Following the money … and the scandal

The campaign finance news just won’t stop.  The $5m loan from Clinton’s “personal” money to her campaign is old news today, for the most part.  What people want to know now is where the money came from.  In a press conference yesterday, Barack Obama suggested that Hillary Clinton should release her tax returns and those of her husband, especially in light of that $5m “loan.”  Obama’s case:

“I’ll just say that I’ve released my tax returns. That’s been a policy I’ve maintained consistently. I think the American people deserve to know where you get your income from. But I’ll leave it up to you guys to chase it down,” he told reporters on the flight to Omaha, Neb., for a rally.

“I’ve disclosed my income tax returns,” he said. “I think we set the bar in terms of transparency and disclosure that has been a consistent theme of my campaign and my career in politics.”

One doesn’t have to go too far back in the future to remember a nice windfall for Bill Clinton in that Kazakhstan deal.  True, that particular $30m or so went to his foundation, but there is a long line of questionable transactions like these that just might make the Clintons hesitant to reveal exactly where their large fortune originated.

The New Republic had an article on Monday outlining some of the Clinton’s shadiest donors.  They detail the donor and the amount of money involved and then rate both the sleaze factor and the damage to the Clintons.  Everyone is there, from Norman Hsu to Peter Paul to Marc Rich and everyone in between.  All told, the article lists 17 questionable donors.  To be fair, the article begins this way:

It’s not that we expect politicians to have squeaky-clean donor lists. You try running for office without, at one point or another, taking money from someone you probably shouldn’t. Even Barack Obama, Mr. Clean, has Tony Rezko. But the Frank Giustra-Kazakhstan-Uranium affair, blown open by The New York Times last week, serves as a reminder that the relationship between the Clintons and money has not always been lily-white. Here, a guide to the unsavory characters who have been associated with Bill and Hillary Clinton. 

And let’s be clear that Mr. Rezko also gave money to folks affiliated with the Clinton campaign.  It was pretty humorous when, after Mrs. Clinton attempted to go after Mr. Obama for his one quasi questionable donor in the face of her at least 17 super questionable ones, this picture of Mr. Rezko with the Clintons surfaced:


 I’d say that’s a pot kettle thing.

Since all of this money talk began, Hillary has been raising money.  She’s made an appeal to her donor base and the donations have rolled in to the current tune of just over $6m.  Unfortunately for her, Obama has once again outraised her by at least $1m and counting.

The money race shows that Obama will be in better stead in a run for the general election.  His folks aren’t even maxed out yet for a primary race; they’ll have a lot left to give for a general election.  He will almost certainly gain new donors, from the Hillary camp, independents, and some Obama-Republicans, which will explode his already fat coffers.  He will need all of this money to run a successful general camapaign (we can debate the much needed campaign finance reform later).  Hillary, however, won’t be able to achieve the same record setting funding.  I can guarantee you that Obama’s donor base will not be as generous with her.

Obama’s voting base will also not be as generous with Hillary.  And in the general election, much of Obama’s voting base could shy away from Hillary in the voting booth, as well.  Obama does very well with white men, a group which could very well vote for McCain in the general.  I’m getting ahead of myself and will save the bulk of this argument for another blog, but it was worth at least touching on here.

In the Wall Street Journal today, Peggy Noonan has a piece called Can Mrs. Clinton Lose?  Here’s an excerpt:

The day she admitted she’d written herself a check for $5 million, Obama’s people crowed they’d just raised $3 million. But then his staff is happy. They’re all getting paid.

That’s of course a reference to what I chronicled in an earlier post, that some Clinton staffers are working for free this month because the campaign is broke.  I won’t beat that dead horse.  But when the main stream media begins to notice, when the MSM begins to herald the end of a candidate, can the electorate be far behind?


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