Monday, April 4, 2016

Revisiting The Clintons of Arkansas's Pre-2016 Presidential Campaign's Pre-1996 Political Record: Part 1

In 2016 the Clintons of Arkansas are campaigning for a third term in the White House after January 21, 2017. Yet the Clintons' political record when Bill Clinton was Arkansas's governor (at the same time that his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, represented Arkansas corporate establishment clients as a corporate lawyer for Arkansas's Rose Law firm and sat on the board of directors of the Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Corporation)--was apparently not considered to be an ethical political record by the Center for Public Integrity. As Charles Lewis and the Center for Pubic Integrity's 1996 book, The Buying Of The President, recalled:

"There is probably no case more instructive of private and public interest and the incestuousness of Arkansas business and political elites than that somewhat complicated affair known as Whitewater. When Clinton was attorney general of Arkansas in 1978, he and Hillary Rodham [Clinton] got into a real estate deal with James B. McDougal and his wife, Susan, to develop 230 acres along the White River in Madison County. An unsecured loan of $20,000 was made by a Little Rock bank to Hillary Rodham as a down payment, and Governor Clinton later hired fellow investor McDougal onto the public payroll. To add conflict upon conflict, McDougal purchased a thrift, Madison Guaranty, represented by Hillary Clinton before state regulators.

"In what might be the clearest quid pro quo for McDougal, Governor Clinton apparently cleared the way for state agencies to move into a building owned by the S&L, for which they paid an estimated $200,000 in yearly rent. The Associated Press discovered an April 23, 1987 memo that recounted allegations made by Greg Hopkins, an attorney working for former Madison official Charles Peacock III. The memo said, `Mr. Hopkins stated that a portion of the loan proceeds made to Dixie Continental leasing [Mr. Peacock's company] went to Bill Clinton's campaign, and that in return for the substantial campaign contribution, Bill Clinton assured Jim McDougal that a state agency would lease space from Madison at its headquarters on Main Street in Little Rock.'

"The Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA), headed by longtime Clinton aide Bob Nash (who served as director of presidential personnel in the Clinton White House), subsequently moved into the building despite protests from within the agency. Other state agencies were also housed in the building.

"No one in Arkansas officialdom or the news media noticed anything peculiar about any of these dealings. As Arkansas columnist John Brummert observed, `Bill Clinton's Arkansas was a place without an opposing party, with a press that was...lax for years in coverage of the underlying financial angle of politics, with politicians and business people who had overlapping and sometimes intimately curious associations.'

"President Clinton declined to be interviewed for this book or to respond to written questions submitted by the Center for Public Integrity..."

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