So What if the Clinton Foundation Fleeced Norway? Bring on the Chardonnay!

Hillary Clinton visited Norway last week, an event that brought to my mind, anyway, the fact that, adjusting for population, no country has been more generous to her family’s stupendously sordid con operation than has the land of the fjords.

The numbers are scandalous. Between 2007 and 2016, the Norwegian government transferred no less than 640 million kroner in taxpayer money to the Clinton Foundation. Given the average exchange rate during that period, that sum would’ve been roughly equivalent to $100 million. This means that each and every Norwegian citizen, without being asked, put about twenty dollars into the pockets of that crooked enterprise.

The official reason for these massive payouts was that the Norwegian government wanted to help mothers and children in Africa. In 2016, Norway’s purported newspaper of record, Aftenposten, ran an article in which Stephen Gillers, an expert on legal ethics at NYU, said that the real motive was to buy influence for Norway in the corridors of American power.

Well, that’s one reason, but there are others. One is this: Top-level Norwegian politicians are as ambitious as politicians anywhere. For many of them, becoming a member of parliament or cabinet official or even prime minister in a country of six million people isn’t quite enough to satisfy the old ego. How to solve this problem? Fortunately, a solution is already in place. Norway has long paid a hell of a lot more into major world organizations, from the UN on down, than other countries of its size. In fact, it spends more per capita on international development than any nation on Earth. Yes, this means that Norwegian citizens are getting ripped off. On the other hand, it also means that Norwegian political leaders have a terrific leg up when it comes to getting cushy sinecures at international bodies, especially those purportedly dedicated to humanitarian aid.

So it is that former Prime Minister Thorbjørn Jagland is now secretary general of the Council of Europe. Gro Harlem Brundtland, another ex-PM, went on to become director-general of the World Health Organization. Jan Egeland left a top post in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry to become the head UN guy for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief. The attractiveness of the Clinton Foundation as a place to throw hard-working Norwegians’ dough at can be explained by the fact that, during the years when those payouts were taking place, Hillary was, in turn, a U.S. senator and leading presidential candidate, the U.S. secretary of State, and, again, a leading presidential candidate. To funnel cash to her was to buy a personal “in” with the most powerful woman on Earth.

Not to mention that Norwegian politicians have always had a thing for the Clintons. Bill and Hillary always did a good job of presenting themselves as the kind of American politicians that they can relate to -- you know, loads of lofty talk about international interdependence and common humanity and standing up for the marginalized and how women’s rights are human rights and how it takes a village to raise a child.

Still, given the findings set out in Peter Schweizer’s 2015 book and 2016 documentary Clinton Cash -- which revealed in excruciating detail that the Clinton Foundation was little more than a sleazy money-making operation for a couple of shameless grifters whose avarice apparently knows no bounds -- you’d think that the Norwegian bigwigs who’d handed over all those kroner to Bill and Hill would feel like fools, dupes, patsies, saps, suckers. You’d think they’d be leading the chorus of “Lock her up!” Nope. Last Friday -- International Women’s Day -- she was invited to a cozy family dinner at the home of Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway’s current Labour Party leader, who served as foreign minister at the same time that Hillary was secretary of State.

VG, Norway’s largest paper, covered the evening’s repast as a charming reunion between old pals. In his not quite hard-hitting account, reporter Eirik Mosveen focused on a fan letter that was written to Hillary by three 14-year-old Oslo girls that deputy party leader Hadia Tajik handed to her over dinner. The girls appear to have been brainwashed into thinking that Hillary is a heroine of the #MeToo movement, and Mosveen, instead of reminding readers that this is the woman who tried her best to destroy Monica Lewinsky and other victims of her rapist husband, went along with this pretty fiction. In an interview with Tajik about the dinner (they had cod and wine), the closest Mosveen apparently came to asking a tough question was this: “Did she have any good jokes about Donald Trump?”

No surprise there. In the Norwegian news media, as in their American counterparts, Trump -- who in January of last year famously paid the nation a fine compliment by wondering why the U.S. can’t take fewer immigrants from “shithole countries” and more from places like Norway -- is always the joke, the clown, the bad guy, while the Clintons, even though they royally bilked the Norwegian public, still get the royal treatment. I suppose Gahr Støre, who plans to be Norway’s next prime minister, feels that the chances of Hillary becoming president, while looking pretty slim at the moment, are sizable enough to make it worth his while to have her over for supper. After all, he and his cronies already made her and Bill $100 million richer at the expense of Norway’s deplorables. Compared to that, what’s the cost of another meal? Who knows, she may yet be in a position to give a career boost to Gahr Støre -- and Tajik, too -- once their time at the top of the Norwegian heap is over.