On MSNBC and Fox News, Amanda Carpenter touted the purportedly damaging charge in her new book that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will use "foreign money" made by her husband to mount a potential presidential campaign for 2008. Carpenter asserted that it is "alarming ... that there are millions of dollars in foreign money available to fund Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign as we speak."
On the October 17 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, the October 16 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, and the October 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Human Events assistant editor Amanda Carpenter touted the purportedly damaging charge in her new book, The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy's Dossier on Hillary Clinton (Regnery, October 2006), that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) will use "foreign money" made by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to mount a potential presidential campaign for 2008. Carpenter asserted that it is "alarming ... that there are millions of dollars in foreign money available to fund Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign as we speak," and that Sen. Clinton's access to that money, allegedly held in a joint checking account with her husband, represents a "loophole" in campaign finance laws. In fact, public officials from both parties presumably benefit from spousal income, and many Republicans -- including President Bush -- have access to "foreign money," as defined by Carpenter, to finance their political campaigns.
On The Big Story, Carpenter described Sen. Clinton's access to "foreign money" allegedly held jointly with her husband as a "loophole," because, she falsely asserted, "campaign finance creators never considered this scenario." The Supreme Court decided that candidates have a First Amendment right to spend their personal funds without limit, but federal law does limit a candidate's access to spousal wealth. When assets are owned jointly, a federal candidate's "personal funds" includes "the value of 1/2 of the property," unless the candidate and spouse have specified a different share in an "instrument of conveyance or ownership" of the property. Property solely owned by a candidate's spouse is not defined as the candidate's personal funds and cannot be used by the candidate, as was reported when Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) mortgaged his house in order to finance part of his campaign, unable to dip into assets owned solely by his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
Moreover, with regard to the second component of Carpenter's complaint about Sen. Clinton -- that her potential campaign will have access to "foreign money" and, as Carpenter asserted on Hannity & Colmes, that Sen. Clinton has "gotten rich from foreign money and corporations" -- Clinton would hardly be unique among candidates from either party in having access to "foreign money." According to his most recent personal financial disclosure, House Majority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) jointly held assets are valued at $750,000-$1,550,000 and include mutual funds, such as EuroPacific Growth Fund Class A and SMALLCAP World Fund Class A, with investments in foreign corporations. SMALLCAP World Fund includes shares in China Mengniu Dairy Co., which is headquartered in China and describes itself as the "top liquid milk producer in China by sales volume in 2003."
Similarly, much of Vice President Dick Cheney's wealth comes from his tenure as CEO of Halliburton. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) wrote of Cheney's Halliburton leadership: "During Cheney's tenure at Halliburton revenue more than doubled, thanks in part to Cheney's ability to secure overseas business for the firm. By the time Cheney left the firm, in the summer of 2000, overseas operations accounted for 68 percent for total revenues, up from 51 percent when he arrived." Bush also had business dealings with foreign countries. In 1986, Bush became a director of the Harken Energy Corporation. An April 19, 1992, New York Times article reported:
Mr. Bush has also helped Harken raise outside capital and acquire other companies. Foreign investors have been important. A Saudi Arabian investor, for example, purchased 17 percent in 1987, a transaction that the company says did not directly involve Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bush sold a large share of his Harken stock on June 22, 1990, at about $4 a share, for $848,000.
Money taken by candidates can also come from subsidiaries and employees of international corporations. For instance, CPI's "Buying of the President 2004" project noted that Bush received $538,850 from employees of Credit Suisse First Boston and its PAC for his 2004 presidential re-election campaign. CPI included "individual, corporate and PAC contributions" to his "gubernatorial, congressional presidential campaigns, inaugural committees, and recount fund through June 30, 2004." Credit Suisse First Boston is part of the Credit Suisse Group, which, according to its website, is "a leading global financial services company headquartered in Zurich [Switzerland]."
During Carpenter's appearance on Hannity & Colmes, frequent guest host and National Review editor Rich Lowry vowed of Bill Clinton's source of income: "I guarantee you this will be a huge issue if she's actually a presidential candidate. There's no doubt about it." Co-host Alan Colmes called Carpenter's book a "smear piece" and also accused Carpenter of "a McCarthyite tactic," for suggesting that Sen. Clinton is "using 'Communist cash' " because Bill Clinton earned part of his money from addressing a company whose CEO "was at one time a committee member in the Chinese government."
From the October 17 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:
CARPENTER: But this is indicative of a larger problem -- one that I bring up with Hillary Clinton in the Dossier that I just authored -- that I really would encourage reporters like A.B. [Stoddard] to go after is the foreign money that her husband, Bill Clinton, has been raising internationally in the form of speaking fees. I mean, there's all kinds of unsavory money transactions that are happening on Capitol Hill right now. Hillary Clinton has a larger of conflict interest that -- you know this is small potatoes compared to.
CARLSON: If that foreign money is going to campaigns, of course, that's a violation of federal law, and I haven't --
CARPENTER: Actually, it's not. Actually, from what I uncovered in my book -- in fact --
CARLSON: Since when?
CARPENTER: I can explain it right here -- is that Bill Clinton has gotten more than $20 million in foreign money. You can look this up on the Senate financial disclosure forms that I include in the back of my book with Hillary Clinton's signature. This comes from the People's Republic of China --
CARLSON: All right, I'm sure he has. That --
CARPENTER: -- other places like this.
CARLSON: OK, but if that's going to campaigns, that's a big problem.
CARPENTER: But he has a joint checking account -- here, here's how it could work out, Tucker.
CARLSON: OK, give me -- give me the short version.
CARPENTER: Here we go. They have a joint checking account. I talked with campaign finance lawyers. Hillary Clinton is entitled to half of it. That can be rolled into her campaign. That's a loophole. I talked to Senator Russ Feingold [D-WI]. It's something they never considered.
CARLSON: Huh. Interesting.
CARPENTER: You read all about it in the Dossier.
CARLSON: Well, look, if it turns out that money from Red China, as they used to call it -- and probably should still call it -- is going into Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, you know, there's a story.
CARPENTER: Well, I asked Senator Clinton if she'd use any of her personal money. She won't deny it, so it's up to her to declare that. That'd be a step in the right direction.
From the October 16 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:
GIBSON: Amanda, what is it we possibly do not know about Hillary Clinton at this late date?
CARPENTER: The most alarming thing that I found in doing my research for the Dossier was the fact that there are millions of dollars in foreign money available to fund Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign as we speak. I found this by looking at her Senate financial disclosure forms that she's required to give to the U.S. Senate.
And what I found in there is that Bill Clinton has made more than $20 million in foreign money since he left the White House. This comes from places like the People's Republic of China, the United Arab Emirates, Colombia. There's a lot of unscrupulous places that he's been taking this money.
GIBSON: Amanda, isn't that -- isn't that his -- isn't that his speaking fee money? Are you saying that money's gone into her campaign?
CARPENTER: Well, as of right now, it's not in her campaign, but the fact right now is, is that they have a joint checking account worth between $5 and $20 million. And I spoke with campaign finance lawyers who confirm to me that Hillary Clinton can use that foreign money. Now, campaign finance creators never considered this scenario. I also talked to other people on Capitol Hill that said this is essentially a loophole that Hillary Clinton will be able to exploit.
From the October 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
COLMES: And here's what you say. You say the CEO -- but -- but why the smear piece on Hillary Clinton, by the way?
CARPENTER: This is absolutely not a smear piece.
COLMES: Oh, come on.
CARPENTER: I want to tell --
COLMES: It's exactly a smear piece.
CARPENTER: -- the people right now, when they go to the bookstore, don't even read my words first. Look in the back of the appendix of the book. Right there in the back, we have her tax forms that show all the international places where Bill Clinton has been raising money that is available for her campaign.
COLMES: All right. Let me give you an example of one of the arguments.
CARPENTER: Go ahead.
COLMES: You say the CEO of a company that Bill Clinton addressed was at one time a committee member in the Chinese government and that, because that advances Clinton's family income, which, of course, they can use for races, you accuse her of using "Communist cash." This is like a McCarthyite tactic --
CARPENTER: It absolutely is not.
COLMES: This is like a McCarthy tactic -- "Communist cash."
CARPENTER: Well, I'm going to cut you off right now.
COLMES: All right, cut me off. Go ahead.
CARPENTER: But right now -- she has not used the money. The fact is, right now, is that it is available for her campaign. And the fact is that Bill Clinton's been paid more than $20 million --
COLMES: All right. Good for him. You don't believe in capitalism?
CARPENTER: -- from the People's Republic of China, from Dubai, from places in Colombia. That's more than $20 million --
COLMES: Dubai who Bush wanted to do the ports deal with? That same Dubai?
CARPENTER: Hillary Clinton has gotten rich from foreign money and corporations, knowing this, knowing that it's available for her campaign, knowing that I asked her personally on Capitol Hill in my work for Human Events if she would use her personal money. She dismissed it. She won't deny it's available.
COLMES: Well, she might. A lot of people use personal --
CARPENTER: She can't be trusted to back U.S. interests, knowing this fact.
COLMES: Well, let me ask you this also.
CARPENTER: And now that you see Bill Clinton doing all these things internationally and raising this kind of money, you realize that he is going to become the gatekeeper to her.
And the fact that he can go back in the White House and do this kind of stuff, and she -- you know, you were talking about [Sen.] George Allen [R-VA] earlier making this kind of money from a stock. Where is Bill Clinton getting it? We have problems with [Senate Democratic Leader] Harry Reid [NV]. We have a problem with K Street. Bill Clinton is being lauded -- lobbied constantly by international interests. He is married to a U.S. senator that's making policy.
LOWRY: I guarantee -- I guarantee you this will be a huge issue if she's actually a presidential candidate. There's no doubt about it.