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My: THIS IS FOR TRUMP SUPPORTER:When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, friends of her high-powered husband sought favors-and nothing much happened. She met with some of them. Aides sent follow-up emails. Later, as a private citizen, she earned a lot of money giving paid speeches.These are the main takeaways from years of digging by Clinton’s worst enemies, armed with subpoenas, court orders and the investigative power of the FBI. Bill and Hillary Clinton have undoubtedly mastered the revolving door that rewards powerful officials with the best spoils of capitalism once they leave office. Many Americans find the Clintons skeevy. Hillary Clinton is paying for that with terrible popularity rankings that threaten a presidential campaign that might otherwise be a shoo-in.But if the revelations about Clinton’s ethical lapses are the worst thing going on in the US government, then we must have the cleanest government in the world. Here are a few reminders of what real corruption looks like:- In Malaysia, the prime minister and other top officials have been charged with stealing $3.5 billion from a public fund meant to finance business development in the country. That’s 15 times as much money as the Clintons have earned (legally) since Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001. The pilfered Malaysian money bought mansions, artwork, a jet and much more.- In Brazil, the prime minister just resigned amid a huge scandal involving two giant companies paying kickbacks to government officials in exchange for lucrative contracts and other favors.Critics of the Clintons are convinced many dirty deeds remain undiscovered. They’re sure there must have been blatant quid pro quos in which wealthy donors to the Clinton Foundation got big favors in return from Hillary Clinton’s State Department. Could be. But the facts, so far, don’t support that. What we do know reveals little more than the mundane realpolitik of government.In 2010, for instance, the US government approved a takeover deal that directly benefited at least five prominent donors to the Clinton Foundation. Did they donate the money to curry favor with the Clintons? There’s no way to know, but it’s certainly possible. Would the approval have come if the men had no connection to the Clintons or their foundation? Probably. The State Department, headed by Clinton at the time, was only one of several agencies that had to approve the deal, and there’s no evidence Clinton lobbied other agency heads to sign off. There’s no smoking gun, and perhaps no gun. Meanwhile, business people with friends in high office seek favors all the time. That’s why Washington, D.C., is home to 11,000 lobbyists.Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State was an obvious effort to escape certain types of scrutiny (which, ironically, has completely backfired). It looks sneaky and is one of many reasonsroughly two-thirds of Americans say they don’t trust her. But as far as we know, there was nothing illegal about this.Clinton was obviously sloppy in the way she handled classified information. But not as sloppy as former CIA Director David Petraeus, who deliberately gave classified information to a woman writing a biography about him–who was also his extramarital lover. Now THAT was a scandal, with an actual smoking gun. Petraeus resigned.As for State Department dissembling after the tragic Benghazi attack in 2012, in which four Americans died, it seems pretty clear Clinton and her top aides were trying to spin a terrible event as less terrible. Where could she have gotten that idea, except from every other government official, ever.You could even argue that the extraordinary scrutiny of everything involving the Clintons is reassuring in a way, because it has turned up so little. Even Peter Schweizer, author of the damning portrait “Clinton Cash,” struggles to say what, exactly, the Clintons have done wrong. The smoking gun, he says, is a “pattern of behavior” in which the Clintons continually cash in on their connections. One might add obliviousness to their list of sins, since they seem unaware of their own sketchiness. Still, that’s not a crime.There is plenty of corruption in the US government, of course. Much of it is legal, including the control wealthy political donors exert over legislation and public policy–no charitable foundation required. Every interest group in Washington has a favored legislator, or 50, who can be counted on to slip favorable language into a bill or protect a key tax break year after year. Defense contracts are deliberately fattened up and spread across all 50 states to guarantee vastly more spending than necessary. The US Postal Service remains an uncompetitive charity case in part because members of Congress refuse to allow even the sleepiest post office to close, lest three constituents be inconvenienced.Donald Trump has his own float in this parade of dubious ethics. His charitable foundation–what is it with foundations?–made a $25,000 donation to the reelection campaign of the Florida attorney general in 2013, at a time when she was considering launching a probe of the now-defunct Trump University. Turns out charities aren’t allowed to make political donations, plus, the Trump Foundation failed to disclose the transaction on its IRS forms and later paid a $2,500 penalty for the lapse. No big deal, says Trump. It’s not like he works for the government, after all.Rick Newman’s latest book is Liberty for All: A Manifesto for Reclaiming Financial and Political Freedom. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.–election.html


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