The Campaign Spot

What, It’s Not Corruption If the Money Goes to the Spouse?

Kerry’s giving his opening statement at the confirmation hearing for Hillary Clinton.

Here’s a good question for this hearing, concerning this AP story out this morning:

Secretary of State appointee Hillary Rodham Clinton intervened at least six times in government issues directly affecting companies and others that later contributed to her husband’s foundation, an Associated Press review of her official correspondence found.

The overlap of names on former President Bill Clinton’s foundation donor list and business interests whose issues she championed raises new questions about potential ethics conflicts between her official actions and her husband’s fundraising. The AP obtained three of the senator’s government letters under the Freedom of Information Act.

Clinton was to begin her confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Under an agreement with President-elect Barack Obama, Bill Clinton recently released the names of donors to his foundation, a nonprofit that has raised at least $492 million — including millions from foreign governments — to fund his library in Little Rock, Ark., and charitable efforts worldwide on such issues as AIDS, poverty and climate change.

The letters and donations involve pharmaceutical companies and telecommunications and energy interests. An aide to the senator said she made no secret of her involvement in many of the issues. Bill Clinton’s foundation declined to say when it received the donations or precisely how much was contributed.

How, precisely, is this different from the pay-for-play scandal surrounding Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich? That the favor preceded the cash instead of the cash preceding the favor?

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