On a trip to Moscow early in her tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton played the role of international saleswoman, pressing Russian government officials to sign a multibillion-dollar deal to buy dozens of aircraft from Boeing.
A month later, Clinton was in China, where she jubilantly announced that the aerospace giant would be writing a generous check to help resuscitate floundering U.S. efforts to host a pavilion at the upcoming World’s Fair.
Boeing, she said, “has just agreed to double its contribution to $2 million.”
Clinton did not point out that, to secure the donation, the State Department had set aside ethics guidelines that first prohibited solicitations of Boeing and then later permitted only a $1 million gift from the company. Boeing had been included on a list of firms to be avoided because of its frequent reliance on the government for help negotiating overseas business and concern that a donation could be seen as an attempt to curry favor with U.S. officials.
The November 2009 episode was an indicator of a mutually beneficial relationship between one of the world’s major corporations and a potential future president. Clinton functioned as a powerful ally for Boeing’s business interests at home and abroad, while Boeing has invested resources in causes beneficial to Clinton’s public and political image.
Boeing’s largesse on behalf of the U.S. pavilion at the Shanghai expo was helpful to Clinton at a critical moment as she made it her priority to woo support from corporations to revive the American presence at the event.
She was widely credited with orchestrating a turnaround, and the can-do image she cultivated as secretary of state has contributed to her status as a Democratic front-runner ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign.
In 2010, two months after Boeing won its $3.7 billion Russia deal, the company announced a $900,000 contribution to the William J. Clinton Foundation intended to rebuild schools in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. The foundation, which Hillary Clinton now helps lead with her husband and daughter, has become a popular charity for major corporations.
The company’s ties came into play again this month when its in-house lobbyist, former Bill Clinton aide Tim Keating, co-hosted a fundraiser for Ready for Hillary, the super PAC backing her potential presidential run.
How very convenient this entire relationship is. Hillary Clinton was allowed to set aside ethical guidelines, she got contributions made to the Clinton Foundation, she made herself look good as secretary of state, and she won a potentially powerful supporter for her presidential ambitions. I guess that we are not supposed to care about any of this, since we are told that a new Clinton presidency is all but inevitable, and since protesting that a new Clinton presidency may not be the most desirable thing on the planet is seen as wrong, somehow. But being the rebel that I am, I cannot help but be more than a little concerned that these all-too-convenient deals might put Hillary Clinton in the White House . . . where more all-too-convenient deals can be made that might not look so good when exposed to the light of day.