The Associated Press reports that more than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton as secretary of State gave money (directly or indirectly) to the Clinton Foundation. (Clinton & Co. dispute the ratio, if not the basic assertion.) And while these meetings are said to not have violated any laws, per se, the appearance of pay-to-play looms large — as do real conflicts of interest should Mrs. Clinton be elected president [Bolding in Original]You have to read that first sentence very carefully - this only deals with non-government people being met. If you include all meetings...sorry, I get ahead of myself. I'll let the experts talk now - go take a look at this from the Politico:
"Well, because they took a small sliver of her tenure as secretary of state, less than half the time, less than a fraction of the meetings, fewer than I think 3 percent, the number they've looked at of all the meetings," chief strategist Joel Benenson told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day." "This is a woman who met with over 17,000 world leaders, countless other government officials, public officials in the United States. And they've looked at 185 meetings and tried to draw a conclusion from that."And then there's this from the AP story itself:
The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009.Note how Scaife's braintrust characterizes that part. By legalese-ing it with a careful "these meetings are said to not have violated any laws per se", the reader is left with an impression that something certainly dirty, though not technically illegal, took place.
For all its weasel words, the AP didn't even go that far.
Matthew Yglesias has an even harsher assessment:
According to their reporting, Clinton spent a remarkably large share of her time as America’s chief diplomat talking to people who had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. She went out of her way to help these Clinton Foundation donors, and her decision to do so raises important concerns about the ethics of her conduct as secretary and potentially as president. It’s a striking piece of reporting that made immediate waves in my social media feed, as political journalists of all stripes retweeted the story’s headline conclusions.He adds later:
Except it turns out not to be true. The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and Braun and Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct. In fact, they found so little unethical conduct that an enormous amount of space is taken up by a detailed recounting of the time Clinton tried to help a former Nobel Peace Prize winner who’s also the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Here’s the bottom line: Serving as secretary of state while your husband raises millions of dollars for a charitable foundation that is also a vehicle for your family’s political ambitions really does create a lot of space for potential conflicts of interest. Journalists have, rightly, scrutinized the situation closely. And however many times they take a run at it, they don’t come up with anything more scandalous than the revelation that maybe billionaire philanthropists have an easier time getting the State Department to look into their visa problems than an ordinary person would.
The State Department is a big operation. So is the Clinton Foundation. The AP put a lot of work into this project. And it couldn’t come up with anything that looks worse than helping a Nobel Prize winner, raising money to finance AIDS education, and doing an introduction for the chair of the Kennedy Center. It’s kind of surprising.If the AP had better dirt, it would have written about the better dirt, he seems to be saying.
And that's absolutely true.
Something to think about when the name sake of Trump University starts talking about how the AP proved a pay-for-play over at the State Department.