In a July 26 article, the New York Post reported that "Peter Cook, who humiliated his supermodel wife, Christie Brinkley, by bedding a doe-eyed teen in the Hamptons, has given thousands in campaign cash to [Sen.] Hillary Rodham Clinton [D-NY]." The Post went on to report that it asked Clinton whether she would return Cook's campaign contributions. Now that the New York Post has decided to start asking candidates if they will return contributions connected to people who have committed adultery, fairness demands that the Post apply this standard consistently.
In the July 26 edition of the New York Post, which featured a front-page photo of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) with former supermodel Christie Brinkley and her husband, architect Peter Cook, below the caption, "Hillary, the Brinkleys & $13G," the paper reported, in an extraordinary article headlined "HEEL HAIL$ HILL," that "Peter Cook, who humiliated his supermodel wife, Christie Brinkley, by bedding a doe-eyed teen in the Hamptons, has given thousands in campaign cash to Hillary Rodham Clinton." The Post went on to report that it asked Clinton whether she would return the campaign contributions:
Asked by The Post whether she will return the contributions, Clinton said, "I'll have to look into it."
Clinton refused to answer further questions about Cook, waving her hand and turning away with no reply.
Campaign aide Ann Lewis later said, "Senator Clinton has met Peter Cook. We do not intend to return his contributions."
Cook's Clinton donations were spread out between 2001 and 2004, long after his sex romps with pop singer Samantha Cole, who was then about 18, and just before he picked up Bianchi, now 19, last summer.
Like his cheating ways, Cook's contributions to Clinton appear to be a summer tradition.
Now that the New York Post has decided to start asking candidates if they will return contributions connected to people who have committed adultery, fairness demands that the Post apply this standard consistently. For example:
- Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation, which owns the New York Post, is on his third wife -- an employee with whom he began an affair while still married to his second wife. Murdoch is a major political donor: Recipients of his largesse include the Republican National Committee and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Murdoch's News Corp. has given candidates and parties -- mostly Republican -- millions more over the years. Will the New York Post ask politicians who have taken money from Murdoch whether they plan to return it because of his reported infidelity? Murdoch recently hosted a fundraiser for Clinton; does Murdoch's New York Post think the proceeds from that fundraiser are tainted and should be returned?
- While serving as mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani's marriage to Donna Hanover collapsed, reportedly due to his relationship with "special friend" Judith Nathan -- which was itself reportedly preceded by a relationship between Giuliani and his City Hall communications director, Cristyne Lategano. Giuliani has his own political action committee, Solutions America, from which he makes contributions to candidates. So far, this cycle, Giuliani has used the PAC to make contributions to Republican Senate candidates Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and Rep. Mark R. Kennedy (MN) and congressional candidates, including Rep. John E. Sweeney (NY) and National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (NY). Will the New York Post ask politicians who have taken money from Giuliani to return it because of his reported serial infidelity?
- There are likely countless other donors to political candidates who have had affairs; will the New York Post now pour through the FEC reports of potential presidential candidates, asking if contributions from adulterers will be returned? Or is this treatment reserved only for Clinton?
Earlier this year, The New York Times devoted a 2,000-word front-page article to exploring the state of the Clintons' marriage, touching off a firestorm of media speculation about the topic. As Media Matters for America noted at the time, prominent Republicans have not been subjected to similar treatment.