Why Did a Nigerian Company Pay Bill Clinton $1.4 Million for Two Speeches?

The Most Profitable Name in News . . .

by Jim Geraghty

We all know Fox News enjoys significantly higher ratings than its news-network rivals, but the disparity in these numbers on their earnings and profits seems pretty astounding:

Fox News, which also declined comment for this story, remains one of the most profitable channels of any kind on television. It attracted $2 billion in advertising and license fees from cable operators last year, according to SNL Kagan’s estimates. It earned $1.2 billion — for a staggering 60 percent profit margin.

Even woebegone MSNBC, whose daytime audience has fallen to fewer than 300,000 viewers, did relatively steady business, turning a $206 million profit on $501 million in revenue last year, according to SNL Kagan (the comparable numbers for CNN: earnings of $327 million on $1.13 billion of revenue).

So Fox News Channel is six times as profitable as MSNBC, and about three and a half times as profitable as CNN.

Huckabee Unveils Fundraising Schedule for May and June

by Jim Geraghty

Today Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign released a memo about the former governor’s fundraising schedule.

Hosts of upcoming Huckabee events include Representative Trent Franks of Arizona, influential Texas lobbyist Dean McWilliams, Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell, and the family of longtime Huckabee aide Chip Saltsman.

TO: Interested Parties
From: Chip Saltsman, Senior Advisor, Mike Huckabee

Date: May 6, 2015

RE: Post-launch fundraising Schedule

Contact: [email protected]

On the heels of his 2016 presidential campaign launch, Governor Mike Huckabee and our team have assembled an aggressive month-long fundraising schedule with stops across the entire continental United States. The following are details of his planned events available for public release:

Monday, May 11 – Houston, Texas

Monday, May 11 – Austin, Texas – Dean & Andrea McWilliams

Tuesday, May 12 – Dallas, Texas – Bobby Adkins, Jr.

Tuesday, May 12 – Washington, DC

Thursday, May 14 – Phoenix, Arizona – Floyd & Mary Beth Brown, Congressman Trent & Josie Franks, Mike & Sheila Ingram, and Christine Jones

Wednesday, May 20 – Memphis, Tennessee – Mike Keeney, David Kustoff, and Mayor Mark Luttrell

Wednesday, May 20 – Nashville, Tennessee – Bruce & Elaine Saltsman, Chip Saltsman, and Duane Ward

Tuesday, May 26 – Atherton, California – Ken & Roberta Eldred, Tom & Kipp Gutshall, & Drs. Bill & Marilee Clauson

Wednesday, May 27 – Laguna Beach, California – Gary & Cathy Daichendt, Ken & Roberta Eldred

Thursday, May 28 – Amarillo, Texas – Jack Sisemore

Sunday, May 31 – New York, New York – Dr. Joe Frager & Ken Abramowitz

Monday, June 1 – New York, New York

Wednesday, June 3 – Jonesboro, Arkansas

Wednesday, June 3 – Little Rock, Arkansas

Thursday, June 4 – El Dorado, Arkansas

Thursday, June 4 – Bentonville, Arkansas

Friday, June 5 – Texarkana, Arkansas

Alleged ‘Political Assassination’ vs. Actual Attempts to Kill People

by Jim Geraghty

Welcome to another edition of “Why Today’s Political Culture Is Particularly Insufferable.”

In today’s Washington Post, the paper checks in with the former president Bill Clinton and his supporters at a Clinton Foundation event in Marrakesh, Morocco:

Later Wednesday, in a 20-minute gaggle with reporters here, [Mo] Ibrahim [a billionaire Sudanese-British telecommunications entrepreneur and philanthropist], attributed the media attention on the Clinton Foundation to the “polarized” state of U.S. politics and suggested it was part of a witch hunt to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy. “If Saudi money goes to help poor farmers in Tanzania, isn’t that a wonderful thing?” Ibrahim asked reporters. “It just begs the question, was that fair scrutiny or is that a political assassination process?”

Reporting by major newspapers and news groups like the New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, etc., gets labeled “political assassination.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Post, the newspaper finds it newsworthy that Pamela Geller didn’t feel the need to apologize after hosting a Mohammed cartoon event that was attacked by two aspiring jihadists.

In other words, reporting about what the Clintons have been doing, and how they’ve made their money in the past few years, is deemed “political assassination,” while an actual assassination attempt is treated as some sort of natural response to an inexcusable provocation.

Look, I get that it’s baked into the human condition that we value “our guys” more than “their guys” and that we all hate to see “our guys” getting criticism. But today’s political culture — particularly the subculture that surrounds the Clintons! — is full of people who believe that any criticism of “their guys” is the worst outrage ever, one of history’s great tragedies, an abomination, etc. Meanwhile, no criticism of the other side is ever out of bounds; “hey, politics ain’t beanbag,” and so on. Asked about his lie that Romney didn’t pay taxes, Harry Reid shrugs and says, “Romney didn’t win, did he?”

Push this mentality far enough, and you end up insisting that anything my guys do is okay, and anything your guys do is immoral, unethical, illegal, and deserving of expulsion from public life. (One might argue that’s what we’re seeing on college campuses. The very presence of Christina Hoff Summers on a college campus is an unacceptable provocation and outrage, but a professor physically assaulting a pro-life 16-year-old is just an unavoidable reaction to an obvious unacceptable “hate.”)

After a while, you begin to realize you’re trying to reason with crazy people. Yes, if you think the news desks of the New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, and other media groups all got together in a conspiratorial effort to harm Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency, you’re off your rocker, I don’t care how much money you have.

Why can we not have reasonable, respectful public discourse? Because a lot of the participants are more or less . . . well, “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,” to use the technical term.

Walker, Paul, Rubio Lead New Poll of GOP Iowa Caucus-Goers

by Jim Geraghty

From the midweek Morning Jolt:

Walker, Paul, Rubio Lead New Poll of GOP Iowa Caucus-Goers

A new Quinnipiac poll out this morning, surveying likely Iowa caucus-goers:

Walker is at 21 percent of likely GOP caucus participants, compared to 25 percent in a February 25 poll . . . 

In the scramble for second place are U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 13 percent each, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 12 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 11 percent. Physician Ben Carson has 7 percent, with 5 percent for Jeb Bush. No other candidate is above 3 percent and 6 percent are undecided.

Not many surprises in there, and obviously there’s a lot of road ahead. Having said that, if they finished in that order on Caucus Night, it would be a nice burst of momentum for Walker, Paul, Rubio, and Cruz. For Huckabee, after winning Iowa in 2008, 11 percent would be a disappointment.

Somehow previous caucus winner Rick Santorum is at 2 percent! Also, if Bobby Jindal doesn’t move much beyond 1 percent, where’s his next stronghold? South Carolina? If you’re in that 5 percent–or–less category, should you put a lot of effort in Iowa in the next seven months or so?

We Have Invented Jihadist Flypaper.

Rubio’s Smooth Dexterity About His Agenda’s Downsides

by Jim Geraghty

From the Monday Morning Jolt:

Marco Rubio’s Smooth Dexterity About His Agenda’s Downsides

You can watch my interview with Marco Rubio here, or read our Joel Gehrke’s write-up here.

There’s a lot to like about Rubio; he’s the best communicator in the GOP. But his plans do have details that some folks on the right might dislike. But the senator’s such a smooth, polished communicator that he can talk around the inconvenient drawbacks and unpopular points and leave audiences feeling good about everything he’s just said.

For example, he conceded that under the proposed Rubio-Lee tax plan, some people — he estimated about 10 percent — would face higher taxes, while reducing it for the rest.

For 2015, the top tax rate is 39.6 percent and kicks in for $413,200 for individuals, $464,850 for married couples.

Under Rubio’s plan, the top rate drops from 39 percent to 35 percent . . . but it kicks in at $75,000 for individuals, and $150,000 for married couples. There are a decent number of individuals making $75,000 and married couples making $150,000 who will be surprised to learn that they’re in the top tax bracket in the United States. Rubio points out that there are various little steps people can take to reduce their taxable income below that threshold — put money in a retirement account or health savings account, etc., and Rubio-Lee also includes a $2,500 per child tax credit, which will do a lot for the parents in that higher categories. (The other tax rate under Rubio-Lee? Fifteen percent. Right now, the 15 percent tax rate only applies to single filers making $9,225 to $37,450 and married couples making $18,450 to $74,900.)

If you’re a married couple with a combined taxable income of, say, $140,000, currently playing the 25 percent rate, the Rubio tax plan is terrific! Your rate is dropping to 15 percent! But if you’re a married couple with a combined taxable income of, say, $160,000, currently paying a 28 percent rate . . . Rubio-Lee’s 35 percent rate doesn’t look good at all! (UPDATE: See below)

On immigration, he would insist his views are nowhere near pro-amnesty . . . but under his preferred scenario, a decent number of people who entered the country illegally will be allowed to stay and not fear deportation. He says that his agenda would require a secure border, employers using E-Verify to ensure they’re not hiring illegal immigrants to do work, and a visa entry and exit system to ensure those who enter legally on temporary visas don’t stay longer than they’re permitted. Then those who are here illegally would register, pay a fine for violating immigration law, and face deportation only if they committed crimes. I pressed him on whether that would apply to both misdemeanors and felonies, and he indicated he wanted it “as strict as possible” — including DUIs. He expressed frustration with pro-immigration-“reform” groups (my scare quotes, not his) that believe those who are entered the country are owed the right to stay here, instead of being granted the privilege of remaining here by a United States that deems their stay in the country’s best interest.

You’re going to want to watch these:

1) Rich Lowry interviews former governor Jeb Bush.

2) Larry Kudlow interviews Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

3) John Fund interviews Carly Fiorina.

4) Heather Higgins of the Independent Women’s Forum interviews Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal.

5) Stephen Moore, NRO contributor and economist at the Heritage Foundation, interviews Ohio governor John Kasich.

6) Rich Lowry interviews Dr. Charles Krauthammer.

7) John O’Sullivan interviews Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

UPDATE: Ramesh writes in, saying that the married couple in my example above would be better off on their overall tax bill because even though they’re paying a higher rate on their income beyond $150,000, they’re paying a lower rate on the income below $150,000.

He calculates that couples would start seeing their tax rates go up at about $220,000 or so. (Right now a married couple making $151,200 to $230,450 is taxed at the 28 percent rate.) There’s a class of Americans sometimes referred to as “HENRYs” — “High Earners, Not Rich Yet” — who will make up most of that 10 percent and will pay more under the Rubio-Lee plan. Those folks might be a little irked that they’re the ones who pay more under a new plan, compared to those with much higher income levels; the married couple in the next neighborhood over with a combined taxable income of $465,000 would be enjoying the top rate dropping from 39.6 percent to 35 percent.

Elaborating a bit more, if the 10 percent who will pay more under Rubio-Lee is mostly married couples making, say, $220,000 to $465,000 and singles making $180,000 to $413,000, a lot of people will dismiss the complaints about higher taxes as whining from spoiled suburban yuppies.

But a married couple with each partner making a low-six-figure income in New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, most of Connecticut, etc. doesn’t feel particularly rich, and while I can’t stand the “balancing the budget on the backs of” cliché, people in this demographic are going to ask why the upwardly mobile and working are paying more compared to groups they perceive as super-wealthy — all under a plan that’s supposed to help people “live the American dream,” etc. These groups certainly don’t think of themselves as undertaxed, and you figure they pack more clout in terms of influence than some other demographics . . . 

The Clinton Family’s Proud Tradition of Shamelessly Lying

by Jim Geraghty

From the Thursday Morning Jolt:

The Clinton Family’s Proud Tradition of Shamelessly Lying

Everybody has a particular figure in the news who drives them a little bonkers. You may recall that for some reason, media hosannas for Chelsea Clinton stick in my craw. I’m perfectly happy to see Chelsea Clinton go off and live a happy life as a mom or doing whatever she likes away from the public spotlight. But I’m tired of the media telling us she’s remarkably accomplished in her own right, her keynote addresses to conferences like SXSW, treating her like she’s an A-list celebrity and fascinating figure, the “Woman of the Year” and “Mom of the Year” awards, her widely panned $600,000-per-year, part-time work as an increasingly infrequent NBC News correspondent, and her assistant vice provost position at New York University, taken at age 30, before finishing her dissertation.

Now there’s a new angle to Chelsea Clinton’s public profile. She’s as shameless a liar as both of her parents:

“What the Clinton foundation has said is that we will be kind of even more transparent,” said the former first daughter, now vice chairman of the foundation, at an event sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. “Even though Transparency International and others have said we’re among the most transparent foundations, we’ll disclose donors on a quarterly basis, not just an annual basis.”

The problem with that, though, is Transparency International never cited the Clinton foundation. It did award Hillary Clinton its 2012 TI-USA Integrity Award when Clinton was secretary of state for “recognizing her contributions as secretary of state in raising the importance of transparency and anticorruption as elements of U.S. policy,” Claudia Dumas, president of Transparency International, told NPR. (The organization put out a fuller statement Monday.)

It’s a false statement, but it also looks like Freudian slip. Transparency International gives the U.S. State Department an award, and Chelsea thinks it went to the Clinton Foundation. It’s hard to shake the feeling that for the Clintons, the U.S. State Department and the Clinton Foundation were intertwined and interchangeable.

NPR’s report continues: “The Clinton foundation discloses all of its donors . . . ”

No, it doesn’t. Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Clinton Foundation did not disclose 1,100 foreign donors, and when they filed their taxes for the years Hillary was running the State Department, they just happened to forget to mention tens of millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments.

Wait, there’s more!

Loopholes and legalistic explanations about what new foreign donations should be excluded from disclosure were not publicly discussed in the initial deal. In 2009, the incoming Obama administration, Clinton, and then-Senator John F. Kerry all publicly touted the Clinton charities’ “memorandum of understanding’’ as a guarantee that transparency and public scrutiny would be brought to bear on activities that posed any potential conflicts of interest with State Department business.

“Transparency is critically important here, obviously, because it allows the American people, the media, and those of us here in Congress . . . to be able to judge for ourselves that no conflicts — real or apparent — exist,’’ Kerry said during a Senate floor speech on Jan. 21, 2009.

The memorandum, which did not outline a penalty for failing to comply, was signed in December 2008 by Valerie Jarrett, co-chairwoman of the Obama transition team, and Bruce Lindsey, a longtime Clinton aide who at the time was CEO of the Clinton Foundation and sits on the board of the [Clinton Health Access Initiative].

Jarrett and Lindsey declined to be interviewed about CHAI’s repeated failures to disclose major increases in foreign grants.

This is the way the Clintons operate: Make the grand promise, even sign on the dotted line to make the promise official, then ignore it. A great quality in a president, huh?

NPR continues, “ . . . and, as Chelsea Clinton noted, it is now doing so more frequently as Hillary Clinton is running for president. That’s more than other presidential libraries and foundations.”

Yes, but other presidential libraries and foundations aren’t a way to put money at the disposal of a future presidential candidate. When Clinton defenders trot out the “but Hillary doesn’t make a salary from the Foundation” claim, remind them that the family’s travel — by charter or first class, “due to extraordinary security and other requirements” — is paid for by the Foundation.