The Campaign Spot

Why Is Our Secretary of State Asking Me for Donations?

Paul Begala e-mailed me again today, nagging me to enter that silly sweepstakes that you enter by donating to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign to help her resolve her outstanding campaign debt. (Okay, it was a mass e-mail to anyone on her campaign mailing list.)

During Clinton’s confirmation hearing, I objected to the fact that her husband’s foundation was going to continue to collect foreign donations while she was serving as the nation’s chief diplomat. Serving as Secretary of State is a privilege, not a right; giving up cashing large checks from foreign governments for a few years doesn’t seem like too much to ask in exchange for that great privilege. But the Clintons balked at that proposal.

Foreign donors are forbidden from contributing to Hillary’s current campaign-debt efforts, although we saw considerable amounts of foreign money ending up in Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election coffers and foreigners said they managed to contribute to Obama’s campaign.

Does anyone else find it strange that I’m receiving e-mails begging for money — spam, really — from entities acting on behalf of the Secretary of State? Even putting aside the possibility of foreign donations, plenty of Americans would like to see U.S. foreign policy adjusted to serve their personal or parochial interest, in matters large and small. Doesn’t it bother anyone that the Secretary of State is trying to raise about $5.9 million at the same time she’s setting policy?

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