A few days ago, I wrote about how Hillary Clinton hit Barack Obama over shady nuclear industry dealing in 2008. Unsurprisingly, another problematic video has surfaced for the Clintons, and it has to do with foreign donations this time. For this one, we have to turn the clock back to 1996 for this ad where the Clinton-Gore campaign blasted Bob Dole for shady foreign donations. Here’s the video, courtesy of the Museum of the Moving Image:
To provide some background, here’s an excerpt from a Senate report on the matter, via the Washington Post:
Late in the 1996 presidential campaign, public reports surfaced about foreign donations to the Democratic Party and the DNC’s improper provision of White House access to well-heeled foreign nationals. The White House succeeded in preventing the bubbling scandal from derailing the President’s re-election, but these efforts could not prevent an ever more complex tale of campaign lawbreaking from coming to light, thus sparking an ongoing series of Congressional and criminal investigations that have so far involved the White House, the DNC, several government agencies, hundreds of witnesses, and several foreign countries
After the November 1996 elections, the U.S. Senate determined to investigate allegations of campaign finance wrongdoing. The resolution authorizing the investigation contained a significant flaw, however – a deadline set only nine months after the start of the investigation
The imposition of the December 31, 1997 deadline virtually invited witnesses to engage in obstructive tactics, perhaps none more so than the DNC and the White House. This obstruction, combined with the sheer complexity of the investigation, made this deadline the single greatest obstacle faced by the Committee’s inquiry. Moreover, more than 45 witnesses either fled the country or refused to cooperate by citing their Fifth Amendment privilege against self incrimination. Despite the Committee’s request for help, President Clinton took no action whatsoever to persuade such individuals to cooperate. Nevertheless, the Committee was able to answer many important questions and to uncover evidence that strongly suggests answers to others.
When all was said and done with the investigation, the DNC was fined $115,000 and the Clinton-Gore campaign was fined $2,000.
This gives us plenty of ammunition to hit Clinton with.* In addition to spotlighting the time they hit Bob Dole over these donations, it brings to light the fact that, while President, Bill Clinton signed an executive order banning foreign lobbying, and it highlights the 42nd President’s role in 1990s campaign finance reform. It also shows us how the Clinton administration made no real effort to insure that witnesses called before the committee gave honest responses–or even to insure that many of them would even show up!
Of course, 1996 is ancient history to much of America. After all, there will be people casting their first vote in a Presidential election in 2016 who were born during Clinton’s second term in office. However, when you have a family that has been as omnipresent in American politics over the past quarter century as the Clintons, it’s always important to remind people that they’re just as shady as they’ve always been. Hopefully, should Hillary be the nominee, our nominee won’t shy away from reminding people of all of this.
*=This ad is also a nice reminder of the days when $2.4 million was a large sum in a Presidential campaign.