Do As the Dems Say, Not As The Dems Do

How much did the Clintons pull in last year? And the year before that? And the year before that? Alot. They finally released some of their financial records.

Now, no one should take them to task for making so much money ($109 million over the last 8 years) but there are some questions about conflict-of-interest and some some sheer hypocrisy concerning their personal finances.

The Wall Street Journal has a very good editorial about this. Some excerpts:

We can also now understand why the couple took so long to release their returns, and are still reluctant to release other information. Their political status has given them access to wealthy folks who’ve helped make them rich. For example, Mr. Clinton raked in as much as $15 million working as an adviser and rainmaker for billionaire financier Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa firm. We’re not sure what advice Mr. Clinton gave but it must have been fabulous. The former President also took in $3.3 million in consulting fees from InfoUSA CEO Vinod Gupta, who has also helped fund Mrs. Clinton’s White House bid. These are not opportunities that fall into every American’s lap.

Meanwhile, the Clintons also made liberal use of the charitable deduction, claiming $10.2 million in charitable giving over the eight years. Intriguingly, nearly all the donations went to the Clinton Family Foundation, which has disbursed only half the money. The Clintons can thus use the foundation for, er, strategic giving, such as the $100,000 it donated last year to a local South Carolina library – the day after Mrs. Clinton debated in that key primary state. There are other examples of such politically targeted philanthropy, and it’s worth noting that most of the foundation’s disbursements came only after Mrs. Clinton announced her Presidential run.

Similar conflict-of-interest questions apply to the separate William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, for which the couple has so far refused to release a list of donors.

That’s the conflict-of-interest part. Now, let’s look at the hypocrisy of their personal finances:

Like other Americans during this tax season, the Clintons have also had to endure the complexity of the tax code. Their 2006 return alone totaled 67 pages. While they can afford a smart accountant to sift through all those forms, would it be too optimistic to think Mrs. Clinton might be inspired by her tax experience to promote tax reform?

Alas, yes. Senator Clinton’s main tax proposal is to repeal the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, raising rates to the levels of the Clinton Presidency. “We didn’t ask for George Bush’s tax cuts. We didn’t want them, and we didn’t need them,” Mrs. Clinton explained.

With friends like Mr. Burkle, clearly they didn’t. But her higher tax rates wouldn’t merely hit those who make $109 million; they’d soak middle-class families that make $100,000 or $200,000 a year and hardly feel “rich.” If the former first lady feels so strongly that she should pay more taxes, we suggest she lay off the middle class and instead write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury for the difference between the Clinton and Bush tax rates. She and her husband can afford it.

The WSJ hit that particular nail right on the head. Those who claim to oppose tax cuts nevertheless take advantage of them and when they call for higher taxes, they never set an example by voluntarily paying the higher rates.

The Clintons are no different on that score. We are simply to do as they say, not as they do.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Clinton Tax Lessons
Wall Street Journal Editorial
April 7, 2008

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One Response

  1. I’m adding all the McCain blogroll members to my feed reader tonite. Great site thanks.

    If you haven’t yet join us over at http://johnmccain2008.ning.com/

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