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For Hillary, There's No Such Thing as Dirty Money | The Nation

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For Hillary, There's No Such Thing as Dirty Money

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With an endorsement of sorts from George Bush, Hillary has now rounded up about all the big names and moneybags in Washington politics. The President predicts she will get the Democratic nomination, and everything seems to be going her way. Never has the adjective "golden" found a more apposite noun to modify than "Ms. Clinton."

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Nicholas von Hoffman
Nicholas von Hoffman, a veteran newspaper, radio and TV reporter and columnist, is the author, most recently, of...

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Bank of America's Ken Lewis has done his bit to reinforce the idea that the CEOs who got us into this mess are a pack of liars.

The woman has always had an affinity for gold. You can trace her appetite for bling back to her Arkansas days, when she was a partner in the Rose Law Firm. Questions arose about her billing clients, which have not yet been satisfactorily answered. Nor have the suspicions about her picking up that quick 100 grand in the commodities market been allayed. The commodities market is where they bet on the price of things like oil and pork belly futures; amateur investors get swindled but not Hillary. No amateur she when it comes to the dough-ray-me.

Hillary escaped political damage from accepting campaign contributions from Norman Hsu, the shadowy businessman who has been accused of bilking investors of $60 million in addition to running afoul of the election laws.

Then there is Pamela Layton. According to the Wall Street Journal:

When Hillary Rodham Clinton held an intimate fund-raising event at her Washington home in late March, Layton donated $4,600, the maximum allowed by law, to Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign.

But the 37-year-old Ms. Layton says she and her husband were reimbursed by her husband's boss for the donations. "It wasn't personal money. It was all corporate money," Mrs. Layton said outside her home here. "I don't even like Hillary. I'm a Republican."

The boss is William Danielczyk, founder of a Washington-area private-equity firm and a major fund-raising "bundler" for Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Layton's gift was one of more than a dozen donations that night from people with Republican ties or no history of political giving. Mr. Danielczyk and his family, employees and friends donated a total of $120,000 to Mrs. Clinton in the days around the fund-raiser.

If Danielczyk did what the article alleges, he could go to jail. Reimbursing your employees for political contributions made in their names with your money is against the law. Whether Hillary's connection to Danielczyk will eventually bite her is anybody's guess. It is believed in the big-money circles where Hillary lives that the practice is common although done with more subterfuge than in Layton's case.

Both of the Clintons seem to have gone money-crazy. Bill is out loose on the world taking enormous amounts of money from anyone who pays him to appear anywhere and bragging about it. With a pension of $186,000 a year plus innumerable other perks, another ex-President might rein in the itchy palm urge, but Bill is not known as a self-control artist. Whether he is also acting as a bag man for his wife is something for future grand juries to investigate.

Joe Trippi, who devised Howard Dean's financing his campaign via the Internet three years ago, has weighed in on the ethics of Hillary's money-raising. Trippi, presently working for John Edwards, ripped into Hillary for

hosting a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., for a select group of lobbyists with an interest in homeland security.

Tickets for the Clinton fundraiser are $1,000 a ticket and $25,000 per bundler. And for that money you get more than a meal--you get to attend one-hour breakout sessions in four different areas of homeland security that will include House Committee Chairs and members of Congress who sit on the very committees that will be voting on homeland security legislation.

That no one in the Clinton campaign--including the candidate--found anything wrong with holding this fundraiser is an indication of just how bad things have gotten in Washington--because there isn't an American outside of Washington who would not be sickened by it.

Trippi may have underestimated American indifference to graft and corruption, but he is right on the essentials. Much good it will do, for Hillary's fondness for the long green has not hurt her, at least so far. Besides, in politics, the adage goes, there is no such thing as dirty money.

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