By: Jackie Gigngrich Cushman
Presidential candidates delay officially entering the race so they can raise money for PACs, avoid the media frenzy associated with being a declared candidate and get organized. The goal is to run below the radar, raise money and get strategically organized. This approach has not worked for the Democratic heir apparent Hillary Clinton.
Yes, she is raising money; yes, she is organizing; but her name is not staying out of the fray.
Two weeks ago the focus was on the Clinton Foundation, and donations made by foreign nationals and foreign governments to the foundation. “Foreign governments gave millions to foundation while Clinton was at State Department” was the title of the Washington Post article by reporters Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger.
“The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state,” they reported, “including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed.”
Violating ethics agreements is not a phrase would-be candidates like to hear.
Helderman and Hamburger also noted that a week before, the Post had reported “that foreign sources, including governments, made up a third of those who have given the foundation more than $1 million over time … the foundation, begun by former President Bill Clinton, has raised nearly $2 billion since its creation in 2001.”
Hundreds of millions of dollars donated from foreign interests. Not something that the average American can understand, and not good press for Clinton.
This week, an article in The New York Times by Michael Schmidt and Amy Chozick, titled “Using Private Email, Hillary Clinton Thwarted Record Requests,” provided focus on her tenure at the State Department.
In “2012, congressional investigators asked the State Department for a wide range of documents related to the attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya … last month that the House committee appointed to investigate Benghazi was provided with about 300 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails related to the attacks. That was shortly after Mrs. Clinton turned over, at the State Department’s request, some 50,000 pages of government-related emails that she had kept on her private account.”
Private email account (s), Secretary of State… does not compute.
Private emails are not as secure as government accounts and are not properly tracked as required by law.
“But since 2009, said Laura Diachenko, a National Archives and Records spokeswoman, federal regulations have stated that ‘agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.'”
Chairman of the House Committee overseeing the hearings, Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said this week, “She did not use personal email in addition to government email. She used personal email in lieu of government email. And she had more than one private email account.”
Gowdy noted that this is troubling because “The State Department cannot certify that have produced all of former Secretary Clinton’s emails because they do not have all of former Secretary Clinton’s emails nor do they control access to them.”
Without a declared candidacy, Clinton has no clear mechanism to use to combat the media focus, which has grown in intensity. Possibly, her team is relying instead on the idea of her inevitability and the lack of a deep bench on the Democratic side of the Presidential primary. However, with the belief of inevitability comes the potential air of arrogance.
In staying above the fray in terms of responding to clear gaps in her performance, Clinton comes across as entitled — smug — or dare say arrogant? How can the little people possibly question the appropriateness of the foreign donations; how can the little people possibly wonder if the use of private emails as Secretary of State was appropriate?
Of course, it was. Or was it?
The lack of response, the lack of concern regarding the media reports leads one to believe that Clinton, sure of her inevitability, need not respond to such seemingly (to her) trivial questions. Why might she respond this way? Well for the Clintons, it’s worked so far. They keep moving forward and hope nothing sticks.
We will have to wait and see if in time, Clinton’s lack of response leads to her inevitability or if her seeming arrogance regarding rules and responses leads to another outcome.