Clintonian Natural Law: Ex-President Insists It Is Perfectly Natural For Donors To Seek Favors


bill_clinton_by_gage_skidmoreClinton lawyers must have been wincing yesterday as former President Bill Clinton sought to defuse the criticism of the Clintons in accepting money from a wide variety of businesses and foreign parties (including dubious donors) with interests before the State Department. Bill Clinton took to the airways to insist that it is perfectly natural for donors to seek favors at the State Department and that he and Hillary trusted government officials to do the right thing in dealing with such requested favors. That is hardly going to help.  Even if you dismiss the controversy with an “everyone does it” defense, the problem remains that Hillary Clinton was not some politician but the Secretary of State and the donors were seeking official actions by the United States government.  It sounds like an admission that some wanted to “pay and play” but the Clinton left it to others to refuse to play.

When asked about the ongoing controversies, Clinton dismissed questions of corruption by saying that “it was natural” for donors to seek favors from the Clintons because he “trusted” that the State Department would avoid any conflicts. It sounded like the Clintons had no duty to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and felt free to accept millions by shifting the burden to some unknown bureaucrats to mind the ethical line: “It was natural for people who’ve been our political allies and personal friends to call and ask for things. And I trusted the State Department wouldn’t do anything they shouldn’t do.”

That cannot be helpful for Hillary Clinton. Many voters are balking at the choices this election. At a time when voters clearly indicated that they did not want another establishment candidate, the Democrats came forward with perhaps the ultimate such candidate. Now, to have Bill Clinton explain to voters that it is only natural to make donations and seek favors, the message seems to be that “this is just how things are done” in politics. That is precisely what a sizable number of voters want to stop.

Clinton did deny that there was any “pay to play” but the articulation of a type of Clintonian Natural Law of Politics is not likely to appeal to uneasy independents in this election.

91 thoughts on “Clintonian Natural Law: Ex-President Insists It Is Perfectly Natural For Donors To Seek Favors”

  1. PhillyT writes, “Why do you think these people make donations?”

    Access is one thing, but where financial gain in exchange for the donation, such as favoritism in contract bidding, it’s is an felony quid pro quo. And that’s what this calamity is about, not access.

    And by the way, it appears that only practicing attorneys and judicial officers are subject to the standard of an appearance of impropriety. But you go ahead and vote for the wife of the fellow who was suspended from practice for lying in a federal sexual harassment action. He’ll be back in the White House to assisting with damage control.

    It’s the deplorables versus the corruptibles.

    1. steve, Deplorables v Corruptibles could be a cage match on pay per view TV. Wait, we have debates coming up. If Hillary can stand for a couple hours.

    2. Funny you think this isn’t going on every day in the halls of Congress. Senators and Reps (and their staff) get insider trading info every day and they trade on it without consequence. Both sides of the aisle. They make real estate deals for their friends. They change laws or withdraw enforcement funds for their friends and donors. It goes on and on, and I can’t believe you don’t know it.

      As for Bill Clinton. OH MY GOD he had sex with an intern and lied about it!!! Compare that to lying us into a multi-trillion dollar war with millions of lives lost, the trashing of the economy, and sleeping at the wheel while 9/11 was executed. Hmmmm let/s see. Bush or Clinton? Clinton or Bush? Such a hard call to make?

      And Donald Trump? Whose ex wife accused him of assault and rape? Who is also accused of the rape of a 13-year-old? Who outright bribed a Florida AG? Who has cheated hundreds if not thousands of small business people?

      Hillary will be 1,000 times better than Trump in this office. Make that 10,000.

      1. phillyT – it is estimated that Bill Clinton has had sex with over 4000 women and according to Colin Powell is “still dicking them in the house.” Several of those he raped. Hillary covered up those rapes. Ruined the reputations of those women and became an accessory after the fact. And wasn’t Bill the one who made several unchaperoned trips to Lolita Island (home of his pedophile friend). At this point, I would charge the Clintons under the RICO statutes. They are a criminal organization that covers for each other and that include Chelsea.

        1. Powell said according to the New York Post that Bill Clinton was engaging in this behavior .Powell did not claim to have personal knowledge. Bill Clinton looks kind of old and sick these days but then look at Roger Ailes. He has been quite busy molesting and harassing his female employees. Trump is not clean either. Don’t know how you can put the female candidate on a par with these old pervs. I certainly don’t blame the Trump women or Ailes victims for their misdeeds. Those Fox newscasters have been covering for years.

      2. PhillyT,

        “Both sides of the aisle. They make real estate deals for their friends. They change laws or withdraw enforcement funds for their friends and donors. It goes on and on, and I can’t believe you don’t know it.”

        We know it and we are tired of it. Not sure why you approve (if you did not approve, you would stand up against it).

        Also, his liaison with the intern is a big deal because of the power differential. It would be like a president of a university having an affair with a co-ed intern and then lying about to the Board. Grounds for dismissal. Heck, an ISU coach got fired for partying with co-eds, not even an affair!

    1. Crist is the grossest opportunist to come down the pike in the last 25 years. He’s a man so addicted to political office-holding that there’s nothing he won’t say.

      1. @ Teaching Spastics
        Give Charlie Crist some credit for his talent as a comedian.
        He was able to get one of the biggest laughs of the campaign season when he complimented Hillary for her honesty.

    1. LOL! tnash, I think he has been drinking too much Canadian Club. He used to show some signs of intelligence. Not an inkling of intelligence or intellectual honesty. The Clintonista has sold his soul to the Clinton’s.

  2. Bill Clinton speaks the truth, a truth that is as self evident as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and he is pilloried. He said, ‘seek favors’, not receive favors. He said that the state department would not do anything they shouldn’t do. A big donation gets you a meeting, not a deal. If a deal comes out of it and it goes south then that is not good for anyone. It would only be good for Trump because he makes hundreds of millions off of his bankruptcies. This is the system and exists in every government in the history of the world from the constitutional governments of Greece, Carthage, Rome, and Sparta thousands of years ago. It is the way of the world and Clinton states it clear and simple.

    If anyone ever manipulated the system it is Trump. He made his billions using eight hundred plus million dollars of tax and other incentives. That is to say the people, he says he represents, paid for him to get rich. Trump is in a different world when it comes to insider manipulating. If Trump can’t manipulate the system, he sues it into submission. Trump is a tyrant and effective in his own world as such. If the American system is in such decay that democracy needs to give over to tyranny then Trump fits the formula. If American democracy is still alive then it will be a clash of ideals that will paralyze this country worse than how the Republicans paralyzed it over the past eight years.

    Trump will get nothing done because he is too inept when it comes to the intricacies of government and the intricacies of government will absorb his carnival and shut it down.

  3. Ahem, excuse me, but if you want a President who has been completely honest, straightforward, hard working, and dedicated to the interests of the public rather than selfish interests, vote for Jill Stein. The downside of a Stein Presidency is that she would probably be assassinated in a military coup as she took steps to reduce the windfall of unaudited public money flowing to the military,but is nevertheless the best choice for President.

    1. Johnson has a better chance. Wish he was in the debate. He is not the most knowledgeable but probably as much so as Trump. He is a good person with a good vp, Bill Weld. He is neither a crook nor a Klansman birther.

    2. Jill Stein is a self proclaimed socialist and socialism has been shown time and time to not work. Just study the last 20 years of Venezuelan history. A failed public/private partnership and we’re following in their foot steps. We’re now close to $20 trillion in debt just on the public side at the Federal level. Add in the private, Local and State governments and the numbers are staggering. The numbers on just the financial derivatives are unbelievable. It’s fiat currency. It’s just debt and that debt will collapse again as it did in 2008.

      You can’t run a society off of issuing more a more debt and the resultant redistribution of wealth schemes and expect a good outcome. It’s mathematically impossible.

      Ron Paul had actually tried to substantially disarm the defense budget and the FED. Why didn’t you and others support him?

      1. Ron Paul had actually tried to substantially disarm the defense budget and the FED. Why didn’t you and others support him?

        Because he’s a conceited and delusional crank who trafficks in inane monetary nostrums and thinks conflict in international relations is a consequence of failure to heed his savvy counsel, that’s why. He’s also an ace administrator, which is why he could not remember who wrote the newsletters in an office which employed 4 people.

    3. The more important downside of a Stein Presidency is that she has no experience at governing. I am convinced she would be an absolute disaster because of her lack of experience. While I agree with her on nearly all the issues, she would likely be a disaster for the progressive cause because she hasn’t the foggiest clue as to how to actually govern. Her failure would be portrayed as a failure of progressive ideas. Her running mate has the same problem. This is also one of the problems with Trump. This whole nonsense of wanting to shake things up by putting a person at the helm who has no legislative, governing, or political experience is a prescription for disaster.

      1. Progressives believe in the use of redistribution of wealth polices for the public good. Very altruistic and wonderful. However history has shown this to never work for two things.1. it’s never lasts for a prolonged period of time and 2. it never ends up being in the best interest of the majority. There are a lot of reasons why, progressives just seem to ignore them.

        If you could show me how to fix the public private partnership such as Venezuela is experiencing, I’m all ears. Of why it failed?

        Or you can just ignore my questions like other progressives always do.

        1. Sigh, Why bother? You’ll just ignore the answer.

          BTW, you believe in redistribution from the bottom to the top so why shouldn’t others believe in it from the top to the bottom; that is, to the people who actually produce the value?

          To imagine that rentiers, bankers, vulture capitalists, financiers, business management, and other assorted monopolistic sponges who maintain the facade of a meritocracy to cover up raw plunder enabled by inheritance, bribery of politicians, .faux trade deals that hollow out national sovereignty and the whole concept of representative government; to imagine that such an “unfettered market place” provides a long term workable system is far more ludicrous than to assume a system that provides for the whole of society is inherently unworkable.

          True, in this country, giant capitalist corporations as well as the military industrial complex have the main stream media and all the think tanks from either side of the duopoly pumping out propaganda 24/365 that maintains taboos on ideas such as – gasp – socialism, but to call such frenetic and unsustainable Salem witch hunt like efforts a “workable system” or give it any sort of long term viability is truly the cloth of emperor’s clothes. Capitalism isn’t that old and like the Romans with empire, it is inherently unsustainable. We are riding the increasingly unfettered and unregulated variety of it full tilt into a total societal collapse. One of it’s biggest flaws is the absolute requirement of perpetual growth; it simply can not cope with a finite planet of finite resources in a system driven by infinite greed.

          1. Memo to prospective employers of Brooklyn Bridge:

            Don’t hire okupiers.

  4. The only thing surprising about the admission is the admission itself. This kind of corruption has been going on forever. There are usually lame excuses and/or denials. Trump admits paying to play, Clinton admits playing for pay. And the Supreme Court, in vindicating Bob McDonnell says it’s all ok. Move on, folks, nothing new here.

  5. Are you really shocked. This coming from a guy who argued that fellatio was not sex and questioned what the definition of is, is. Sadly Clinton is correct and being honest as he often is. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t vote for him. He’s just another very ambitious guy with a silver tongue and our government is full of them.

    Politics by nature, is a vast array of pay to play schemes utilizing the redistribution of wealth as the reoccurring slush fund. We have over 110 different taxes and regulatory schemes, as evidence.

    That is what politics is. How are you going to stop it unless you stop taxation. As long as there’s a slush fund, the politician will be there to pass it out to the special interest groups that provide them the greatest campaign contributions or other benefits.

    All the branches in government are involved in the schemes. I prove in my book The Achilles Heel; The IRS Notice of Federal Tax Lien, that the liens are legally insufficient thus invalid yet the Administration and Judiciary are still in collusion enforcing them. How are you going to stop them?

    As deep throat said; “follow the money”. On Quora, a question and answer forum, I asked the question; How many Federal “Redistribution of Wealth” social program are there at the Federal Level and do we count multiple programs such as NASA has?

    No one has yet to answer my question. I doubt that anyone can.

    The reason there are so many libertarians, is that they have figured this out and are no longer under the illusion that government can solve our many social problems because they are what are causing most of them.

    How can you possibly believe that we can “by force” set up a system which takes money and property from those who it rightfully belongs to, and redistributes the money to those it’s doesn’t rightfully belong to, without serious contraindications; the social side affects that occur because of the foundation and realistic nature of government.

    1. Get rid of taxes:
      1) get rid of the military
      2) get rid of the police
      3) get rid of fire fighters
      4) get rid of education
      5) get rid of hospitals and doctors, engineers, bridges, buildings…
      6) get rid of highways and roads and all modern transportation
      7) get rid of oil, gas and other higly subsidized energy sources
      8) as a result of 1-7, get rid of all store bought food, clothing, and all manufactured goods and services

      Result -> You’re absolutely right! As hunter/gatherers we would definitely live in a greener, more sustainable world.

      The only thing I’m confused about is what, if anything, do inherently unethical political contributions, bribery in short – either directly or through a foundation – have to do with taxes?

      1. Really you don’t know? Special interest groups bribe the politicians to get to the public treasury or get specific project approvals. The taxes you pay of course fund the treasury. Pretty simple. Pay to play.

  6. “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” George Washington

  7. Please find me ONE US Senator or Representative who has not set up a meeting or made an introduction for a donor. Just one. Either party. I’ll wait.

    Why do you think these people make donations?

    You cannot possibly be this naive professor. Your obvious disdain for the Clintons has overtaken your common sense. Furthermore SCOTUS signed off on this very behavior. Remember?

    1. You called it correctly. With the approval of a corrupt Supreme Court, “Pay for play” has become standard operating procedure. Just the other day believe a major financial institution was fined for creating fictitious accounts to illegally bill unknowing clients – the response from one party was not to criticize the financial institution or maybe even demand jail time for the executives of that company. But instead they demand the CFBP be brought under congressional control so it could be politicized and enforcement actions such as this would first need congressional approval……and maybe so those political campaigns could profit from Americans getting ripped off. Shouldn’t we be checking the donations to those politicians?

      For the good of the country, pay for play needs to criminalized. A good start would be public funding of elections.

    2. phillyT – I do not know one Senator or Congressman who has made an introduction because of an donation made to the family charitable foundation. Do you?

      1. You are making a distinction without a difference. People give gifts, they support PACs, the donate to “special causes” that public officials support, they contribute directly to campaigns, and probably a hundred other ways.

        You think there is any difference? I don’t. As Dave says, it happens at every level, from the most local to the national. It’s been this way forever, and most honest people, if you ask them whether they expect something in return, will look at you like you’re crazy because OF COURSE they expect something in return. Donald Trump admitted outright that he’s been doing it his whole career. Directly buying influence.

        Geez Louise.

        1. phillyT – geez, Louise. I donate to the Red Cross but I don’t expect my Senator to give me access.

    3. phillyT, we are not talking about “setting up a meeting or makng an introduction”. Now look in the mirror and see who is really naive.

        1. This: “Hillary Clinton was not some politician but the Secretary of State and the donors were seeking official actions by the United States government.” Not the benign setting up meetings or making introductions, but the actual expectation, requests, and resulting favorable actions by Hillary’s State Dept.

  8. When the Clintons are so protected, it is only natural that they believe they can do whatever they will with impunity.

  9. Clinton is as transparent as Trump’s makeup.

    That said, Orange Rectum engaged on the pay side of pay-for-play for decades, and boastfully so. Buying politicians isn’t exactly patriotic either.

    It’s laughable therefore when Orange Kardashian says he’s not a politician, when really he’s been the grease in the corrupt machine all those years.

    “I alone can fix it,” he impotently proclaimed: but that’s like hiring a rapist to lead a committee on protecting women.

    1. Nice try. Politicians aren’t victims like someone who was raped. They are more the prostitute. They are for sale. They are the problem not the one paying.

  10. Corruption is natural..well there you have it. It’s gone from bribery and a crime to its only natural. No wonder our country is in such a mess! Thanks DNC….you did a hell of a job getting Hillary the nomination.

  11. @mikepouraryan: Ah yes, the endless refrain of, “It’s okay for the Clintons to do it because the Republicans did it first.” Let’s see a bank robber try that logic with a judge. “Lots of people robbed banks before I did.” I’ll bet he still winds up in jail.

  12. Certainly, Clinton’s views sound exactly like those that Trump expressed earlier in the campaign – that’s how things work in politics. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between Bill and Donald on this matter. It seems that the American system may be as corrupt as politics anywhere.

  13. I would hope to see Professor Turley comment on the Trump Foundation payment to Pam Bondi, the Florida AG.

    1. Yes, In the recently leaked documents you will see the phrase: “pay to play donors” with a list of how much a person had to give for an ambassadorship or some other head of govt.

      This is beyond what is normal, this also being expressed explicitly by people in the state dept. There were many concerns being raised about the level of high govt. office being given out. The Obama administration’s/Clinton State Dept. office give away is actually unprecedented in US history. So it’s not normal!

      Please see DNC leak twitter for the list of e-mail where this is completely laid out for all to see.

      As citizens, we should not accept this. We need competent people in positions like this. We also don’t need such corrupt individuals like Obama and Clinton in office. They have done great harm to this nation and will continue to do so as long as we say it is just fine because they are “virtuous” Democrats.

      Corruption stops when the people stop accepting it.

  14. This is the new ‘pay the Clintons and the State Dept will play’ handbook of diplomacy.

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