Bill Clinton lists 2,922 pages of rich friends so Hillary can make more (friends)
For somebody who left office in 2001 with what to an ordinary human would seem a staggering personal debt, ex-President William J. Clinton has done all right, both for himself and for his Clinton Foundation.
He and his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, successfully resisted requests and demands to see the donor lists of his foundation in recent years. But apparently as part of a transparency agreement between the Clintons and President-elect Barack Obama's transition team as a condition of the senator's impending appointment as secretary of State, the ex-president released 2,922 pages of foundation donor names today.
It reads like a "Who are they?" file of the globe's rich people and governments. Saudi Arabia, Norway and Jamaica, for instance, have donated millions of the $492 million given to the foundation. (Something else to think about: That awesome sum is still not quite 66% of the amount poured into Obama's presidential campaign.)
Clinton has said he will continue to release contributors' names as long as his wife is secretary of State, which she isn't yet. The Obama transition team apparently trusts that the cleansing power of daylight will prevent or cover any potential conflicts of interest.
The list includes sources as varied as Bill and Melinda Gates, Stephen Bing, an arm of the World Health Organization and the Princess Diana Memorial Fund.
But you just know that every time H. Clinton travels somewhere on Obama administration business someone somewhere will be combing the foundation database to see if her host is among the charitable many who might seek favors from her.
Here's a helpful news video that outlines the difficulties.
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photo: Associated Press