Was Hillary the 'Secretary of State from Boeing'?
The Late Henry “Scoop” Jackson, D-WA, was nicknamed “the senator from Boeing” for his relentless advocacy of defense spending that would benefit the defense contractor based in Washington State (at that time). But Hillary Clinton apparently had her own entanglements with Boeing when she was serving as Secretary of State, arrangements that had money flowing in two directions, toward Boeing and toward interests close to Mrs. Clinton’s heart and kin.
A long and detailed article by Rosalind S. Helderman in the Washington Post lays out the troubling web of influence exercised and rewarded. A few excerpts of a piece that deserves to be read in its entirety:
On a trip to Moscow early in her tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton played the role of international saleswoman, pressing Russian government officials to sign a multibillion-dollar deal to buy dozens of aircraft from Boeing.
A brand new airliane, Rosavia, was being set up, and would need up to 65 planes in the B737/A320 class. These workhorses of the air are produced in large numbers and are very profitable if anything close to list price is paid.
A month later, Clinton was in China, where she jubilantly announced that the aerospace giant would be writing a generous check to help resuscitate floundering U.S. efforts to host a pavilion at the upcoming World’s Fair.
Boeing, she said, “has just agreed to double its contribution to $2 million.”
Clinton did not point out that, to secure the donation, the State Department had set aside ethics guidelines that first prohibited solicitations of Boeing and then later permitted only a $1 million gift from the company. Boeing had been included on a list of firms to be avoided because of its frequent reliance on the government for help negotiating overseas business and concern that a donation could be seen as an attempt to curry favor with U.S. officials.
Then there is this:
In 2010, two months after Boeing won its $3.7 billion Russia deal, the companyannounced a $900,000 contribution to the William J. Clinton Foundation intended to rebuild schools in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. The foundation, which Hillary Clinton now helps lead with her husband and daughter, has become a popular charity for major corporations.
The company’s ties came into play again this month when its in-house lobbyist, former Bill Clinton aide Tim Keating, co-hosted a fundraiser for Ready for Hillary, the super PAC backing her potential presidential run.
Unfortunately, civil aviation is an industry in which governments play a leading role. The EU has lavished many billions of dollars’ worth of aid in various forms to make Airbus, based in France, a vigorous competitor to Boeing. Selling jetliners to overseas customers virtually requires government support in the form of guaranteed Exim Bank financing, for instance.
It is a system that not just encourages but almost requires government doling out contracts and favors. The problem comes when reciprocation is demanded. Hillary’s problem is that the reciprocity is a little too obvious and self-serving.