Senator Hillary Clinton has requested nearly $2.3 billion in federal earmarks for the next fiscal year. That’s almost three times the largest amount received by a single senator during this current fiscal year. Earmarks are funding requests for those so-called pet projects that lawmakers usually award to their own constituency.
And while Clinton has asked for $750,000 for a Homeland Security grant program and another $125 million for an urban security initiative, it is not clear what exactly those grants would pay for.
Hillary Clinton is calling for a holiday on the 18.4-cent gasoline tax, and she says she’d make up the funding from that (which funds transportation infrastructure) by taxing oil company’s “windfall” profits.
But it’s worth pointing out that Clinton OPPOSED efforts to cut or repeal gas taxes during her 2000 Senate contest against Rick Lazio.
In this week’s debate, Hillary Clinton said all of her “baggage” has been “rummaged through” for years. But important features of her close relationship with known terrorist sympathizers and Hamas supporters are still opaque to the public view.
Her relationship with terrorists began in the mid-1980s when she served on the Board of the New World Foundation, which gave funds to the Palestine Liberation Organization, at a time when the PLO was officially recognized by the US government as a terrorist organization.
In 1996, the First Lady initiated an outreach program to bring Muslim leaders to the White House. But, as terrorism expert Steve Emerson noted in the Wall Street Journal “Curiously, nearly all of the leaders with whom Mrs. Clinton elected to meet came from Islamic fundamentalist organizations. A review of the statements, publications, and conferences of the groups Mrs. Clinton embraced shows unambiguously that they have long advocated or justified violence. By meeting with these groups, the first lady lent them legitimacy as ‘mainstream’ and ‘moderate.’”
Among these radical groups was the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, both groups that support Hamas, who attended a White House reception hosted by Hillary in February, 1996. Emerson says that its leaders “have sanctioned terrorism, published anti-Semitic statements, and repeatedly hosted conferences that were forums for denunciations of Jews and exhortations to wage jihad.”
The American Muslim Alliance was headed in the 90s by Abdulrahman Alamoudi who met with Clinton and Gore in 1995. Emerson notes that “Mrs. Clinton [allowed] the American Muslim Alliance to draw up the Muslim guest list for the first lady’s…White House reception.”
Alamoudi, Emerson says was “the primary defender of Musa Abu Marzug, the Hamas political bureau chief responsible for creating the group’s death squads.” Marzug took “credit” when Hamas brigades sprayed machine gun fire into a crowded Jerusalem mall. But less than three days after Marzug was arrested by the FBI in July of 1995, Alamoudi said that Marzug “had never been involved in terrorism” and called his arrest “an insult to the Muslim community. Emerson reports that he “elicited contributions fro Marzug’s defense fund” and called him a “political prisoner.”
Then, Hillary ran for Senate on her own and suddenly it was payback time. On June 13, 2000, the American Muslim Alliance’s Massachusetts Chapter held a very successful fundraiser for her candidacy. Tahir Ali, the chairman of the chapter, said “we must support all who have [Muslim] interests at heart.”
Perhaps conscious of how controversial the contribution would be, Hillary or someone on her staff, tried to pull a fast one, recording the donation on federal filing forms as being from the “American Museum Alliance.” But alert observers weren’t fooled and Senate candidate Clinton was forced to acknowledge who the real donor was and, four months after getting the money, she returned it.
As Chinese authorities have clamped down on unrest in Tibet and jailed dissidents in advance of the 2008 Olympics, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has taken a strong public stance, calling for restraint in Tibet and urging President Bush to boycott the Olympics opening ceremonies in Beijing.
But her recent stern comments on China’s internal crackdown collide with former President Bill Clinton’s fundraising relationship with a Chinese Internet company accused of collaborating with the mainland government’s censorship of the Web. Last month, the firm, Alibaba Inc., carried a government-issued “most wanted” posting on its Yahoo China homepage, urging viewers to provide information on Tibetan activists suspected of stirring recent riots.
Alibaba, which took over Yahoo’s China operation in 2005 as part of a billion-dollar deal with the U.S.-based search engine, arranged for the former president to speak to a conference of Internet executives in Hangzhou in September 2005. Instead of taking his standard speaking fees, which have ranged from $100,000 to $400,000, Clinton accepted an unspecified private donation from Alibaba to his international charity, the William J. Clinton Foundation.
Hillary Clinton used her trademark laugh Thursday to deflect a question about the $800,000 her husband earned in 2005 giving speeches for a Bogota-based group that supports the Colombia free trade agreement — the same trade deal she currently opposes.
Asked by CNN if those earnings represented a conflict of interest given that she has dipped into her family’s pocketbook to pay campaign bills, Clinton threw up her hands and laughed loudly for several seconds.
“How many angels dance on the head of the pin?,” she responded, continuing to giggle. “I have really, uh, nothing to … I mean, how do you answer that?”
The New York senator explained there are different sides to the argument over trade, and re-emphasized her own opposition to the trade deal, assailing the Colombian government’s “outrageous” record of “targeting labor leaders.”
“I am against the Colombia free trade deal,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who talks to me. It doesn’t matter any circumstances. I have been against it. I am against it. I will be against it absent the kind of changes in behavior that I have been calling for from the Colombian government.”
Earlier in the press conference, describing her husband’s advocacy for the trade deal, Clinton said: “Everyone is free to express their opinion.”