Horowitz: Clinton Foundation Cash & Email Problems Creates Opening for Dem Challengers
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The unappetizing mix of millions of dollars of donations to the Clinton Foundation from people with business interests that could be potentially impacted by State Department decisions and recommendations, the large speech fees paid former President Bill Clinton by some of these same interests, and the failure to report some of these contributions, despite an agreement to do so with the Obama Administration provides the kind of potent media stew that is already doing real damage to the Clinton candidacy. Only 38% of likely voters say Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy as opposed to 54% who say she is not, according to a recent Quinnipiac Poll.
Further, the responses so far from the Clinton campaign to the current controversy as well as to the continuing questions about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as Secretary of State have made an admittedly thorny set of problems, worse. Given the serious nature of the accusations and the extensive and documented research done by Peter Schweitzer, the author of the forthcoming book Clinton Cash, who is the main source of the new information about the questionable donations to the Clinton Foundation, attacking him as a partisan right winger with an agenda is not only insufficient; it is backfiring. Schweitzer has smartly shared information with the New York Times and Washington Post and other mainstream and credible media outlets and encouraged them to do more reporting based on his research. This approach resulted in a damaging front page New York Times story last week.
The failure of the Clinton counter-attacks to work is evidenced by the critical comments of Bloomberg Politics Managing Editor Mark Halperin on This Week with George Stephanopoulis this past Sunday. Halperin, who tends to be more supportive than not to both Clintons in his analysis, said, “Imagine if an Assistant Secretary of State had done what Hillary Clinton-- what we know Hillary did. They would be out of the State Department….If they hadn’t been so careless at the Foundation, if she hadn’t deleted the emails, if they put somebody out on this show today to answer these questions a lot of this can be put to rest, but none of these things are true.”
So far, there doesn’t appear to be convincing evidence that Hillary Clinton’s decisions at the State Department were influenced either by the large donations to The Clinton Foundation or by speech fees paid to her husband. In fact, Peter Schweitzer himself acknowledged on Fox News Sunday that he had no direct evidence of specific quid pro quos. This provides the opportunity to limit the damage with a straightforward response from Hillary Clinton herself in which she answers all the questions, openly admits mistakes, and unveils new strong rules of the road to demonstrate that she has taken to heart the need to provide credible and ironclad separation of her candidacy and potential Presidency from Foundation fundraising and former President Bill Clinton’s paid speechmaking.
However, even if this situation is better-handled going forward, the supposed inevitability of Hillary Clinton’s march to the nomination, always a bit of an iffy proposition given the wide-open nature of the Democratic nomination process, is now firmly in the rearview mirror.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at University of Rhode Island.
- Horowitz: Obama Takes a Big Step Forward on Cuba
- Horowitz: Game-Changing Global Climate Change Agreement Reached
- Horowitz: 5 Reasons for New Year’s Optimism
- Horowitz: Stars Aligning for Raimondo
- Horowitz: New Survey Shows Continued Dominance of Facebook
- Horowitz: Doing Good Creates Opportunities to Do Well
- Horowitz: Jim Webb, Former US Senator and Genuine War Hero, Tests Presidential Waters
- Horowitz: News Literacy: An Essential Skill in the Age of the Internet
- Horowitz: Big Republican Sweep Might Mean Some Actual Governing
- Horowitz: Obama and Jinping Forge Big Climate Change Breakthrough
- Rob Horowitz: Obama’s Immigration Executive Order; Good Policy and Good Politics
- Horowitz: Hard Road Ahead for Romney
- Horowitz: Obama: Politically Alive and Very Much Kicking
- Horowitz: Obamacare; Going Strong on 5 Year Anniversary
- Horowitz: Raimondo’s Budget: Well-Constructed and Well-Packaged
- Horowitz: Ted Cruz and the Politics of No
- Horowitz: Pension Deal is Good for Rhode Island
- Horowitz: President Chafee
- Horowitz: Selma 50 Years On
- Horowitz: The Boehner/Nentanyahu Debacle
- Horowitz: Support Building for Climate Change Action; But Firming Up is Needed
- Horowitz: FCC Chair Stands Tall On Net Neutrality
- Horowitz: Whitehouse Leads the Way on National Prison Reform
- Horowitz: Giuliani Keeps Digging—And Its Not Helping
- Horowitz: Earth Day 2015 - Much to Celebrate; But Bi-Partisanship Needed