Campaign Finance Warriors at New York Times Accepted Money from Hillary the Same Year They Endorsed Hillary
The New York Times editorial board has long advocated “campaign finance reform.” Its members have decried the Citizens United decision, advocated public financing of elections, and have repeatedly warned the country about the “damaging effects of unlimited spending by corporations and unions on elections” on our body politic, arguing that “unlimited independent expenditures can have a corrupting effect, without qualifying as quid-pro-quo bribery.”
So it is not without a certain irony that we learn today that the paper took cash from the Clintons the same year they endorsed Hillary:
A little-known private foundation controlled by Bill and Hillary Clinton donated $100,000 to the New York Times’ charitable fund in 2008, the same year the newspaper’s editorial page endorsed Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, according to tax documents reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Clinton Family Foundation, a separate entity from the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, has been the family’s vehicle for personal charitable giving since 2001.
It is funded directly by the Clintons and distributes more than $1 million a year to civic and educational causes.
According to a piece in The New Republic at the time, the editorial board was divided, with many wanting to endorse Obama — but they were overruled by Arthur Sulzberger Jr.:
According to Times sources, the paper almost didn’t back Clinton. The divisions within the Gray Lady’s editorial board mirrored the deep divide that has split Democrats in this tightly contested campaign. The 20-member board had initially leaned toward Obama, Times sources say. But in January, after the board had debated the endorsement in two separate sessions, Times chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. decided to favor Clinton.
Here’s the latest gossip: The Times editorial board was, apparently, planning to endorse Barack Obama in the New York primary; the Clinton campaign, getting wind of this, called upon one of its major financial supporters (and eager-beaver prospective Treasury secretary), the private-equity manager Steven Rattner, the best friend and principal adviser of Arthur Sulzberger Jr. Rattner is thought to have petitioned Sulzberger, and Sulzberger thereupon overruled his editorial board, which then backed Clinton.
Maybe the $100K check from the Clintons was what was needed to seal the deal.
Making matters worse, as a watchdog noted last year, the Neediest Cases charity has been remarkably non-transparent about placing its IRS Form 990s on Web sites for public review. Remember that the New York Times editorial board is the same group of folks who call for transparency in campaign financing, decrying “a torrent of unregulated and secretive money.” But their own secretive money is just fine, apparently.
In short, we have a newspaper 1) running funds that politicians can donate to, 2) keeping those donations secret, and then 3) deciding whether to endorse particular candidates.
Yup, nothing to see here, folks.
The folks at the New York Times clearly understand the corrupting influence that money can have on politicians. Are they saying that money can corrupt politicians, but not journalists?