Conflict of Interest

January 28, 2009

Secretary of State

By Padmini Arhant

Secretary of State position has been filled and the appointee, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has assumed office.

Did the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the full Senate pay any attention to the substantial facts and evidences provided by citizens and news editorials on this matter as well as other cabinet post appointments?

Apparently not and that appears to be the interesting focus for concerned electorate.


Bill Clinton made millions from foreign sources

By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer Matthew Lee, Associated Press Writer – 35 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Former President Bill Clinton earned nearly $6 million in speaking fees last year, almost all of it from foreign companies, according to financial documents filed by his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton .

The documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show that $4.6 million of the former president’s reported $5.7 million in 2008 honoraria came from foreign sources, including Kuwait’s national bank , other firms and groups in Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia , Mexico and Portugal and a Hong Kong-based company that spent $100,000 on federal lobbying last year.

Executives at many of the firms that paid honoraria to Bill Clinton have also donated large amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation , according to documents it released last year as part of an agreement with Congress on Hillary Clinton’s nomination as secretary of state.

That agreement was aimed at preventing the appearance of any conflict of interest between the ex-president’s charitable organization and his wife’s new job as the United States’ top diplomat.

In addition to Bill Clinton’s income from speaking fees, Hillary Clinton reported joint holdings of between $6.1 million and $30.3 million in a blind trust as well as cash, insurance and retirement accounts worth between $1 million and $5.2 million.
Hillary Clinton made between $50,000 and $100,000 in royalties from her 2003 memoir "Living History."

Bill Clinton earned between $100,000 and $1 million in royalties for his 2004 autobiography "My Life," the documents show. The Clintons reported no liabilities.

All senior officials in the Obama administration are required to complete a detailed disclosure of their personal finances, including spouse and children, which is updated yearly.

The two men selected to serve as Hillary Clinton’s deputy secretaries of state, Jacob Lew and James Steinberg , also filed financial disclosure forms.

Lew, a former Clinton administration official who recently headed Citigroup’s Alternative Investments unit, reported 2008 salary income of just over $1 million along with numerous investments, including between $50,000 and $100,000 in State of Israel bonds .
Steinberg, another former Clinton administration official who recently was a professor at the University of Texas, reported receiving $35,000 in 2008 for foreign speaking engagements, including three before Japanese media firms and one before the Confederation of Indian Industries in New Delhi.

The most Bill Clinton got from a foreign source was $1.25 million for appearing at five events sponsored by the Toronto-based Power Within Inc., a company that puts on motivational and training programs around North America , according to Hillary Clinton’s submission.

For one Power Within speech alone, delivered in Edmonton in June 2008, Clinton was paid $525,000, the most for any single event that year. For one event, he got $200,000 and for three others he received $175,000 each, the documents show.

The Hong Kong firm, Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Holdings, paid Clinton a $300,000 honorarium on Dec. 4, 2008. Twenty five days later, on Dec. 29, a man listed as the company’s chief financial officer, Jack Xi Deng, made a $25,000 cash donation to the Virginia gubernatorial campaign of Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe , according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Hong Kong firm paid at least $100,000 in 2008 to lobbyists on immigration issues.

The other foreign honoraria Bill Clinton received in 2008 are:
$450,000 from AWD Holding AG , a German-based international financial services company.

$350,000 from the state-owned National Bank of Kuwait . The Kuwaiti government donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation , according to the foundation’s disclosure.

$300,000 from Value Grupo Financiero SA de CV, a Mexico -based financial holding company , whose chief executive officer , Carlos Bremer Gutierrez, is one of the Clinton Foundation’s leading donors. Gutierrez donated between $250,001 to $500,000 to the foundation, according to foundation’s documents.

$250,000 from Germany’s Media Control Gmbh, which bills itself as the world’s leading provider of entertainment data and was founded by Karlheinz Koegel, who contributed $100,001 to $250,000 to the Clinton foundation.

$200,000 from Malaysia’s Petra Equities Management on behalf of the Sekhar Foundation run by Malaysian multimillionaire Vinod Sekhar who donated between $25,001 and $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to its documents.

In addition to the foreign earnings,

Bill Clinton made just over $1 million from domestic speaking engagements, including $250,000 from MSG Entertainment , $225,000 from the National Association of Home Care and Hospice, $200,000 from the United Nations Association , $175,000 from the ING North America Insurance Corp., $125,000 from the Rodman and Renshaw Capital Group and $100,000 from the Hollywood Radio and Television Society.


Voice of Concern: By Padmini Arhant

I suppose, now it must be clear to America why despite the impressive combined earnings by the then Senator and now newly appointed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s request for personal donation was not met .

The impression might be what could possibly a small, diminutive, frail and fragile individual’s support or the lack thereof do to powerful nominations and subsequent confirmation.

It was already proven during the election when several requests and demands were placed for endorsement of the Presidential candidates.

Otherwise, would any ordinary citizen be sought after relentlessly for endorsement in a high profile and vigorously contested political battle by the contestants?

Further, Supreme force representative’s subservient manner should not be translated as an inferior or a weak personality in any shape due to intimacy with natural phenomenon.

Regardless, the stark contrast between the powerful on earth and those representing the power of the universe is,

The latter are courageous in speaking the truth and standing up for justice and peace wherever and whenever it applies.

History is testimony that Prophets and messengers were subject to incredible endurance tests including death for some as in the case of Lord Jesus Christ.

In the ancient era, Prophets and Messiahs had to prove their identity and worthiness by performing wonders or miracles.

It ranged from bearing the cross and resurrection to life and possessing witnesses for the ability to walk on water.

Now, in the new millennium the expectation of the virtuous could still be to exhibit magic moments by spitting fire, moving mountains and relevantly excavation of economy from deep recession heading towards Great Depression.

Such expectations by those considering themselves extraordinary are not surprising.

In fact, up until recently the utterance of God and any discussions related to the highest grace was argued as undemocratic by calling for elimination of such discourse in public square.

Anyone challenging the might of the mortals is frequently dismissed as a questionable character and their concerns for humanity invalidated through defiance per recent demonstration of Cabinet posts confirmation.

All those bound by ethics and compliance of common law in a democracy rejecting the plea with presentation of facts and evidences against Hillary Clinton’s confirmation as well as other appointees are in denial of the highest authority.

Hence, the comment during the Radio talk show on “Free Palestine” about public displays of prayers and worships as meaningless because of selective embracing of God by political figures.

Thus, forcing one to arrive at a conclusion that even “Almighty God” is a fair game in politics.

It goes to prove that Cabinet posts in any administration could be picked and chosen by the privileged members of a political party and some outsiders through virtue of their association with previous administrations leaving no opportunities for the deserving aspirants outside the circle in the so-called democracy.

Then why bother wasting taxpayers’ dollars with senate hearing and confirmation process if the purpose is meant to be a mere formality?

With foreign governments and sources donating to Clinton foundation and honorarium for his speeches, should American electorate consider such generosity by these entities an act of pure benevolence for humanity and not have Clintons reciprocate in return?

Alternatively, are these donors so magnanimous that they are involved in a great humanitarian effort whilst ignoring the plight of the population in their own backyard?

Washington was to be changed and shaken up to give way to new political system.

Is shuffling the cabinet posts among the group consisting of those demanding party favors a fair selection process?

Does democracy really have a chance when Power is still the dominant force crushing the will of the republic?

The lawmakers awestruck by candidates despite controversial background moved forward to fill positions in fulfillment of their obligations and responsibilities with no regard for due process.

New administration was sworn in with the pledge to America to change Washington corroded with corruption, cronyism and power politics into new era guided by the constitution and democratic values.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Promising "a new era of openness in our country," President Obama signed executive orders Wednesday relating to ethics guidelines for staff members of his administration.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency," Obama said.

Has there been a breach of constitutional law in the Cabinet post appointments?

It is worth examining, as it appears to be the case according to some concerned citizens who are also legal experts in the constitutional law.


Source: – Thank you.

Is Hillary Clinton Unconstitutional?

Posted by Ilya Shapiro , Previous: There’s No Change Here

It appears that there may be genuine constitutional problems with her expected nomination.  To wit, Article I, section 6, clause 2 reads:


Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

That is, under this “Emoluments Clause,” members of Congress are expressly forbidden to take any appointed position within the government which was created or whose pay has been increased during their current term in office.

Now, a January 2008 executive order, promulgated in accordance with a statute from the 1990s that addressed cost of living adjustments for certain federal officials, raised the Secretary of State’s salary, thus constitutionally prohibiting any then-serving senator who remains in office from taking charge of Foggy Bottom. (Sen. Clinton’s current term began in January 2007 and expires in January 2013.)


Source: – Thank you.

Hillary Clinton and the Emoluments Clause:

There’s been talk about whether Sen. Hillary Clinton is disqualified from a position as Secretary of State by the Emoluments Clause:

Adam Bonin’s Daily Kos blog has a bit more on this, but the short version is that a Jan. 2008 executive order , promulgated pursuant to a 1990s cost of living adjustment statute, raised the salary of the Secretary of State, so the Emoluments Clause question is in play.

I very recently read an article by John O’Connor on the subject, The Emoluments Clause: An Anti-Federalist Intruder in a Federalist Constitution , 24 Hofstra L. Rev. 89 (1995) , so I asked him what he thought.

Here’s his answer (some paragraph breaks added); please note that I have some comments at the end of this post that express a somewhat different view:

It seems to me that there are two questions regarding whether the Emoluments Clause to the U.S. Constitution (Art. I, § 6, cl. 2) renders Senator Hillary Clinton constitutionally ineligible for appointment as Secretary of State:

(1) whether Senator Clinton is now ineligible for appointment; and

(2) if Senator Clinton is ineligible for appointment, whether that ineligibility may be cured by the so-called “Saxbe Fix,” whereby the Secretary of State’s salary is reduced to the salary in effect before Senator Clinton’s current Senate term began.

I think it is beyond dispute that Senator Clinton is currently ineligible for appointment as secretary of State. I also believe that the better construction of the Emoluments Clause is that the “Saxbe Fix” does not remove this ineligibility.

The Saxbe Fix got its name because the Nixon administration sought to eliminate Senator William Saxbe’s ineligibility for appointment as Attorney General by reducing the salary of that office to the level that existed before Senator Saxbe’s appointment.

The Emoluments Clause provides that “[n]o Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time.”

As I understand it, 5 U.S.C. § 5303 provides for an automatic annual increase in certain federal salaries, including the salary of the Secretary of State, unless the President certifies that an increase in salaries is inappropriate.

The salary of the Secretary of State has increased during Senator Clinton’s current Senate term, which does not end until 2012.

Therefore, under a straightforward application of the Emoluments Clause, Senator Clinton is ineligible for appointment as Secretary of State because the emoluments of that office “have been encreased” during Senator Clinton’s current Senate term, and this disability continues until the end of “the time for which [she] was elected, or until January 2013.

I do not believe it affects the analysis that the salary increase occurred as a result of an Executive Order or that the statute creating these quasi-automatic salary increases was enacted prior to Senator Clinton’s current term.

By its plain language, the Emoluments Clause applies when the office’s salary “shall have been encreased,” without regard to exactly how it was increased.

Indeed, an early proposed draft of the clause included language limiting it to an increase of emoluments “by the legislature of the U[nited] States,” and was later revised to encompass any increase in emoluments.

It is worth noting that several Framers thought, without much explication, that the clause was too lax as initially drafted. The clause also does not require that a Senator or Representative have voted for the increase.

This focus [on] a past act of increasing emoluments, rather than on the emoluments existing at the time of appointment suggests to me that the clause’s best reading is that an act of increasing emoluments renders members of Congress ineligible for appointment [to] the office until their respective congressional terms end.

In addition, one of the central theses of my law review article on the subject is that the purpose of the Emoluments Clause is disserved by the Saxbe Fix.

The records of the federal constitutional convention indicate two purposes underlying the Emoluments Clause:

(1) general anti-corruption, whereby Congress might conspire with the President to create offices, or to give existing offices exorbitant salaries, with the understanding that a Member of Congress would be appointed to the office; and

(2) limiting the size, importance, and reach of the federal bureaucracy.


Republic Action: By Padmini Arhant

It is important for the people of the Republic to awaken and ensure that elected representatives honor commitments towards their constituents and the nation by respecting the constitutional law and abide by the common rules and regulations meant for all regardless of societal hierarchy.

Indeed, it is a huge disappointment that electorate is relevant only during the electoral process.

Once the ballots are cast and power entrusted to the lawmakers as the people representatives, the abuse of power is a reflex action with a tendency to discount and dismiss the will of democracy particularly during federal appointments and other legislative matters.

Any functional democracy requires that apart from transparency and accountability, the office of Presidency and Congress act with entire integrity in recruitments by not violating the trust of the people and the constitution governing the nation.

Additionally, rather than personal choices for various cabinet posts contributing to ethical issues, the real change in Washington would be depicted if the cabinet posts were advertised for direct public appointments reflecting the acknowledgement of talent and caliber among the eligible electorate.

Is it too late to review the appointments that have already taken place?

Action is anytime better than inaction to confirm the power of democracy.

Shouldn’t we all know now from the past eight years’ legacy?

The voice of America is the only legitimate force that can bring about any Positive Change in every citizen’s life.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

P.S. Please review the insightful presentation “Secretary of State Nomination” on for complete comprehension.