Vetting Bill Clinton

There are many reasons why Hillary Clinton should not, and probably will not, be offered the vice presidential spot by Barack Obama. I discussed some of these here and here. The Wall Street Journal points out another reason–Bill Clinton’s business dealings since leaving office.

A hurdle for an Obama-Clinton ticket, Clinton associates say, might well be Mr. Clinton’s refusal to release records of his financial dealings and details of his presidential library’s major donors — which have included Mideast governments and businessmen — during the traditional vice-presidential vetting process.

But even if Mr. Clinton did open his records — something he refused to do during his wife’s 17-month presidential campaign — the unprecedented complications he would pose for an Obama White House as the vice president’s spouse go deeper and broader than his personal records, Democrats on both sides say.

A former president’s global travels for his humanitarian foundation, speeches here and abroad for which he has received up to a quarter-million dollars, financial deals and everyday utterances could pose “a whole host” of conflicts with the policies of an Obama administration, Democrats say.

Sen. Clinton would present problems of her own for Sen. Obama, advisers in both camps say: As half of the couple that has dominated in the Democratic Party and Washington for 16 years, she would “completely undermine the Obama message” of change and new direction in politics, as one Clinton confidant put it…

Some Democrats say Bill Clinton is privately pressing her case to be on an Obama ticket, even as he is encouraging her to hang tough and not concede the presidential race, to increase her leverage. But one insider countered, “His importance in this is completely exaggerated. She’s going to figure it out for herself.”

For Sen. Clinton to be considered, she would have to undergo an invasive vetting of both Clintons’ private and public affairs, just like other recent vice-presidential aspirants, say veterans of the process. They said it would likely require Mr. Clinton to reveal donors to his library in Little Rock, Ark., which have included the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Middle Eastern businessmen, as well as details of his confidential business dealings.

In April, he did end a relationship with Yucaipa Cos., an investment firm run by billionaire friend Ron Burkle that has had a partnership with the ruler of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The Obama vetters “are going to say, ‘You have to give us the list of library donors, and that’s a deal-breaker if you don’t,'” said one longtime Clinton confidant. “I don’t think the former president will agree to it.”

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  1. 1
    JKR says:

    Clinton supporters don’t want her to be vp anyway, because then they might feel obligated to vote for Obama, which they seriously do not want to do.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I think it is just a small number who are making noise about not voting for Obama. How many Clinton supporters really want to vote for a guy who would repeal Row v. Wade and publically referred to Clinton as a bitch? Once the heat of the primary battle calms down, most of them will vote for Obama (and would prefer to have Clinton on the ticket).

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