Published in the New York Post on January 13th, 2009
Former President Bill Clinton’s massive financial ties with Arab governments raise serious questions for his wife as she tries to clear Senate confirmation and become secretary of state.
The disclosure of Clinton’s finances (wrung out of him by the Obama transition team) shows that the family, through its personal finances and those of Bill’s nonprofits, has received tens of millions from the royal families in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, Oman, Brunei and Abu Dhabi.
While these funds were nominally paid to Bill Clinton, they inure to the benefit of his wife, as well. Never have we had a secretary of state who has profited so handsomely from foreign governments.
Bill Clinton has refined the sale of access to an art form. Now there is a big potential for selling access to the secretary of state by retaining her husband to give speeches or by donating to his presidential library or foundation. In view of this danger, his wife must answer some crucial questions at her confirmation hearings.
Still more questions are raised by Bill’s financial relationship with the emir of Dubai. Clinton got millions from his association with supermarket magnate Ron Burkle in an investment group called Yucaipa. Most of that money likely came from a partnership managing private investments of the emir, one of the world’s wealthiest men.
During Hillary’s presidential campaign, Bill claimed that he was moving to terminate his relationship with Burkle and the emir – but there have been no further reports of what eventuated. Since this involves personal income to the Clintons, it is imperative to know the status of those relationships.
So here are the questions the senators must ask Hillary:
1) Does your husband have any ongoing financial relationship with the emir of Dubai directly or indirectly through Yucaipa, Ron Burkle or any other entity? What is the nature of that relationship? Does your husband stand to get any further payout from the emir, Burkle or Yucaipa? If so, how much and for what services? And, if he sold his interest, how much was he paid?