Ethics complaint seeks to uncover facts in Hillary influence-peddling scandal

When the Associated Press released its story six days ago about the email evidence that Hillary Clinton granted special access to a request from her son-in-law (who works for a hedge fund) to have the State Department help out a politically connected investor, the major media were far too concerned with Donald Trump’s call for a moratorium on Muslims entering the United States to pay much attention.  The usual suspects noted the evidence that influence-peddling seems to have been initiated, but crickets were the order of the day in the media most Americans see.

To recap, the AP found:

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton intervened in a request forwarded by her son-in-law on behalf of a deep-sea mining firm to meet with her or other State Department officials after one of the firm's investors asked Chelsea Clinton's husband for help setting up such contacts, according to the most recently released Clinton emails.

The lobbying effort on behalf of Neptune Minerals Inc. came while Clinton — now the leading Democratic presidential candidate — was advocating for an Obama administration push to win Senate approval for a sweeping law of the sea treaty. The pact would have aided U.S. mining companies scouring for minerals in international waters, but the Republican-dominated Senate blocked it.

Clinton ordered a senior State Department official in August 2012 to look into the request. Her action came three months after an investor in the mining firm emailed Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton's husband and a partner in Eaglevale Partners LP, a New York hedge fund, asking for his help in setting up State Department contacts.

Clinton relayed a copy of the investor's email to Mezvinsky to Thomas Nides, then a deputy secretary of state and now vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, a major New York financial services firm. "Could you have someone follow up on this request which was forwarded to me?" Clinton asked Nides. He replied: "I'll get on it."

Remarkably, we do not have any idea what came of this.  No mobs of reporters hounding Nides’s office at Morgan Stanley, no comments from the campaign of the Democrats’ front-runner, no fire-breathing speeches from rival Bernie Sanders denouncing the ability of big-money investors to get Hillary and the State Department to single out their concerns as the conduct of the taxpayers’ business.

Sam Frizell of Time reports on what is now happening:

... conservative watchdog group has called for another federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s communications during her time as Secretary of State, accusing Clinton of giving special government access to an investor in a deep-sea mining company because of his connections to Clinton’s son-in-law.

The group, called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics on Monday.

“It appears that then Secretary Hillary Clinton gave a private company special access to the State Department based upon the company’s relationships with Secretary Clinton’s family members and donors to the Clinton Foundation,” the group says in the complaint first obtained by TIME.

OK, so the Office of Government Ethics will investigate.  How long do you suppose that will take?  C’mon, does anybody expect any findings to made public before November next year?

My best hope now is that once Hillary is nominated, the GOP nominee will hit her hard on this.  But absent facts on what actually happened in response, the best that can be done is to point out that she gave special help to her hedge fund son-in-law’s buddy.  It feeds the narrative of her being in the pocket of big-money Wall Street interests.

When the Associated Press released its story six days ago about the email evidence that Hillary Clinton granted special access to a request from her son-in-law (who works for a hedge fund) to have the State Department help out a politically connected investor, the major media were far too concerned with Donald Trump’s call for a moratorium on Muslims entering the United States to pay much attention.  The usual suspects noted the evidence that influence-peddling seems to have been initiated, but crickets were the order of the day in the media most Americans see.

To recap, the AP found:

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton intervened in a request forwarded by her son-in-law on behalf of a deep-sea mining firm to meet with her or other State Department officials after one of the firm's investors asked Chelsea Clinton's husband for help setting up such contacts, according to the most recently released Clinton emails.

The lobbying effort on behalf of Neptune Minerals Inc. came while Clinton — now the leading Democratic presidential candidate — was advocating for an Obama administration push to win Senate approval for a sweeping law of the sea treaty. The pact would have aided U.S. mining companies scouring for minerals in international waters, but the Republican-dominated Senate blocked it.

Clinton ordered a senior State Department official in August 2012 to look into the request. Her action came three months after an investor in the mining firm emailed Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton's husband and a partner in Eaglevale Partners LP, a New York hedge fund, asking for his help in setting up State Department contacts.

Clinton relayed a copy of the investor's email to Mezvinsky to Thomas Nides, then a deputy secretary of state and now vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, a major New York financial services firm. "Could you have someone follow up on this request which was forwarded to me?" Clinton asked Nides. He replied: "I'll get on it."

Remarkably, we do not have any idea what came of this.  No mobs of reporters hounding Nides’s office at Morgan Stanley, no comments from the campaign of the Democrats’ front-runner, no fire-breathing speeches from rival Bernie Sanders denouncing the ability of big-money investors to get Hillary and the State Department to single out their concerns as the conduct of the taxpayers’ business.

Sam Frizell of Time reports on what is now happening:

... conservative watchdog group has called for another federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s communications during her time as Secretary of State, accusing Clinton of giving special government access to an investor in a deep-sea mining company because of his connections to Clinton’s son-in-law.

The group, called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics on Monday.

“It appears that then Secretary Hillary Clinton gave a private company special access to the State Department based upon the company’s relationships with Secretary Clinton’s family members and donors to the Clinton Foundation,” the group says in the complaint first obtained by TIME.

OK, so the Office of Government Ethics will investigate.  How long do you suppose that will take?  C’mon, does anybody expect any findings to made public before November next year?

My best hope now is that once Hillary is nominated, the GOP nominee will hit her hard on this.  But absent facts on what actually happened in response, the best that can be done is to point out that she gave special help to her hedge fund son-in-law’s buddy.  It feeds the narrative of her being in the pocket of big-money Wall Street interests.