“Brothers will be brothers” seems to be the message of Todd Purdum’s article in Politico about Presidential siblings trading on their famous brother’s names, including Hillary’Clinton’s brothers. Purdum’s article sounds like it was dreamed up by Hillary’s spin people and handed to him. Comparing Hugh and Tony Rodham and Roger Clinton to the likes of Donald Nixon, Sam Johnson, and Billy Carter misses the point. The brothers may be similar, but the way the president or candidate treated them is quite different— and that’s the problem.
Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson treated their brothers as embarrassments, concerned that their rogue, off-the-shelf conduct would reflect poorly on their administrations. But Bill and Hillary Clinton have gone out of their way to empower their siblings. Bill granted pardons to their clients, introduced them to money making opportunities,while Hillary plays dumb at every turn.
In describing the “latest imbroglio involving Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham,” Purdum notes Tony’s efforts to get a visa approved for a foreign investor in Clinton friend and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s company while his sister was Secretary of State. But he fails to mention that it was Bill Clinton himself who got the Chinese investor together with Rodham and McAuliffe at the Clinton Global Initiative in Hong Kong in 2008, just days after Hillary nomination as Secretary. Clinton actively promoted the company that received the investment – McAuliffe’s Green Tech Auto, appearing at the opening of the plant.
Purdum also never mentions Tony’s successful lobbying for a Bill Clinton pardon for the owners of a carnival company that could not explain the large payments to Tony – almost $300,000 – as anything other than paying for the pardon they received. Nor does he mention that Hugh’s lucky client was a crack/cocaine kingpin whose father started making large contributions to Democratic party and leaned on influential Democrats to pressure the White House. One of the was Alejandre Mayorkas, the same person who did special favors for Tony on the visa program.
Purdum speaks of Bill’s embarrassment at his brother Roger’s drug arrest while he was governor, but has no comment on the finding of the House Committee and Government Operations in its 2002 report that Bill actually quotes an operative working with Roger Clinton as saying that Roger said that the president “advised him to use his connections to gain financial advantage.” Roger was paid $50,000 to seek a pardon for a member of the Gambino crime family. (he lied about the payment at first – that pardon was not granted) Roger also told the FBI that he received money from foreign governments for himself and to give to his brother. Indeed, the FBI found close to $400,000 in cash and foreign travelers checks deposited in his bank account.
Nor does the article by Purdue tell the full story about the cash-for-visa scandal involving Tony Rodham. At least one of the visa applications was for a Vice-President of Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecom company that has been accused of spying on American industries, pirating American technologies, and providing crucial equipment to our enemies. Huawei has been trying for years to business in the U.S., but we won’t let it in because of its history of cyberspying and reported closeness to the ‘Chinese military. But Tony was all too happy to help Huawei.
Except for stints as a prison guard, bouncer, and private investigator, Tony’s career has been completely based on his family connections. But Tony’s been a busy man lately.
He also picked up a seat on the Board of a company that received the permit to mine for gold in Haiti, again exploiting and making money, this time off Bill’s role as the savior of Haiti after the devastating earthquake there.
How did Tony get the gold mining gig? At a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative where he met the chief executive of the Delaware-based VCS Mining Company.
And now he’s part of a new company seeking the same kind of visa for pay in Philadelphia that got him into trouble with the Inspector General of Homeland Security.
The embarrassment caused previous presidents hit them with little warning. But Bill and Hillary have had more than ample evidence of their shenanigans. And, by opening doors, making introductions, granting pardons and the like, the former first couple are enablers, not bystanders.
Watch for more action by Tony Rodham.