scrawled approval, “HRC” and “OK.”
The document, marked with the archive stamp “HRC handwriting,” indicated her endorsement of the tax package, which included provisions to reduce and simplify an excise tax on private foundations’ investments and allow more deductions for charitable donations of appreciated property. The Clinton White House included the tax proposal in its final budget in February 2000, but it did not survive the Republican-led Congress.
The soliciting of money was perfectly legal even though Bubba was still in office. And I am sure that the fact that Bill was soliciting money for his foundation had nothing to do with their support of the tax break, just as the memo from Sid Blumenthal had nothing to do with the fake “Benghazi attack was incited by an anti-Muslim video” story, or as the destruction pf Hillary’s emails and email server had nothing to do with the Benghazi investigation.
But in directly pushing the legislation while the Clinton Library was aggressively seeking donations, Hillary and Bill Clinton’s altruistic support for philanthropy overlapped with their interests promoting their White House years and knitting ties with philanthropic leaders.
Hundreds of pages of documents contain no evidence that anyone in the Clinton administration raised warnings about potential ethics concerns or sought to minimize the White House’s active role in the legislation.
“The theme here for the Clintons is a characteristic ambiguity of doing good and at the same time doing well by themselves,” said Lawrence Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert H. Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota. Jacobs said the Clinton administration could have relied on a federal commission to decide tax plans or publicly supported changes but not specific legislation.
Isn’t amazing how coincidences that appear to be conflicts of interest, including the scandals detailed in Peter Schweizer’s book, happen only to the Clintons? They are just about the unluckiest multi-gazillionaires in America.
Cross-posted at The Lid