Friday, August 26, 2016 at 7:34 AM

Forget the Clinton Foundation. Shut Down the Trump Organization!

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

EDIT5-foundation-081216-APNo doubt you’ve heard Donald Trump accusing the Clinton Foundation of a pay-for-play scheme, in which foreign donors pay cash in exchange for favors from the U.S. government.

Never mind that, for as much as foreign donors paid, Trump has presented no evidence they ever played as alleged.

Yet the media have bitten on his ruse like dogs on a bone. In fact, so much so that they are propagating the specious notion that the Clinton Foundation should not only be investigated but closed to prevent trumped-up accusations of corruption.

In doing so, the media are reducing to a mitigating factor the true nature and work of the Clinton Foundation.

Most notably, they are ignoring that the foundation is predicated on taking money from the rich to help the poor – effectively doing globally what Robin Hood did in Sherwood Forest. Moreover, that the foundation uses this money to fund everything from health services (including life-saving vaccines) to education and poverty alleviation for millions from Haiti to Bangladesh and all points between.

Of course, the reason Trump rushed down to flood-ravaged Louisiana last week – bearing supplies purchased with money from his campaign donors – is that he knows the value of a good photo-op. Well, foreign leaders do too.

This is why they donate millions to the Clinton Foundation and pay handsomely for both Clintons to give canned speeches. In each case, far more than seeking favors from the Clintons, they are giving their own people the impression they are important and influential players on the world stage.

The suspicion that any of this has anything to do with peddling influence in Washington  – to help rich people get richer or for the Clintons to enrich themselves – is vintage Trump (i.e., pure bullsh*t). Besides, if the mere appearance of peddling access were a crime, every senator and congressman would be guilty.

Indeed, you must appreciate as much as I do the hypocrisy inherent in Trump accusing Hillary of corruption for granting access to rich donors, given how often he has boasted about donating to politicians for access.

All the same, I hasten to concede that the Clintons showed lots of skill, but too little discretion, when it came to using rich people to enrich themselves. But here too, if this were a crime, every former president and too many former politicians to count would be guilty. Remember former President Ronald Reagan’s $2-million speech at a Prudential realty-division sales convention … in Japan?

It’s also worth noting that the Clintons have never taken a dime in compensation for their work, which stands in commendable contrast to the lucrative way the heads of most charitable foundations are compensated.

DONALD TRUMPMeanwhile, the media seems unconcerned that Trump is so beholden to foreign partners and creditors, he personifies the very potential for conflict and corruption he’s denouncing. Trust me, his love of Chinese bankers and Russian oligarchs, including President Vladimir Putin, is not unrequited.

But foreign entanglements are the least of the Trump Organization’s compromising business practices. After all, Trump’s art of the deal, which has spawned thousands of lawsuits against his organization, makes patently clear that he thinks nothing of robbing poor people (of their labor and hard-earned cash) to enrich himself.

One needs only recall some of the despairing tales hard-working Americans have shared – about being fleeced by his Trump-University scheme, his South-of-the-Border-condo scheme, and his Atlantic-City-casino scheme, to name just a few – to appreciate his mercenary ruthlessness in this regard.

Then there are the U.S. taxpayers he fleeced (of billions over the years) with tax-avoidance schemes, which explains his mortal determination to prevent the media from ever seeing his tax returns. But nothing reflects his trademark corrupt practices quite like this huckster now using campaign donations to pay himself for renting his own office space at four times market value; this, despite promising to use his self-proclaimed $10-billion net worth to fund his campaign. Talk about P.T. Barnum and a sucker born every minute….

The point is that, given these known facts about the Clinton Foundation and the Trump Organization, which do you think poses the greater potential for influence peddling (to the country’s detriment) if either Hillary or Trump becomes president of the United States, respectively?

Frankly, Trump calling for the charitable Clinton Foundation to be shut down if Hillary is elected is perhaps the “yugest” example of pot calling kettle black in American political history. The psychopathology afoot here is called projection. It is defined by people attributing to others traits, faults, and blame that inhere in themselves. And it explains almost every insult Trump has hurled at his opponents throughout this presidential campaign.

So when you hear him calling other people crooked, insecure, weak, beholding to special interests, liars, etc., be mindful that he’s revealing self-conscious truths about himself, unwittingly.

So when you hear him calling other people crooked, insecure, weak, beholding to special interests, liars, etc., beware that he is just trying to deflect the fact that he’s more so in each case than anybody else.

Incidentally, apropos of his psychopathology, what kind of mind thinks it makes sense to get rid of a campaign manager because of his suspicious ties to Russian oligarchs, only to replace him with one who has notorious ties to white nationalists – as Trump did last week?

In any event, it’s high time the media get a perspective and begin asking him if he will shut down his for-profit Trump Organization if he’s elected. After all, if it’s untenable for Bill and Hillary to leave their daughter to run their charitable foundation; it’s doubly so for Trump to leave his children to run his for-profit organization.

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That said, there’s no denying that the Clintons have an imperial sense of entitlement. Only this explains Hillary defying Obama’s presidential authority by using her now infamous private e-mail server while serving as secretary of state. Of course, it’s pure karma that issues related to this server are now dogging her presidential campaign.

Nobody has been more critical of the Clintons in this respect than I. In “Hillary as Secretary of State?! Don’t Do It Barack,” November 15, 2008, I warned Obama that the Clintons’ abiding “2-for-1” presidential ambition would pose untenable conflicts. And in “Haiti Earthquake One Year Later,” January 11, 2011, I criticized the Clinton Foundation’s stewardship of rebuilding efforts. Not least because shady dealings involving family and friends rivaled those of Wyclef Jean’s Yele Foundation, which I wrote about in “The Gall of Haiti’s Wyclef Jean Criticizing International Donors,” January 21, 2014.

It’s just that, even with all their faults, Donald J. Trump has no leg to stand on when it comes to accusing the Clinton Foundation of any wrongdoing or shady dealings.

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* This commentary was originally published on Tuesday, August 23 at 4:23 p.m.

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