Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How the Bulls**t War Against Hillary Works

Who should get the Three Pinocchios, WaPo or the Clinton Foundation?

More details are now out about the Clinton Foundation's connection to a Canadian charity that works close enough with Bill Clinton to have his imprimatur on it, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, and they are spurring another round of gotcha ruminations full of caveats and hedges. The hedges don't stop the Washington Post Fact Checker for throwing Three Pinocchios Hillary's way.

Here's the deal: The Clinton Foundation took contributions from CGEP, then didn't disclose the 1,100-some donors to CGEP (the vast majority of which are one-time donors attending a charity event), claiming now that Canadian law precludes releasing the donor's names, though the CGEP donations are common knowledge (yes, the G in CGEP is for Frank Giustra, who has broad interests in mining, including, yes, uranium).

Fact Checker looks at this and sees that federal Canadian law probably doesn't ban donor disclosure in the absence of commercial motives to do so, such as selling email lists. Then Fact Checker notes that British Columbian law may protect donor IDs. Here is the key statement:
British Columbia’s privacy law is stricter than the federal law, though substantially similar. It requires organizations to get donor permission when they collect, use or disclose their personal information. The province does not have a public database that shows which charities are subject to this law, and its spokeswoman could not immediately confirm whether CGEPartnership was subject to provincial law. This law does not apply to federally-regulated organizations already governed by PEPIDA.
It is not entirely clear which law applies to CGEPartnership. [...]
The Clinton Foundation said “all charities are prohibited from disclosing individual donors without prior permission from each donor” under Canadian law. It is unclear whether the foundation is referring to federal or provincial law. If it is the later, the statement would be accurate.
Got that? It's not clear which law applies, the one that permits but doesn't require disclosure or the one that may in fact prohibit disclosure. That doesn't stop Fact Checker from tossing Three Pinocchios -- the second-highest liar rating -- at Hillary.

Typical bullshit that won't hold up under examination. Plus, it's the usual not-much-there-there that enters the realm of meaninglessness.

Am I being a little kind to Hillary here? Yes, I am. Is WaPo being needlessly unkind to Hillary on an arcane point about transparency? You betcha, and it's unendingly boring. But it needs to be called out.

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