The details of the NYT’s piece exposing the Clinton Foundation’s corruption, rent-seeking and influence peddling are fascinating in and of themselves. The Clintons remain what they have always been — ambitious, corner-cutting, morally bankrupt, power-hungry people who got into politics for all the wrong reasons. Some get into politics to help their fellow man or their country. The Clintons got into politics to help themselves and their friends. That has been their prime directive from the beginning. Well, that plus the other thing that motivated Bill — getting women.
The details lay out like this, briefly. The Clinton Foundation is run by loyalists, it raises vast piles of money, and runs deficits, while it acts as a launch pad for Hillary’s 2016 presidential run. How does a charity run deficits? Not because of an excess of generosity. How can a charity function as a presidential launch pad? The IRS should be asking that question along with asking about the deficits, but it isn’t. Or if it is, we’re not hearing about it.
The more fascinating question about the story, though, is who is behind it and why is it coming out now? What’s the motive behind its publication?
Speculating about the first question, the Clinton Foundation is one of two developing power centers in the new Democratic Party. The other is President Obama’s Organizing for Action. Both are positioned to eclipse the Democratic National Committee and make whoever controls them kingmakers in future Democratic politics. Obama is in his last term; OfA will be his means to remain powerful, possibly even more powerful than the politicians who will owe fealty to him, for decades to come. He can deliver data, organization and money in exchange for loyalty to himself and his causes. The Clinton Foundation is more of an old-fashioned network of politics, money and names. Could the Times’ story be a pre-emptive strike against the Clinton Foundation to warn Hillary not to run against Obama’s record in 2016, and not to get any ideas about using her foundation to challenge OfA for control of the future?
As for why now, well, it’s August 2013. Not August 2016. Most Americans aren’t paying attention to politics at all. That may work to the benefit of OfA too.
Had the story come out at the latter date it could have gravely damaged Hillary’s presidential run. Even Obama presumably doesn’t want to risk putting a Republican into the White House. But coming out now, the story won’t hurt Hillary’s presidential chances at all. It’s too far removed from the campaign.
But it may force her to distance herself from the Foundation, which is her power base and her launching pad, just as she’s building her campaign. It may also serve as a warning: The IRS isn’t investigating you, but it could, and someone already is.