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Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2001 / 13 Shevat, 5761

Bill O'Reilly

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Consumer Reports

How the Clintons do it -- DO YOU CARE about the gifts the Clintons received while inhabiting the White House? I don't. If people want to give the first couple stuff, that's fine with me. But if they then turn around and do the old "quid pro quo routine" and allow those gifts to influence public policy, that's when I start caring.

The Clintons have always been bold in their dubious dealings because they fully understand the short attention span of the American public and the reticence of the elite media to investigate the powerful -- especially the powerful with whom they ideologically agree.

Therefore Mrs. Clinton gladly accepted an $8 million dollar book advance, even though she knew full well that Senate bylaws require ethics reviews of such business transactions. However, she took the cash a few weeks before being sworn in. So, technically, she did not break any Senate rules.

What about ethics, you ask? Well you can keep asking until the earth melts, but you'll never get an answer from Hillary. And if you ask in public, you'll immediately be labeled a "Clinton hater."

Everybody knows there is something fishy about the Marc Rich pardon President Clinton signed at 4 a.m. on his last day in office. Rich, a fugitive living in Switzerland, spread plenty of cash around to various charities and political people. It has been well documented that his ex-wife was a big Clinton donor.

Yet Clinton will not explain himself, saying only that the pardon was legal. He also will not explain why he wants to rent an office in Manhattan that would cost the taxpayer about $700,000 a year. Of course, once there's an outcry over something the Clintons do -- they reverse strategy. They are now returning the gifts they took during their last year in office, and Clinton's "library fund" will pay part of his office rent.

This "library fund" is another very questionable enterprise. The former president spent a considerable amount of time during his last year in office running around the country raising money for his presidential library, which is to be built in Little Rock, Ark. Dollar Bill has raised far more money than he needs to build the library, so now he can pay some rent in Manhattan with the "surplus." Bill Clinton loves that word "surplus." It has been very, very good to him.

The point here is that the Clintons are ethically challenged, but you already knew that. The larger question is why they remain so popular. The answer lies in their acceptance by the elite media. Recently, The New York Times editorialized about Hillary: "We applaud her decision to forgo the gifts. We accept it as sincere. It gives her a chance to start in a new direction that will encourage voters to feel that she will put public service ahead of personal gain."

Now, why would the Times editorial board feel that Mrs. Clinton would put public service ahead of personal gain? Is there anything on the record in the past eight years to demonstrate that?

Here's the sad record. The independent counsel said Mrs. Clinton misled the Justice Department during her testimony on Whitewater and the Travelgate affair. You may remember the missing Whitewater billing records were found in the White House residence with her fingerprints on them but she denied knowing how they got there.

Mrs. Clinton still has not explained how she made nearly $100,000 in the commodities market and, indeed, one of the last-minute pardons her husband doled out was for a convict represented by a lawyer who also represents the man who made Mrs. Clinton the 100 grand. Ah, serendipity. Hillary also snookered the system by using taxpayer money to campaign for a New York Senate seat. As first lady she cited security reasons and flew around the state on government aircraft. But when the bills rolled in she only reimbursed the taxpayer for a commercial fare.

She gained huge monetary and logistical advantages by using Air Force jets. Mrs. Clinton's many trips overseas also cost the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. The expense was staggering -- so much so that when I called the General Accounting Office for an exact accounting of the junkets, employees there actually laughed. There is no accurate expense report on Hillary's trips because the money came from many different government agencies, and there is no central oversight. Once again, Mrs. Clinton and her various entourages lived large at the expense of the taxpayer.

So why would The New York Times accept Mrs. Clinton's decision to give back some gifts as an expression of "sincerity"? The answer is because Hillary and the Times' editorial people think alike on abortion, taxes and a variety of other subjects.

Ideology trumps honesty. That is the new reality in the new century: "Think like me, and I'll let you be." Has a nice ring to it, right? Might even be a fine replacement for the words that adorn the top of The New York Times: "All the News That's Fit to Print."

JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and The Completely Ridiculous in American Life. Comments by clicking here.


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01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate