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The Clintons' Multi-Million Dollar Dubai Conflict-of-Interest By: Tom Fitton
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In the most recent Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama threw off their gloves and attacked each other for their suspicious and scandalous ties.  And you know what?  They were both right!

Here’s a story this week that makes my point with respect to Hillary:

According to the Wall Street Journal:  “Former President Clinton stands to reap around $20 million -- and will sever a politically sensitive partnership tie to Dubai -- by ending his high-profile business relationship with the investment firm of billionaire friend Ron Burkle.  Mr. Clinton is negotiating to end his relationship with Mr. Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. as part of a broader effort to protect the presidential campaign of his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, from potential conflicts of interest.”

It’s a little late to worry about conflicts of interest, don’t you think? 

Hillary has served in the Senate during Bill Clinton’s tenure with Yucaipa, which began in 2002, all the while in a position to vote on issues that could impact Burkle’s (and, through Bill, Hillary’s) empire.  Bill Clinton voiced no concern about a potential conflict of interest when he was handed a large stake in Yucaipa with no risk and very little work required.  Now he can just collect the checks.

Moreover, this $20 million payoff does nothing to eliminate the conflict of interest.  In fact, it makes it worse.  Presumably, since Hillary Clinton shares a bank account with former President Clinton, they can use the money to fund her candidacy for president, if she so chooses.  Overall, Burkle has contributed large amounts of cash to the Clintons’ campaigns, their legal defense fund, and to the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, ArkansasThe question is, and has always been, what will Ron Burkle get in return for his generosity to the Clintons?  Especially if Hillary wins the presidency.

Now Obama, for his part, was slammed for ties to indicted political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, or as Hillary called him, “a slumlord.”  This is an apt description.  Rezko owned dozens of low-income housing structures beset by code violations and 11 of them were in Obama's state senate district.  Some of these buildings had no heat in the dead of winter.  Rezko, who received millions in government grants to rehab the buildings, said he had no money to repair them.  He did, however, have enough money to fund Obama’s campaigns.  (You will also recall that Obama was involved in a suspicious land deal with Rezko.  I’ve written about that extensively.)  In fact, Obama sought to return (to charity) more Rezko money when it was revealed by the Chicago Sun-Times that Obama was referenced in court documents as benefiting from illegal Rezko contributions.

(By the way, a photo surfaced recently that suggests Hillary may have her own Rezko scandal to worry about.  Check it out here.)

So the Clintons reap millions as a result of partnering with a foreign government and Barack is in deep with an indicted businessman.  These are troubling times for those of us concerned about pubic corruption.     

Tom Fitton is president of Judicial Watch.

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