Last week was a rough one for Hillary Clinton and her campaign as the American people learned even more about the pay-to-play structure she built between the Clinton Foundation and her State Department.
First, it was reported that the FBI turned over nearly 15,000 emails that Secretary Clinton’s lawyers withheld or deleted. Then, the Associated Press reported that over half of Clinton’s nongovernmental meetings during her first two years as secretary were with Clinton Foundation donors – a report that led to the State Department’s announcing it wouldn’t release a full inventory of Secretary Clinton’s schedules before the election. This, after learning one of Clinton’s top aides was collecting a paycheck from both the State Department and the Clinton Foundation during Clinton’s tenure as secretary.
Clinton may claim to be “the most transparent public official in modern time,” but that’s simply not true.
For a candidate who is already widely viewed as untrustworthy and dishonest, revelations into a pay-to-play scheme between her family’s foundation and the State Department she oversaw only give further merit to those sentiments.
We now know what was long suspected: At Hillary Clinton’s State Department, access to the most sensitive policymakers in U.S. diplomacy was for sale to the highest bidder. As our nation’s top diplomat, Hillary Clinton gave unprecedented preferential treatment to Clinton Foundation donors.
This kind of corruption is entirely unacceptable from one of our nation’s leaders – especially one hoping to hold the highest office in the land. Even the Greensboro News & Record’s editorial board conceded, “It was a mistake for the foundation to raise money from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and to continue doing so during her presidential campaign. It is time now for Bill and Hillary Clinton, and their daughter Chelsea, to step away. The foundation can run without them, although it might not be able to raise as much money if gifts can’t buy special access.”
What’s more astonishing is that despite the revelations into her pay-to-play scheme and the many calls for the Clintons to sever their ties with the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton won’t explain herself.
It’s been almost nine months since Hillary Clinton last faced the press in an unscripted setting without any preconditions. Any other candidate confronted with a flurry of damning developments into massive conflicts of interest would hold a news conference to address voters – especially a candidate who claims everything is above board and is fighting a perception of dishonesty. Surely, someone seeking the presidency can handle questions about her actions from reporters.
Considering Clinton has gone longer without a news conference than any of the last eight presidents, it’s time she stopped hiding from reporters and let them past the rope lines. If Hillary Clinton doesn’t account for her actions while serving as secretary of state, there will be one question weighing on the minds of voters: What exactly is she hiding?
Robin Hayes is chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party and former congressman for North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District.