In a June 20 FoxNews.com article, reporter Greg Simmons wrote that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) found "a potential 'loophole' " in the law that bans candidates for federal office from taking "political contributions from foreigners" because she has access "to the bankroll of her wealthy husband, former President Bill Clinton ... whose income has been significantly enhanced through speeches made in foreign lands." Simmons went on to uncritically report that Cleta Mitchell -- identified only as a "campaign finance attorney ... who represents Republican clients" -- "said she anticipates an outcry from liberal camps over the source of Republicans' wealth once documents are released later this month," yet "doesn't think the Clintons' situation will make much noise." But while Simmons' article itself "make[s] ... noise" about a Democratic presidential hopeful possibly benefiting from what Simmons calls "a potential 'loophole,' " Simmons did not mention a Republican presidential candidate who could tap into personal income derived from speeches overseas -- former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who grossed at least $2 million from foreign speaking engagements between January 2006 and February 2007.
Simmons reported that "two-thirds of the former president's income from speeches -- more than $27 million, including $6.6 million in 2006 -- has been for speaking engagements overseas," and went on to write that "Hillary Clinton would be able to use up to half of any jointly held assets with her husband." He added: "That means Hillary Clinton could spend money earned by Bill Clinton while speaking in Paris, Hong Kong, Bogota or Dubai, just a few of the places overseas where the 42nd president has been paid to deliver a speech." The article went on to cite Mitchell describing Bill Clinton's income from foreign speeches as a potential "issue" and suggesting that Hillary Clinton's finances will not be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as that of her GOP counterparts:
And that poses a problem, said Cleta Mitchell, a campaign finance attorney at the Foley and Lardner firm in Washington, D.C.
"Do I think that's an issue? You bet. ... There ought to be enough public human outcry, that he says, that she says, they won't put any money ... received from foreign governments in our joint bank account," said Mitchell, who represents Republican clients. She said that also should go for any foreign businesses and companies that don't have a principal place of business in the United States.
Mitchell said she anticipates an outcry from liberal camps over the source of Republicans' wealth once documents are released later this month. Conversely, she said she doesn't think the Clintons' situation will make much noise.
"What I do have a problem with is people who will criticize Mitt Romney for creating wealth and jobs for people all over the world ... but they won't criticize Bill Clinton," who is cashing in on his public image, she said.
However, absent from the article was any mention of the fact that Giuliani also earned significant income from foreign speaking engagements. According to his most recent personal financial disclosure report, filed on May 15, 2007, Giuliani grossed nearly $11.4 million from paid speeches between January 2006 and February 2007, including at least $2 million from speeches in foreign countries.