This year’s headline from The New York Times: “If Hillary Clinton Wins, Foundation Will Stop Accepting Foreign Donations.” Next year’s headline: “Clinton Foundation Accepts $250 Million in Foreign Donations.”
Call me a cynic, but I think this is totally possible. I can even imagine how the reconciliation between these two seemingly conflicting headlines would go. We can imagine the usual Clinton apologists saying something like this:
“Well, $75 million was donated after the election in November but before the inauguration in January, and we always meant that the new rules would take effect after the inauguration.
“Another $100 million contributed from foreign countries and corporations was donated to the Clinton Foundation affiliate in Canada, so there is obviously no conflict. Hillary is not president of Canada. The fact that the money spent three hours in the Canadian bank before it was transferred to the United States or that Chelsea and Bill and whoever just live with a Canadian bank’s checking account and credit cards doesn’t matter.
Never miss a local story.
“If the right-wing conspirators want to complain about accounting practices, the Clintons can’t be expected to stoop to that petty level. Of course, as promised, Bill Clinton has refrained from giving paid speeches. The $25 million that was received was in no part speaking fees, but only ‘appearance fees’ and a travel-expense reimbursement from donors who had already made their contribution. He just stopped by to say thanks.”
“Of course, another $25 million or so came to Chelsea, but no reasonable person can dispute that she is worth every penny. She has become, in effect, a strategic adviser for various international entities, and her expertise is very much in demand. And she has done innumerable selfless good works for which people felt inclined to give her a gratuity.
“Next, the $25 million that came in from the rulers of Moneystan all came from their New York real-estate company, so that’s not ‘foreign’ at all. Besides, everyone knows the Clintons thought about honeymooning in Moneystan.
“So there you have it: The foundation has not accepted any money from a foreign government or corporation. The Clintons have gone beyond what other first families have had to report and endure, but there is just no way to satisfy some of their bitter, partisan critics.”
You read it here first, folks. There will be about 10 minutes of outrage, and then everyone will shrug and move on.
Ed Rogers wrote this for The Washington Post. He is a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He also is chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, in 1991.