Fifth in a series Are They Really That Bad?
I am uncertain whether this is my strongest argument or my weakest. Fundraising scandals accompany almost every powerful politician. Mitt Romney had one earlier this year. Obama's got one simmering. The Clintons may be worse than others, but they are hardly unique. Partisanship being what it is, as news of any campaign illegalities break, the accused will try and maintain "Nah, that guy wasn't important, just a guy sort of hanging around asking to help - we invited him to a few parties out of pity for the schlep." The other party will attempt to paint the opposite picture. "That guy was like your best friend. He was involved in all the campaign decisions. You promised him he'd be an ambassador after the election." It is hard to get objective evidence, because even true statements are being selectively chosen.
Secondly, information comes out later. Not everyone gets caught, either. So the Clintons may look more habitually associated with criminals in their campaigns, but next week someone else's scandal may break which equals anything they did. Even more likely, we'll find a whole new batch of suspicions twenty years out, and have to guess on the basis of incomplete evidence whether the new scandals are uncovering real illegalities that couldn't stay secret forever or are just the rehashing of old rumors.
That said, let's make the case in very simple fashion that what Clintons did and do far exceed other politicians - a very high bar.
Jamie Gorelick's wall of separation which caused such a stir in the 9-11 Commission also prevented the domestic and international intelligence agencies from sharing investigative information on Clintons illegal campaign contributions. David Schippers claimed (and he is positioned to know), that the wall was erected to prevent investigation, not to maintain intelligence compartmentalization about terrorism. He further claims that if the agencies had been able to communicate, the case against Clinton and foreign campaign contributions was considerable.
I should mention, before I go further, that I have relied only on left-leaning sites for information on these scandals. No VRWC here.
Chinagate, with Charley Trie, Johnny Chung, Maria Hsia, John Huang...
Pardons for the carnies who paid Tony Rodham big bucks, and for Hugh Rodham's client Vignali,
James Riady and the Lippo group - and oh, BTW, the largest deposit of fantastically clean-burning coal that Clinton put off limits with the enormous new National Wilderness in Utah (not to mention the one trillion dollars in other minerals there) - Riady owns the second-largest pile of that coal. What are the odds?
Presidential pardons for Marc Rich and FALN.
Hollywood producer Peter Paul is suing the Clintons for $1M for broken business promises they made when he was raising funds for him. Oh yeah, he was convicted of illegal in-kind contributions.
120 people fled the country or pled the Fifth in the Whitewater investigation.
Cattlegate (most of the other - gates weren't financial)
Clinton was the one who actually did favors for contributor Ken Lay
Illegal fundraising calls from the WH, and renting out the Lincoln bedroom.
And recently, of course, Norman Hsu, who raised millions illegally for the DNC, and especially for Hillary.
What have I forgotten? I didn't even touch on any of the questions around the funds for the presidential library or the numerous union funds scandals (because unions did that long before Clinton).