At such a crucial point in the Clinton campaign, the public has yet to hear Hillary articulate a clear message about exactly how she plans to move forward if elected president. Instead, we’ve heard nothing from her side as the attacks keep rolling in.
The controversy du jour centers on foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation and the possibility that Clinton’s State Department may have traded favors in return.
To a large degree, this is a real shame as I know from first hand experience how much great work the Clinton Foundation has done and can do. I have worked personally with them on their commitments to promoting democracy and combatting HIV/AIDS in Ukraine and the results have been nothing short of staggering.
These stories – and there are countless others like them – are not being emphasized nearly enough. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t need answers to very serious questions about where the Clinton Foundation’s money is going if, as reported, so little is going to funding their programs.
This may be a case of just monumental sloppiness, but we won’t know until we get clarity.
Let me be explicit on the point of legality, an issue that has been raised numerous times. The questions themselves center more on appearances and conflicts of interest rather than legal violations. At this point, I see no evidence that anything illegal took place whatsoever.
This hasn’t stopped Clinton from suffering at the polls. In the latest Quinnipiac poll, only 45% of voters said that Hillary Clinton was “honest and trustworthy”. This is a 9-point decrease from a year ago.
There are no two ways about it: if Clinton doesn’t begin to explicitly address the issues at stake, this figure may very well drop lower, especially as the media continues to dig into the stories highlighted in Peter Schweizer’s highly anticipated book, Clinton Cash.
To be sure, the media is right to question the Clinton Foundation’s practices. And the Clintons are also right to point out that the scandals are political maneuvers aimed at compromising Hillary’s candidacy.
Based on the last 48 hours it seems as though the foundation has finally begun to tackle the issues head-on. Maura Pally, the Clinton Foundation’s CEO, recently admitted that “yes, we made mistakes.” She added, “we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don’t happen in the future.”
What might those steps look like? We’re still left to wonder that as talk of re-filing tax returns from the last five years percolates.
My own plan would look something like this. For starters, the Clinton Foundation needs to stop accepting foreign government donations. So long as the foundation continues to accept these donations, the controversies will continue to undermine what otherwise should be a very successful campaign. What’s more, they should probably stop taking foreign gifts altogether. They will hurt more than they help.
If nothing changes, disillusioned voters will rightly question Clinton’s true motives. The “honest and trustworthy” poll figures will continue to slide as the media continues to paint the Clintons as highly self-interested and opportunistic in the extreme. And her Republican counterparts will only continue to gain traction in the polls as a result. Marco Rubio is now in a virtual tie with Hillary and Jeb Bush is making tremendous fundraising strides that will surely translate into jumps in the polls.
The Clinton campaign will waste precious energy fighting controversy after controversy, instead of constructively building a clear message about how to fix America.
These scandals are surely holding Hillary back from being as successful as she should be. Clinton currently has at least a 50% chance to win the election. But if the foreign donations keep rolling in, almost everything she can say or do in foreign policy issues will be tainted by the Clinton Foundation scandals.
Enough is enough. More than re-filing tax returns, the Clinton Foundation needs to completely put a plug in the donations and look into returning any other questionable gifts. Only then can they put a plan together to strengthen the economy and work to improve the nation that the American public will listen to.
Against the backdrop of controversy, all the rest is just noise.