Captain's Quarters Blog

« Fizzlemas Strikes Again! | Main | A Moment With The Author Of Orange »

April 12, 2006
The Corporate Hillary

Hillary Clinton may want to run for president as a banner-carrier of populist fervor -- can Democrats run as anything else these days? -- but her corporate ties may trip her campaign before it even gets running. The New York Times reports today on her cozy relationship with Corning, a major employer in New York and one of her biggest contributors. It turns out that the benefits have flowed bidirectionally between Hillary and Corning:

In April 2003, a month after Corning's political action committee gave $10,000 to her re-election campaign, Mrs. Clinton announced legislation that would provide hundreds of millions in federal aid to reduce diesel pollution, using, among other things, technology pioneered by Corning. It was one of several Congressional initiatives Mrs. Clinton has pushed that benefit the company.

And in April 2004, Mrs. Clinton began a push to persuade the Chinese government to relax tariffs on Corning fiber optics products, inviting the Chinese ambassador to her office and personally asking President Bush for help in the matter. One month after the beginning of that ultimately successful effort, Corning's chairman, James Houghton, held a fund-raiser at his home that collected tens of thousands of dollars for her re-election campaign.

It is part of a senator's job description to help a major employer in his or her home state, and it is not unusual for that employer to encourage that help or to reciprocate with campaign contributions.

As an aside, I love how Mike McIntire and Raymond Hernandez throw that last sentence in their report. I suppose when Jack Abramoff does this on behalf of native Americans, it shows how the dirty lobbyists have corrupted the American political process. However, when Corning cuts out the middleman and shoves money into Hillary's coffers just before and after she initiates official actions on their behalf, suddenly that's just how the game is played! Had this story been about a GOP Senator and involved any lobbyist for Corning, those two paragraphs would have been the lead on a front-page political scandal story. And perhaps they still should be.

Putting that aside for the moment, the revelation of Hillary's shilling for corporate America will not go down well with the MoveOn/International ANSWER crowd that appears to run her political party these days. It's bad enough that Hillary used to sit on Walmart's board of directors and took lots of political donations from the Waltons on Bill's behalf during that period. This already has stuck in the craw of union organizers, and the Wal-Mart baggage became so heavy that Hillary has recently taken to scolding her former bestest buddies in public.

Now she has helped grease the skids for Corning with the same Chinese whose cheap labor threatens the American labor market and applies downward pressure on wages. (It also reminds one of her association with Wal-Mart and their extensive business dealings with Chinese manufacturers.) Corning sent $46,000 to Hillary's re-election campaign in the spring of 2004 after her intercession with the Chinese ambassador in attempting to reverse their tariffs on Corning. Her constituents may wonder how Hillary has so much clout with China, but veteran Clinton watchers already know the answer to that question.

This kind of corporate flacking might make sense for someone who believes in free-market solutions. However, as HillaryCare readily proved, that doesn't describe the junior Senator from New York at all. She has until recently often argued for greater regulation and expansion of government at the expense of free trade. That reached its apex in the health-care reform that she and her husband tried to implement in the first two years of his presidency. Her single-payor system attempted to essentially nationalize health care and put the government in charge of its rationing, along the same lines as Canada and the UK.

It seems as though Hillary's Corning ties will create hard questions about her run from both the right and the left. The latter will reject her association with corporate America, while the former will want to know exactly why Corning sent all that money in close connection with legislative activities on their behalf. The Hillary/Corning relationship has something unethical to offer all sides.

UPDATE: Read Jon Henke's take on this story -- it's a worthwhile reminder that the process is the problem.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 12, 2006 6:11 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is


Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!