Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Conflicts-of-Interest and the Clinton Dynasty

Hillary: Her True Story by Norman King described how 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Rose Law Firm connection became an issue during a 1992 Democratic presidential primary debate:

“…On March 15, 1992…in a Washington Post article…Michael Weisskopf and David Maraniss wrote `…The Rose Firm offers the full range of representation before the government, from getting environmental approval from the State Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, to lobbying to protect the poultry industry from strict regulations on animal waste’…

"[Jerry] Brown zeroed in on Tyson Foods, a poultry-products corporation and Rose client.
“… Brown said, `It’s not only corruption. It’s an environmental disaster, and it’s the kind of conflict of interest that is incompatible with the kind of public servant we expect in a President.’
“Moving out from behind the lectern as if about to attack his opponent physically, Bill Clinton shouted: `…You ought to be ashamed of yourself for jumping on my wife. You’re not worthy of being on the same platform with my wife.’
“Brown was amused…`You never answer the question.’
“But Clinton did: `I’m saying that I never funneled any money to my wife’s law firm, ever!’
“Hillary…did not dispute any facts in the Washington Post story…Hillary…said that she had done legal work for Madison Guaranty…She remarked, `For goodness’ sake, you can’t be a lawyer if you don’t represent banks.

Hillary Clinton: The Inside Story by Judith Warner also noted:

“Rose, Arkansas’s second largest law firm, representing the major financial powers of the state, ranked 5th on the list of firms receiving state contracts a few years ago…

“The Rose Law Firm had served as either bond counsel or underwriter’s counsel on every bond issue by the Arkansas Development Finance Authority…Clinton acknowledged his wife had benefited financially, but denied a conflict-of-interest problem…

“Hillary’s positions on the boards of Wal-Mart, TCBY, and Lafarge, from which she earned close to $200,000 in director’s fees over 1986 to 1991, hardly made her a foe of industry…It was reported in April [1992] that an Ohio subsidiary of the Lafarge Corp. from which Hillary was earning $31,000 a year in director fees, was burning hazardous waste in fuel cement plants…”
(Downtown 2/2/94)

Next: Grit TV Host and Blue Grit Author Laura Flanders: A 1991 Downtown Interview—Part 6