It’s been clear for a while now that Hillary Clinton’s State Department did some favors for individuals who also happened to be big donors to the Clinton Foundation. The scope of Clinton’s favor-trading operation, though, has been unclear. Was the State Department completely transformed for four years into a Clinton-enriching lobbying firm, as Donald Trump has hyperbolically alleged? Or are we talking more about a few perfunctory meetings here and there? A new Associated Press investigation attempts to answer that question, and the results are not flattering for Hillary:
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
Yikes. The AP defines “private interest”-related meetings as involving individuals who weren’t U.S. federal employees or representatives of a foreign government; by this measure, then, 55 percent of the nongovernment individuals whose meetings and calls with Clinton were reviewed involved donors to a powerful private organization that the secretary of state co-founded and helps control. It doesn’t seem at this point as if there is any smoking gun example of Clinton taking an egregiously inappropriate action on behalf of any of these donors, but the AP notes that it’s only received scheduling documents covering half of Clinton’s tenure. (The materials that it has received were requested three years ago, and the AP had to sue the State Department to actually obtain them.) Meanwhile, it’s already known that some of the entities that donated to the Clinton Foundation also paid the Clintons individually for giving speeches, which blurs the public service/private business line even further. As has become the norm with Hillary’s State Department activities, nothing here is a “quit the presidential race”-level scandal—but neither does any of it give one a great deal of confidence in her integrity.