The Clinton Foundation is a fascinating study in conflicts of interest. Â A conflict of interest is defined as a situation in which an individual is torn between two loyalties. Â Let’s say an individual is secretary of state of, say, the United States, and also a founding member, board member, and grand poobah (First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral, etc., etc.) of a foundation that accepts donations from countries, crown princes, and assorted poobahs, dictators, and shady despots. Â Let’s say further that inexplicably preserved e-mails reflect that the staff members of office of Â the secretary of state (who moonlighted, on occasion and sometimes for years, at said foundation) saw to it that the afore described conga line of the rich and powerful “got a meeting” with the secretary of state. Â What conflict?, they respond! Â Prove that they got something. Â Actually, taking the meeting was the conflict. Â There are only two way to manage a conflict of interest: Â Don’t do it or disclose it. Â The latter never would have happened if judicial proceedings had not forced the issue, and that disclosure came after the fact, not whilst the meetings were being set up and progressing. Â A conflict such as this cannot be managed, so the only choice was don’t do it. Â No compliance officer with a stitch of experience would have allowed the conflict to continue. Â Indeed, the CEO (Obama) saw this issue prior to the secretary taking office and imposed restrictions. Â Restrictions that went by the wayside.
If said secretary of state becomes president, the conflicts increase exponentially. Â Refusing donations from foreign government is slippery language — individuals are not called out, thus leaving the door open for that conga line. Â Resigning from the board will not do it either, particularly when one’s daughter remains on one of the boards of a subsidiary of a foundation of a foundation incorporated in Canada or somehow else wise tethered to avoid some disclosure law somewhere. Â The conga line knows how the cabbage is cut, and as long as the name “Clinton” remains on the foundation, the quids and quod march forward in tandem. Â The Boston Globe is correct. Â The foundation has to shut down. Â In fact, where was this bastion of integrity during the secretary of state’s tenure? Â What’s sauce for the president is sauce for the secretary of state. Â There is no political issue here. A conflict is a conflict is a conflict: Â If you cannot manage it, something has to go. Â It should have gone away about 8 years ago.