Published on FoxNews.com on January 18, 2008.
As American banks go hat in hand to foreign financial institutions and governments, begging for capital to help them get out of the mess into which their subprime loans have landed them, the question arises as to whether the United States should permit nations like China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the banks they control to acquire part ownership of our leading banks.
The presidential candidates discussed this issue in their Nevada debate and Hillary was asked about it in an interview with Neil Cavuto on the FOX Business Network yesterday. She replied that she would not “stand in the way” of such investments, but said that they needed to be vetted and called for more disclosure and “transparency.”
The fact is that Hillary Clinton is totally unable to be objective on this key question of our national financial sovereignty because she and her husband have been so compromised by their financial dealings with the very countries at issue in the decision.
Should the Saudi monarchy be permitted to purchase an important equity position in some of America’s leading banks? How can Hillary be objective when the very same monarchy donated $10 million to the Clinton Library and Foundation?
Should the UAE be allowed in? How can Hillary decide fairly when Bill -and therefore herself – have been getting a reported $10 million per year from a fund that administers the investments of the Emir of Dubai, the largest component state in the UAE?
The Dubai Ports deal compromised our national security by putting key points of entry in that nation’s control. But the infusion of capital and the acquisition of equity in our key banks has the potential to make that encroachment on our sovereignty seem piddling by comparison.
Neither Dubai nor Saudi Arabia would be permitted to contribute to Hillary’s campaign. Foreigners are not allowed to do so, precisely to avoid having potential office holders compromised by gratitude for their financial support. But these nations have used the porous ethics of the Clinton family to acquire positions of massive influence by making contributions, not to her campaign, but to her personal bank account – either through Bill or through the Library and Foundation, which the Clintons directly control. The extent of the influence their millions must buy with a family only recently, according to Hillary, in the “middle class”must be huge.
And it is for exactly this kind of situation that the Clintons should be required to divulge the extent of their involvement with foreign interests and exactly how much money their personal bank accounts and their Library/Foundation have received. (The Saudi donation to the Library and Foundation was only discovered by the New York Times when the information was inadvertently posted on the Library’s Web site. Soon after the story appeared, it was taken down. The Clintons refuse to reveal the donors to the Library or the related Foundation.) Hillary and Bill have also refused to release their income tax returns, despite the fact that Bill willingly released his when he was running for president.
Why hasn’t Barack Obama or John Edwards even mentioned this issue? Their attacks on Hillary’s links to lobbyists and other special interests are usually painted with a broad brush. But the journey of America’s banks abroad in search of a bailout makes this specific conflict a key question of policy and highly relevant to their campaigns. What better illustration could one have of Hillary’s conflicts of interest than this one?