NY Daily News' Goodwin falsely suggested Bill Clinton has not disclosed his speaking fees

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin falsely suggested that former President Bill Clinton has not disclosed "the paid speeches that he gives around the world." In fact, the sources and amounts of Clinton's speaking fees are disclosed annually in Hillary Clinton's Senate disclosure forms.

On the November 21 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, discussing reports that President-elect Barack Obama will name Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state, New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin falsely suggested that former President Bill Clinton has not disclosed "the paid speeches that he gives around the world." In fact, the sources and amounts of Bill Clinton's speaking fees are disclosed annually in Hillary Clinton's Senate disclosure forms.

Goodwin asserted:

GOODWIN: I think the issue of Bill Clinton still isn't resolved. And, you know, this is something Obama raised on the campaign trail, Bill Clinton's disclosure of the contributors to his presidential library and to his foundation and to the paid speeches that he gives around the world. I mean, Bill Clinton has raised $500 million. We generally do not know where that money has come from.

Contrary to Goodwin's suggestion, Bill Clinton is required to disclose all speaking fees of $200 or more, according to Hillary Clinton's 2008 Senate disclosure form. Should Hillary Clinton remain in the Senate, Bill Clinton's 2008 speaking fees would be included in her 2009 Senate disclosure forms. Should Hillary Clinton become secretary of state, executive branch financial disclosure rules would require her, just as the Senate does, to disclose speaking fees earned by Bill Clinton of $200 or more.

During the same segment, echoing smears of the Clintons that Media Matters for America has previously documented, Politico senior editor Beth Frerking said of Obama's reported decision to appoint Sen. Clinton secretary of state, "I think the other thing that we have to think about is the old adage of 'keep your friends close and your rivals even closer,' " and Wall Street Journal editorial page assistant editor James Freeman stated, "You'd like someone you have confidence that they're going to be working for you and not for themselves, and I think that's the big question with the Clintons."

From the November 21 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

KITTY PILGRIM (guest host): Well, you know, certainly in an international profile, Hillary Clinton is well-recognized and well-known around the world and would be a very good and logical choice for secretary of state. Beth, thoughts on this appointment?

FRERKING: Well, you know, I think one of her most effective times during the campaign, if you'll remember, was the 3 a.m. ad, you know, "Would he be ready for crises around the world?" And that was something that got her a lot of attention and, I think, a lot of support in places early on, you know, during the primaries. I think it is a place that she has strength. And I think the other thing that we have to think about is the old adage of "keep your friends close and your rivals even closer." There are -- you know, there are some people who are saying that the drama that might happen here would be not good for him, but I think he's -- as Robert said, he's pulling people in that he might not see eye-to-eye with on everything, and she does have a lot of respect in terms of her international experience.

PILGRIM: Michael, where does this put her in terms of her political aspirations, though, if she takes this?

GOODWIN: Well, I think they're probably dead, at least for eight years. But I -- before we even get there, I think the issue of Bill Clinton still isn't resolved. And, you know, this is something Obama raised on the campaign trail, Bill Clinton's disclosure of the contributors to his presidential library and to his foundation and to the paid speeches that he gives around the world.

I mean, Bill Clinton has raised $500 million. We generally do not know where that money has come from. Now, Obama's people supposedly are vetting this, but if Obama's people are just going to become part of the secret, I don't think that reassures the public. So, whatever they find out and whatever deals they make with Bill Clinton about avoiding conflicts of interest going forward, I think the public has to be in on the secret now, too.

PILGRIM: Right. This has gone so far, though, it's almost -- it's going to be very hard to turn this around, isn't it, James?

FREEMAN: But it could -- you can't turn it around now. And honestly, I don't see the upside for either Obama or Hillary. She doesn't get to be her own boss anymore, and he hires someone who likes to be her own boss. The Bill Clinton baggage comes with her. I really -- I don't see how it's a winner for either one.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN (Democratic strategist): I think the reason it's a winner, not just regarding Senator Hillary Clinton but the other names that are being discussed for prominent positions in the administration --

FREEMAN: A lot of Clinton administration names. People are saying, "I voted for change. If I wanted the Clintons, I would have voted for her."

ZIMMERMAN: And that is -- and Eric Holder represents tremendous change from John Ashcroft, and Hillary Clinton represents a dramatic change from Condoleezza Rice. If you're looking for change on policy, that comes from the president, and having a team around him that have the leadership and the stature to implement that policy is really what it's all about.

[...]

FRERKING: As someone said earlier, this is about leadership, and I think if it works and he is able to contain her somewhat, that really says something about his leadership. You know, maybe some people would call it a hail-Mary pass -- I don't think you can say that because she has experience. But the fact is, is he's taking a risk and if it works, he wins bigger.

PILGRIM: James?

FREEMAN: Well, I think that's right. I mean, you don't want to be hoping it works out. You'd like someone you have confidence that they're going to be working for you and not for themselves, and I think that's the big question with the Clintons. But Eric Holder, another Clinton administration refugee or veteran -- whatever we want to call him, it's not just the Marc Rich issue. He started this series of memos that -- very controversial -- basically trying to strip away the rights of defendants if they happen to work at a corporation. I know this is something that got Lou pretty angry during these years when those powers were being exercised, and it's going to be interesting to see how that plays as well in the confirmation process.

Network/Outlet
CNN, New York Daily News
Person
Kitty Pilgrim, Michael Goodwin
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs Tonight
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Bill Clinton, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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