Yesterday, I noted how, as governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee received tons of gifts (more than $100,000 worth in a single year) and stripped the governor’s mansion of its drapes (one of the gifts) upon his exit. Lisa Schiffren at the Corner reminds us of another former Arkansas governor and his first lady with similarly tacky proclivities.
Her point — “Do we need reruns of tacky Arkansas ethics in DC?” — is well-taken. There is an important difference between Huckabee and Hillary, though. Huckabee’s administration, in the words of a friend of mine from Arkansas, was tacky but not corrupt. Hillary Clinton is fundamentally corrupt.
Stuart Taylor provides the details in this “trip down memory lane — the tawdriness of the 1992 presidential campaign through the mendacity of the ensuing years” — and provides “a sampling of why so many of us came to think that Hillary’s first instinct when in an embarrassing spot is to lie.” Here are the highlights:
Travelgate — Chief of Staff Mack McLarty fired the seven employees in the White House office that arranges travel for the press corps citing “gross financial mismanagement,” a charge that was never substantiated. Hillary told the General Accounting Office that she had no role in the decision to fire the employees, did not know the “origin of the decision,” and “did not direct that any action be taken by anyone” other than keeping her informed. However, these statements were contradicted by evidence, including a long-concealed memo to McLarty and a written chronology prepared by White House aide David Watkins that came to light years later. Robert Ray, who had succeeded Kenneth Starr as independent counsel, reported that Hillary’s statements had been “factually false” and that there was “overwhelming evidence that she in fact did have a role in the decision to fire the employees.”
Gennifer Flowers — Hillary suggested to ABC’s Sam Donaldson that Bill’s contacts with Flowers were just an example of how he loved to “help people who are in trouble” and “listen to their problems.”
Monica Lewinsky — Hillary has continued to insist that she believed what Bill said about Lewinsky. But friends and former aides have told Sally Bedell Smith and others that she knew her husband was lying all along.
Cattle futures — Hillary had made a $100,000 profit on a $1,000 investment in highly speculative cattle-futures contracts in only nine months. Hillary first claimed that she had made the investment after “reading The Wall Street Journal” and placed all the trades herself. She soon abandoned this absurd explanation, admitting that longtime Clinton friend James Blair had executed 30 of her 32 trades directly with an Arkansas broker. Though Hillary denied knowing of “any favorable treatment” by Blair, the astronomical odds against any financial novice making a 10,000 percent profit without the game being rigged led many to believe that Blair, the outside counsel to a giant, heavily regulated Arkansas company, must have put only profitable trades in Hillary’s account and absorbed her losses.
Removal of Vince Foster documents — Hillary denied knowing that her then-chief of staff Maggie Williams had been involved in removing documents from the office of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster (Hillary’s former law partner), after his suicide. But it was reported three months later that Hillary had instructed Williams to remove the Foster documents to the White House residence. The documents were then turned over to the Clintons’ attorney.
Castle Grande — This was, in Taylor’s words, “a sewer of sham transactions” the collapse of which cost taxpayers millions. Hillary told federal investigators that she knew nothing about Castle Grande. But a 1996 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. report said that she had drafted documents that Castle Grande used to “deceive federal bank examiners.”
Billing records — Hillary claimed that her billing records for Castle Grande had vanished. But a longtime Hillary assistant later admitted coming across the printout in August 1995 on a table in a storage area next to Hillary’s office.
As we get to know Mike Huckabee, there seems to be much not to like. But he’s no Hillary Clinton.
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