Kyle Wingfield

Political commentary and opinion from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's conservative blogger

If you wanted to meet with Hillary at State, you better have shown her the money

If you were still wondering whether Hillary Clinton mixed personal and public business while serving as secretary of state -- HAAAAAAAAA ... HAHAHAHAHAHA ... HAHA .. HEE HEE ... WHOOOOOO ... (little girl voice) HEE HEE HEE HEE ... HEE ... (gasps for air) WHEWWWWWW ... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA -- the Associated Press has crunched the numbers , and they ain't pretty:

"More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money -- either personally or through companies or groups -- to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.

"At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million."

The meetings examined don't include those with "federal employees or federal government representatives," which is understandable since she had no way to monetize those. But the 154 figure also doesn't include "representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton charity" -- which is also defensible, given the duties of a secretary of state, but also must be considered in light of the particularly unusual circumstance of a secretary of state being party to such a large private foundation.

But let's just focus today, as the AP did, on the 85 of 154 statistic.

That's 55 percent of her non-government visitors and meetings while secretary of state. As the AP put it, that's an extraordinary proportion. Here's another way to look at it: She met with 85 of the 6,000-plus people who gave to the Clinton Foundation ... and with 69 of the 6 billion-plus people on Earth who didn't.

So, a gift to the Clinton Foundation increased your chances of meeting with her roughly a million-fold.

But not all donors are created equal. According to the Clinton Foundation's website , 193 individuals or organizations have given at least $1 million. That means 1 in 10 of those big donors were able to get on her official calendar.

In other words, your odds of getting an audience with her were a lot better if you gave money to the Clinton Foundation -- and they got better and better the more you gave.

Still to be untangled is how these threads are woven into the fabric of Clinton's political machine -- political donors, bundlers (who "bundle" donations from a variety of givers) and so on.

Among the striking things about this report is how long it took the AP to get hold of what are rightfully public documents. From the story: "The AP sought Clinton's calendar and schedules three years ago, but delays led the AP to sue the State Department last year in federal court for those materials and other records." And after all that stonewalling, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon had the gall to complain that the analysis only covers half of Clinton's tenure at State.

Well, Mr. Fallon, perhaps State or someone in the Clinton campaign should have released this information without a three-year court fight, instead of continuing even now to withhold the part pertaining to the rest of her time at State.

The AP concluded Clinton likely didn't violate "legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009." That makes the story all the more quintessentially Clintonian:

Violate all manner of common-sense ethical standards; stop (maybe) just short of breaking the law; withhold public information as long as possible -- and then blame the messenger for finally getting said information.

You can dislike Donald Trump enough not to vote for him. But I don't know how one justifies voting for Hillary Clinton after all this. Maybe that's why we only ever hear or read anti-Trump tirades from our liberal friends, and virtually nothing attempting to explain why Clinton is a good choice in her own right.

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About the Author

Kyle Wingfield joined the AJC in 2009. He is a native of Dalton and a graduate of the University of Georgia.