Back in 2008 – when Obama and Hillary were both running for President – Hillary criticized Obama’s dubious connections to a convicted money-launderer and fraudster Tony Resko who had his own political pay-to-play scheme.
But Hillary and her campaign think that it’s totally ridiculous to even suggest that the Clinton Foundation has been anything other than a “life-saving” charitable organization run by the most self-sacrificing public servants in the world. To imply that somehow the foundation was being used as some sort of pay-to-play scheme is unconscionable.
The Associated Press reported recently that over half of all of then-Secretary Clinton’s meetings with private (non-government) individuals were Clinton Foundation donors. This revelation – at the very least – gives the impression that Hillary was granting access to herself and her political connections in exchange for sizable donations to her family’s foundation. But in response, Hillary simply emphasized the foundation’s supposed work in ending HIV and AIDS, and said that there’s “a lot of smoke” but “no fire.”
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, President Obama lauded Hillary Clinton: “There has never been a man or a woman, not me, not Bill, nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”
But eight years ago, the two were sworn enemies. They attacked each other as two politicians vying for power always do.
During their campaigns for president eight years ago, one of the things Hillary blasted then-Senator Obama for was his ties to a pay-to-play schemer and political fundraiser Tony Rezko, a man Hillary referred to as a Chicago “slumlord.” If you’re not familiar with Obama’s close relationship with Rezko, that’s probably because the media then saw only a lot of smoke, but no fire.
As it turns out, Rezko was convicted and jailed for fraud and money laundering in his own pay-to-play scheme. NPR reported in 2011:
Antoin “Tony” Rezko, who was an adviser and fundraiser for convicted former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and also raised money for then-state Sen. Barack Obama before Obama’s election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, was sentenced today to serve seven more years in prison.
Rezko, as The Associated Press says, was convicted in 2008 on charges of “fraud, money laundering and plotting to squeeze $7 million in kickbacks from firms that wanted to do business with the state during Blagojevich’s tenure.” He has been in custody for about 3 1/2 years while awaiting sentencing. That sentencing was delayed while the cases against Blagojevich and several others were tried, even though Rezko was never called as a witness.
The Washington Times is now drawing attention to Hillary’s accusations against her primary opponent in 2008:
Eight years ago, it was Hillary Clinton who was accusing candidate Barack Obama of being swayed by his financial backers, including his connections with Tony Rezko, a fundraiser who was imprisoned for his role in “pay-to-play” schemes involving former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.[…]
The last time Mrs. Clinton ran for president, her campaign was demanding more transparency in Mr. Obama’s relationship with Mr. Rezko, an Obama fundraiser who was convicted in June 2008 of charges tied to a kickback scheme involving the disgraced Blagojevich.
“We still don’t have a lot of answers about Sen. Obama and his dealings with Mr. Rezko,” Mrs. Clinton said in a 2008 interview with a television station in Washington.
In that campaign, Mrs. Clinton also strongly implied that Mr. Obama, then a U.S. senator from Illinois, was swayed in his actions in Congress by donations from the oil industry.
“Barack Obama accepted $200,000 from executives and employees of oil companies,” a narrator says in an ad from the 2008 presidential campaign. “Every gallon of gas takes three bucks from your pocket. But Obama voted for the Bush-Cheney energy bill that put $6 billion in the pocket of big oil. Hillary voted against it.”
Here’s a local news bit about the Obama-Rezko scandal back when it was breaking:
Bill Clinton defended his wife Wednesday regarding the fireless smoke surrounding his “charitable” organization, saying that “if there’s something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don’t know what it is.”
Hillary’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon echoed Bill’s sentiments: “You know what? If any American voter is troubled by the idea that the Clintons want to continue to solve the AIDS crisis on the side while Hillary Clinton is president, then don’t vote for her. But I think most voters are pretty reasonable on that point.”
Tony Resko granted political favors to his business associates in exchange for kickbacks. He could have easily argued that he was only “creating jobs.” He could have said something like, “If there’s something wrong with giving back to my community, than I guess I’m ‘guilty as charged.’ I didn’t know that job-creation and taking care of other people and their families was a crime.”
The whole nature of a money-laundering scheme demands that the illicit funds hide in plain sight. You use an ostensibly legitimate organization – in this case a “charitable” foundation – to funnel your ill-gotten gains. Their “charity” has to at least have the appearance of a charity. They have to give some of their money away to various causes, making it look like any other charity.
But it doesn’t take a genius to see that the Clinton Foundation was little more than a conduit to finance the Clintons’ lifestyle.
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