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Hillary Clinton’s lucrative life of crime

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Bill and Hillary Clinton “earned” — can a mortal earn such stratospheric sums? — “at least $30 million over the last 16 months, mainly from giving paid speeches to corporations, banks and other organizations,” The New York Times reports. “They have now earned more than $125 million on the [lecture] circuit since leaving the White House in 2001.”

This is an important issue. But the big story has little to with what actually matters.

Coverage of the Clintons’ spectacularly lucrative speaking career has focused on how it affects Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign — specifically the political damage caused by the public’s growing perception that Hillary is out of touch with the common man and woman. It is a promising line of inquiry for her detractors (myself included).

Hillary is out of touch. She hasn’t been behind the wheel of an automobile for nearly 20 years, is a multi-multi-millionaire who nevertheless considered herself “dead broke” and still believes that she and her husband are not among “the truly well off.” (Maybe Bill still drives.)

Ostentatious wealth coupled with tonedeafness didn’t help Mitt “47 percent” Romney in 2012, or John “I can’t remember how many houses I own” McCain in 2008 — and they were Republicans, a party that gleefully despises the poor and jobless. For a Democrat under heavy fire from her party’s progressive base — with Elizabeth Warren, Bill di Blasio and Bernie Sanders leading the charge — this stuff could be politically fatal.

But the media ought to focus on the real issue. FDR was wealthy, yet he created the social safety net as we know it (what’s left of it, anyway). JFK and RFK came from money, yet no one doubted their commitment to help the downtrodden. Liberals distrust Hillary due to her and her husband’s long record of kowtowing to Wall Street bankers and transnational corporations, supporting jobs-killing “free trade” agreements, backing the NSA’s intrusions into our privacy and as an unrepentant militarist. Her progressivism appears to have died with her law career.

Conflict of interest: that’s why we should be concerned about all those $250,000 speeches.

The big question is: Why do corporations and banks shell out a quarter of a million dollars for a Hill Talk?

Corporations and banks don’t pay big bucks to Hillary Clinton because they’re dying to hear what she has to say. After having been front and center on the national political scene for a quarter century, she and Bill don’t have new insights to share. And even if I’m wrong — even if you’re a CEO and you’re dying to learn her ultimate (new) recipe for baking cookies — you don’t have to invite her to speak to your company to get the dish. You can ask one of your CEO pals who already had her speak at his firm — or pay to attend one of the zillions of other lectures she gives.

This is not about Hillary’s message.

Corporations and banks bribe the Clintons to buy political favors. The speaking racket is a (flimsy) cover.

Like, there’s the time Goldman Sachs paid $200,000 for a Bill Talk a few months before the financial conglomerate lobbied Hill when she was secretary of state. At least 13 companies paid Bill and Hill at least $2.5 million in similar sleazy deals.

Those are just the brazen quid pro quo deals.

Among the companies that have lined Hillary’s pockets over the last 16 months are “a mix of corporations (GE, Cisco, Deutsche Bank), medical and pharmaceutical groups (the California Medical Associationand the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association), and women’s organizations like the Commercial Real Estate Women Network,” the Times says. “Mr. Clinton’s speeches included a number of talks for financial firms, including Bank of America and UBS, as well as technology companies like Microsoft and Oracle.”

GE, Cisco and Deutsche Bank aren’t run by idiots. Nor are lobbying groups like the female realtors. Their boards know that Hillary may well become president. Even if she loses, those bribes — er, speaking fees — are a smart investment in Washington influence. The Clintons have strong ties at the highest levels of the Democratic Party establishment and on Wall Street. If you’re GE, it makes sense to make nice with people whose help you might want someday, so they’re likelier to pick up the phone when you call to, say, grease the skids for a merger in danger of getting derailed by antitrust laws.

Laws governing the sale of political access are relatively clear, but rarely enforced. The ethics, however, are simple: Honest people don’t take money from people they may be charged with governing or regulating in the future.

“Behind every great fortune,” Balzac maintained, “lies a crime.” If there were any justice, the Clintons would be in prison for a generation of criminal activity that has left America a corrupted, Third Worldified nation, poorer for having been looted by the companies and banks whose criminality they aided and abetted.

Syndicated columnist and author Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at The Los Angeles Times. © 2015 Ted Rall

  • Paul Martin

    Well written article, all true and correct but has there ever been a politician who wasn’t somewhat corrupt ? It’s BIG business and like doctors, dentists,lawyers and bankers,etc they are in it for all they can get ! Politicians and bureaucrats are a breed of their own so singling out a handful doesn’t wash. Bill Clinton was a good leader and left America in fine shape. And as far as privileged, wealthy politicians go how about the multi millionaire,old Etonian Camerons in UK who were backed by Britain’s wealtthiest, And the Blairs who have made HUGE fortunes from politics and hobnobbing with the Ghadaffis,etc.The African leaders who came from poverty and milked billions then bought mega rich homes in Paris and LOndon,etc and people like Indonesia’s Shinawatras, (now on trial for corruption) the brother stole so much he recently bid to buy Manchester City I understand. The Clintons are human they also want to live the good life, nothing wrong with that and like any other American politician they realize that without big corporate support they can’t get the campaign backing needed on the road to the Oval office !

    • PoliticsEconomicsandYou

      Yes, so the only way to ensure less corruption is to reduce the control of a central power. You can never rid society of corruption but I’d much rather fight it on the state and local level where we have redress and accountability as opposed to federal officials who are now 100% untouchable.

      • Paul Martin

        You have hit the nail on the head and that’s why dixieland revolted but they were up against overwhelming industrialized and military manpower odds ! Gone with the wind shows us the results when someone tries to fight the feds !
        I agree that regional government is better in many ways because the people who live work and raise their families there choose their own destinies. Scotland is a perfect example they have finally seized their own country back !
        Federal does breed massive corruption because the entire population is at the mercy of a handful of powerful politicians and bureaucrats. Unfortunately the latter are never going to abandon the system voluntarily. They drive around in their shiny black cars with unearned dignity and ego and just force their often absurd and ludicrous decisions on the rest of us when referendums should be offered to the populace !
        As a British expat originally from Wales I have watched with disgust the demise of Europe at the hands of EU federalists !

      • Defiant

        That’s true. And it’s why the control of central power will NEVER be reduced.

    • rayoflight

      The Clintons are Human ?

    • Hannibal Smith

      Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall which directly led to the global subprime crisis. “Fine shape”, indeed!

  • Shawn

    Everyone has their opinions…

    • rayoflight

      Have You ever checked out Anything . . . . .(referenced and cross-referenced sources and/or historically accurate HIDDEN FACTS ) for yourself ? REALLY, You erroneous think that EveryONE here is voicing Just ” an opinion ” .?

      That Is the REAL PROBLEM and Danger of bipartisan two-party politics and Particularly OUR Present Political Climate in America and Everywhere else on this Beautiful Blue PLANET . . . Ignorance at the top . . . . Ignorance at the bottom . . . . And Ignorance in between .

      And I Can Assure You That Is Certainly Not an o-p-I-n-I-o-n ! All of You who are basing your politics on speculation , drama , innuendo , game-show economics and trivial water cooler or ” sandbox ” behavior (childish ego-eccentricities) are going to be in for a Suprise. Prepare Spiritually , and Thereby ; Knowledgably ! WTFU . What a UNIVERSITY . . . . .

      .

  • Tony

    “Republicans, a party that gleefully despises the poor and jobless.”
    Gleefully? Ted Rall is pathetic.

    • jcbinok

      Agreed. That seems a bit over the top.

    • 151E

      In an 818-word article that throwaway line is what you focus on? Really?

      • PoliticsEconomicsandYou

        So, in every article penned by ‘conservative’ journalists, they can use ‘Democrats, who have destroyed the lives of millions of African Americans’ as a throw away line, and we get to act as petulant as you when progressives collectively explode?

      • 151E

        Petulant? I simply questioned why, in an opinion piece that primarily criticises the Clinton’s financial ties to large corporations, the poster would instead focus on one flippant line? I would have thought, in this case, that they might have been generally sympathetic to Rall’s overall conclusion.

      • Conservative journalists don’t use throw away lines? :)

      • Defiant

        Ugh. Liberals exhaust me.

    • junktex

      Both parties are owned by the banksters/corporations.

    • The point being that Republicans are no better. Bill Clinton gleefully destroyed much of the social safety net and his Treasury Secretary helped repeal Glass-Steagal.

    • Defiant

      I believe the appropriate term is “rube.” I think “shill” would also be acceptable.

    • softunderbelly

      I didn’t see your post but I agree completely.

  • wally63

    She’s not power hungry, she’s POWER MAD. She wants the POWER of the Oval Office so bad she’d kill for it, if she hasn’t already. ha. But, that would be old hat for the likes of the Klintonistas.

    • Defiant

      She DEFINITELY wantsesssss the PRECIOUSSSSSSSS…

  • siddham

    How can Americans continue to believe the fantasy
    they have a democratic political system?
    America is obviously an oligarchy
    just like the old classical republics were

  • junktex

    In America crime pays well.

  • Ken5745

    How about former president Ronald Reagan? He was paid $2 million for a 8 day visit to Japan in 1989. Was that a bribe, I wonder?

    • Lamar L Ramal

      it might be difficult for you but try and stay on the topic here which is Hillary.

    • softunderbelly

      Reagan was out of office then. He had NO plans for further political activity. If you’ll remember, a bunch of admirers joined together and BOUGHT him his ranch at the end of his second term. If you wish to call this and the 2 million dollar tour fee a bribe, that’s fine. I prefer to call it a payment for a job well done.
      However, with the Clintons, the situation is “slightly” different. They are SELLING their access to power to ALL comers, including our enemies. If this is not a scandal worth the investigation, nothing could be.

      • Eileen Kuch

        Hillary should be in a prison cell, not running for the highest office in the land; she’s definitely responsible for the murders of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the USSA Consulate in Benghazi, as well as the heinous murder of Muammar Gaddhafi before that.
        Hillary just about admitted her complicity in that crime when she callously remarked, “I came; I saw; he died” – a twisted version of Julius Caesar’s “I came; I saw; I conquered”, after having subjugated the Gauls.

  • erte4wt4etrg

    They’re all criminals and psychopaths. Look how fast this vermin tries to nail down the globe with police state tactics, including Japan. Put it all together. WHY ARE WE STILL PRETENDING

    • rayoflight

      Yes, in agreement 100% . . . . The TIME for PRETENDING is OVER. The Shift Has Hit the proverb(dial fan .

      If You are not Awake NOW . . . well , you’re Not going to BE AWAKE .

  • Lamar L Ramal

    It doesn’t matter how corrupt she is because the semi comatose American voter will still vote for her. And you can add the millions of illegal’s that are now citizens that will put her over the top. She has the money and is pretty much bought and paid for by corporations, banks and the Saudi’s and other countries that have bought favors.

    • Dikaiosyne

      “It doesn’t matter how corrupt she is because the semi comatose American voter will still vote for her.”

      This is, indeed, sadly true.

  • Defiant

    The part that makes me sad is that no matter WHAT they find in the emails…Hillary will skate with absolutely no consequences. That’s the pattern for our “representatives” in DC. And ESPECIALLY for the juggernauts, such as Hill Clinton.

    Let’s also keep in mind that the emails we’re combing through now are ONLY the emails Hillary decided we could examine. Must be nice to have had the option to destroy anything she decided she didn’t want exposed…it’s simply STAGGERING that the Left still support her and support her possible presidency! ALL of us from BOTH sides of the aisle should be mortified to the point of making an example of her.

  • softunderbelly

    “and they were Republicans, a party that gleefully despises the poor and jobless”
    I don’t know whether he is ignorant, lazy, partisan or all three. Republicans (conservatives) are well known for giving to charities and churches in higher numbers and larger amounts than the so-
    called “liberals”. In fact, it is the norm for conservatives to donate 10% of their incomes (tithes) whereas the Clintons KEPT up to 90% of the donations to the Clinton Charites and donated only 5%. Mr Rall is being disingenuous in the guise of being frank. Quite obviously a cheapshot expert.

  • Hosea Mcadoo

    Paid speeches and book purchases are a form of money laundering and represent legal quid pro quo bribery.

  • Cpriestess

    Thank you for posting….