PIQUERO: Clinton’s scandal-clad past bodes U.S. future
Opinions Column: The Principled Millennial
Is this what we have to look forward to for the next four years?
The constant drip of scandals. The slow and steady culmination of lies, deceit and manipulation. Allegations denied despite the evidence of truth. Cryptic and oftentimes contradicting statements. Secrecy on a scale that is unsettling in public service.
In other words, the Clinton machine.
It is no public secret that former President Bill Clinton and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have been less than honest over the years. In 1986, federal regulators investigated a shady real estate deal involving the development firm Whitewater Development Corporation in Arkansas. Many people implicated in the scandal included former Arkansas Gov. Jim Tucker (D), municipal judges and close friends of the Clintons. Evidence was found of the Clinton family's involvement in the scandal. What followed was a contentious period in which the Clinton family failed to initially give up important documents pertaining to the investigation and engaged in what would become their trademark dismissive hyperbole. Although it is true that the Clinton’s were never officially charged with any criminal wrongdoing, federal prosecutors cast doubts regarding improper campaign contributions, political and financial favors and tax benefits.
The "Whitewater" scandal was nonetheless usurped in media attention by the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal. The scandal involved repeated sexual encounters between then-President Bill Clinton, 49, and White House intern Monica Lewinsky, who was 22 at the time. Despite the rather obvious concerns regarding that arrangement, what is perhaps most remembered is Bill Clinton’s now legendary remark when asked about the alleged affair: Responding to a reporter, Bill Clinton brazenly proclaimed, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Of course that was a bold-faced lie, as the DNA evidence suggested. Of greater concern was the fact that Bill Clinton also lied to investigators during questioning and was formally impeached by the House of Representatives under charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Hillary Clinton defended her husband, suggesting the accusations against him were nothing more than a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” How much she knew regarding the scandal is still a matter of political controversy.
Transparency and accountability are two words that cannot be attributed to the Clinton family. This was evident in the 1990s, just as it is evident in the 2000s.
Anyone following the news in the past few weeks has assuredly come across the mounting email scandal following the Democratic nominee and the relatively new development that the FBI has found emails on former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner's laptop that may be relevant to their investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server. The basic problem with the email scandal revolves around Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State. It is illegal under federal law to use a private email server in this position because of the carelessness of sending confidential materials through insecure servers. Russian or Chinese hackers could very realistically hack into the servers and steal confidential government secrets. In addition to this, Hillary reportedly erased over 33,000 emails through an expensive and complicated process known as “BleachBit” that she claims were personal in nature.
Perhaps the email scandal would have gone away entirely if she had just admitted to the misjudgment. An honest, ethical human being would have taken accountability for their actions, apologized and moved on. They would have realized that the politically advantageous decision would have been to be open and genuine with voters so as not to appear manipulative and cunning.
Hillary Clinton apparently missed this memo.
Instead, she engaged in the same kind of slippery jargon that she and her husband have been using for more than 30 years. She has repeatedly claimed that she has never emailed any classified emails through this server. Lie. FBI Director James Comey found that “110 emails in 52 email chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.” Of these confidential emails, eight were deemed “Top Secret,” which is the highest level of classification given to confidential materials. Hillary Clinton has claimed that her actions were “allowed” by the U.S. Department of State and asserted that they had confirmed such action. Lie.
In Comey’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, he stated “Office of Inspector General found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server,” and further added, “Any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”
What’s pathetic is that this isn’t even the only scandal she is involved in this year. There's Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation and now WikiLeaks.
The lies keep piling on, coverups are unearthed, the scandals grow and American democracy is degraded.
To answer my original question: Yes, this is exactly what we have to look forward to for the next four years.
Michael Piquero is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science and history. His column, “The Principled Millennial,” runs on alternate Fridays.
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