Former Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell nearly got put away in prison for bribery for $177,000 in gifts and trips from a friend in exchange for their help in allegedly getting state approval for a dietary supplement. That is, before the Supreme Court unanimously stepped in this year to overturn his conviction.
But based on the terms under which McDonnell was prosecuted, Hillary Clinton most certainly would have too for in essence renting out the office of Secretary of State to Clinton Foundation donors. Fortunately for her, in McDonnell v. United States, the Supreme Court unanimously interpreted the definition of an “official act” to be far narrower than what federal prosecutors used, which a public official commits in exchange for a gift or loan.
Because otherwise, if Hillary Clinton were Bob McDonnell, she might be on trial now.
Not to say she’s out of the woods yet. With the Associated Press report of Aug. 24 detailing the link between Clinton Foundation donations and more than half of Clinton’s non-governmental visitors as Secretary of State, an official act may not be far off.
The Supreme Court decided that arranging meetings, hosting dinner parties, and contacting government officials on behalf of a Virginia state university to research a nutrition supplement did not directly correlate with official acts by the McDonnell administration to use government power to put forward a specific agenda.
He’s not out of the woods yet, either, having been returned to the 4th Circuit Appeals Court for further proceedings. McDonnell and prosecutors have until Aug. 29 to file briefs in the case.
Clinton must be subject to the same standard as McDonnell.
The Associated Press very openly notes that according to the state department calendars released so far “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.”
The donations to the Clinton Foundation were almost 1,000 time more what McDonnell received, according to the report: “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.”
McDonnell allegedly connected one company to government officials in exchange for $177,000 and was prosecuted and nearly put away in prison, Clinton has 85 connections who donated $156 million and is running for president.
Judicial Watch has continued the scrutiny of Clinton with 725 pages of emails from Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former Deputy Chief of Staff during her time as Secretary of State. These emails show that donators of the Clinton Foundation received, according to the group, “special, expedited access to the Secretary of State. In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band.”
In other words, Clinton and her staff set up a clear indication to those eager to meet with her, make a donation and receive access.
It is still unknown what official acts Clinton might have committed as a result of her meetings with donors. But it must be noted that each company, person or group had the ability to say they had a meeting with the Secretary of State. In many cases, the notoriety of their connection to Clinton could have been enough to raise money or achieve other objectives.
For what McDonnell was arrested for, Clinton has committed regularly. She has provided companies and individuals with access to her office and her foundation profited handsomely with millions of dollars. As Justice Roberts remarked about McDonnell, “there is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that.”
Now that same distaste is near the Oval Office — and it is far worse.