Given the column today on Hunter Biden, another story stood out in the morning the mix. Barron’s is reporting that Chelsea Clinton raked in $9 million in compensation since 2011 from various corporations by serving on corporate boards. While Chelsea Clinton has not had the record of personal wreckage of Hunter Biden, one could legitimately ask why corporations like IAC/InterActiveCorp (with brands like Tinder, Angie’s List, and Home Adviser) are so eager to have her on the board other than her connection to her still powerful parents.
Clinton was widely panned for her stint at NBC news as a “special correspondent,” a position that journalists derided as a special deal by NBC for her parents.
The issue of such influence peddling and connections can be complex with the children of powerful politicians. The problem with Hunter Biden is that he clearly sought to capitalize on such influence peddling in contracts like the one with Burisma. However, it is also fair for children like Clinton to object that they cannot escape the connection and whatever they achieve is viewed through the lens of suspicion. I was a critic of NBC’s hiring of Clinton at $600,000 a year, who was heavily criticized for her skills and performance. However, Clinton has done more than Biden in writing books, working with Clinton funded charities, and other pursuits. While we can have legitimate concerns over influence peddling, it is also unreasonable to expect the children of powerful politicians to go into self-imposed exile.
Having said that, I remain skeptical over the level of corporate compensation for Chelsea Clinton on these boards as based solely on her own accomplishments. There remains a type of American aristocracy evident in such positions and influence.