Billary Clinton’s Financial Entanglements

Could former president Bill Clinton’s globetrotting fundraising ways come back to bite him?

President-elect Barack Obama is considering offering the secretary of state post to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), but is concerned about the former president’s many business and philanthropic entanglements that span the globe, the Politico reports:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is President-elect Obama’s first choice for secretary of State but his aides are becoming exasperated by the Clinton camp’s pokey response to demands for extensive information about former President Bill Clinton’s finances, according to numerous Democrats involved in the process.

“The sense among the no-drama Obama world is: This is well on its way to winning best Oscar for drama,” said one well-connected Democratic official. […]

Democratic officials make it sound like the job has been all but offered to her. But the ball is in her court to show that the former president’s many foreign and financial entanglements would not pose huge conflicts of interest if she were the nation’s chief diplomat, the officials said.

Obama isn’t likely to formally offer the post to Clinton unless he’s given assurances Bill Clinton’s global charitable foundation won’t create future conflicts of interest with foreign governments, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Clinton Global Initiative has earned widespread plaudits for its efforts to eradicate AIDS, malaria and poverty in Africa.

But it could prove problematic for Obama if the former president continues to seek donations from foreign countries – at the same time his wife is asking them for diplomatic concessions as Secretary of State. The Clinton Global initiative, which has raised more than $30 billion since 2005, has solicited major donations from a handful of foreign governments, including a $1 billion pledge from Norway in 2007. […]

““The ball is very much in her court, but the president’s finances have been a major point of sensitivity from day one,” the well-connected Democratic official explained. “Given that everyone’s mystified by how deliberately public the Clintons have made this once secret process, the assumption is either that the Clintons are trying to use the public buzz to steamroll their way in, create a sense of inevitability that overcomes those concerns, or that it’s just a matter of time before they … satisfy vetting somehow, some way. Otherwise, after all this speculation, there’ll be a permanent dark cloud hanging over his finances.” […] 

The article is titled, ominously, “Bill vetting could cost Hillary her Cabinet post.”

We published an article on Bill Clinton and his foundation in the February issue of Foundation Watch.

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