HuffPost reports that the Saudis investment of $2 billion in a hedge fund enterprise run by Jared Kushner is an unwelcome return to the grift and graft of ex-Presidential families. But HuffPost misses the one irrefutable example of grift and graft – the Clinton Foundation.
This could be taken to be the smallest fraction of bias in their reporting of the story.
As background Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, has set up an investment firm, Affinity Partners. It received a $2 billion investment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. Everyone knows this must have had a lot to do with Kushner being the main contact point with the Saudis during the Trump administration.
We would also, if we were being sensible, note that this is an investment fund. Kushner gains a share of the profits from managing the money. It’s not his money to spend as he pleases.
Huff Post also reports that this is different though because “ Third, and probably most importantly, all of the former presidents who commercialized their post-presidencies were either constitutionally prohibited from running again or did not plan on it. “
In other words, sure, other presidents and their families cashed in with speeches and books and board appointments, but this is different because of that possibility of running again. HuffPost suggests this is paying now for future influence.
Consider The Clinton Foundation. From 1997 “through 2016, the foundation had raised an estimated $2 billion from U.S. corporations, foreign governments and corporations, political donors, and various other groups and individuals.“
This wasn’t investment. No one expected their cash back plus profits. This is money that the foundation, i.e. the Clintons, got to spend on anything they wanted.
True, Bill could not run again as he’s constitutionally timed out. It was obvious, however, from 1997 onwards that Hillary was going to run. As she tried in 2008 and again in 2016.
It’s possible – but clearly, only if you are a true cynic — to think that donors may have considered the gaining of some future influence. Maybe. We might even note how donations dropped off a cliff – by more than 90% – between 2016 and 2018 when it became clear that Hillary wasn’t going to run again.
HuffPost ranks 25 in the usual listing of US news and media sites. It’s a major example of this new media. It gains near 70 million visits a month. This is part of the system that shapes political attitudes.
Imagine writing about even the potential for presidential grift and influence buying without mentioning the Clinton Foundation. You know, the organization that had at least one FBI investigation into “influence peddling.” The Boston Globe said “as long as either of the Clintons are in public office, or actively seeking it, they should not operate a charity, too “ in 2016.
Maybe HuffPost should read The Boston Globe.