Even Liberal Journalists Chait, O'Donnell Have SERIOUS Issues with Clinton Foundation

Proving how the Clinton Foundation scandal has become increasingly difficult for the media to ignore, Monday’s The Last Word on MSNBC featured liberal host Lawrence O’Donnell and lefty New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait agreed that the foundation represents “a bigger problem than the Clinton campaign really seems to be aware of” and has been different than the set-up for another famous political family’s charity in the Rockefeller Foundation. 

Chait prefaced one set of comments by admitting that a recent Boston Globe editorial calling on the suspension of donations to the Clinton Foundation was warranted and while “the purpose of the Clinton Foundation is a very positive one” (read: supposed purpose) to provide resources to people in Third World countries, “it has a side effect” that, at the least, created the appearance of evil. 

“[T]he side effect is that rich people who want the favor of the Clintons for any kind of public policy know that they can get that favor by giving money to the Clinton Foundation...then you're one of those people, then you're at the front of the line for a meeting, for a post, whatever it is you're after,” Chair explained.

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Moments after Chait added that he believes “it's a bigger political problem than the Clinton campaign really seems to be aware of,” O’Donnell concluded that much of the New York commentator’s argument in a recent piece was that Clinton supporters are so clueless that they don’t realize the appearance of a pay-for-play between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department ever existed. 

Chait confirmed that summation and opined that Clinton supporters are right to expose Donald Trump’s flaws but they shouldn’t be “often hypocritical” in ignoring Clinton’s scandals:

[T]heir critics are often hysterical and they’re often hypocritical and Donald Trump is one of the flamboyantly corrupt people to ever seek high office in the United States, so it’s easy for them to say as they are saying, well look at Donald Trump and look at all his problems. They’re so much bigger and they're right, but that can't be the standard that you hold yourself to. You just can't be much better than your opponents[.]

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Providing a take of his own, O’Donnell recalled the walls of separation between the Rockefeller Foundation and family members who served in politics with former Governor Nelson Rockefeller (R-N.Y.) and Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.): 

You know what? I think of Jay Rockefeller, Senator from West Virginia and the great, enormous Rockefeller Foundation that he had — he had no connection to, really, as he was a senator, but that is such a different thing. That was the Rockefeller family giving away their money, not taking contributions from anyone and so Governor Rockefeller in New York, Senator Rockefeller in West Virginia, they had nothing to do with taking in contributions to this thing.

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on August 22 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
August 22, 2016
10:25 p.m. Eastern

JONATHAN CHAIT: I think the Boston Globe editorial had it right and I think Ed Rendell had it right the first time he made his comments and before they maybe had a little chat with him. Look, the purpose of the Clinton Foundation is a very positive one. The purpose is to leverage the thing with the Clintons into raising money for charity, but the problem is that it has a side effect and the side effect is that rich people who want the favor of the Clintons for any kind of public policy know that they can get that favor by giving money to the Clinton Foundation. If you give money to the Clinton Foundation, then you're one of those people, then you're at the front of the line for a meeting, for a post, whatever it is you're after. Now, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily corrupt, but it's just not the kind of public policy you really want your — your president to be having and I think it's a bigger political problem than the Clinton campaign really seems to be aware of.

(....)

10:26 p.m. Eastern

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Jonathan, one of the points you make in your piece is that one of the reasons you suspect Hillary Clinton and the Clinton campaign don't understand the way this plays is that they believe that the Clintons have done nothing wrong, therefore, nothing really needs to be corrected, but your argument is about the perception of this. 

CHAIT: Well, it's the perception of this and the possibility for real conflicts to arise from this foundation and public policy and part of the problem is — as you just saw — their critics are often hysterical and they’re often hypocritical and Donald Trump is one of the flamboyantly corrupt people to ever seek high office in the United States, so it’s easy for them to say as they are saying, well look at Donald Trump and look at all his problems. They’re so much bigger and they're right, but that can't be the standard that you hold yourself to. You just can't be much better than your opponents and you can't just rely on the fact your opponents go overboard, you need to look at yourself and you need to say are we doing everything the right way and in this instance, they're not. 

O’DONNELL: You know what? I think of Jay Rockefeller senator from West Virginia and the great, enormous Rockefeller Foundation that he had — he had no connection to, really, as he was a senator, but that is such a different thing. That was the Rockefeller family giving away their money, not taking contributions from anyone and so Governor Rockefeller in New York, Senator Rockefeller in West Virginia, they had nothing to do with taking in contributions to this thing.

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals MSNBC The Last Word Video Government & Press Clinton Foundation Lawrence O'Donnell Jonathan Chait
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