With the world media coming dangerously close to announcing that Hillary Clinton plans to accept the Secretary of State position in Barack Obama’s cabinet, Hair Balls thought we’d reach out to longtime Clinton-family ally and former Ambassador to the Bahamas under President Clinton, Houston attorney Arthur Schechter.
Schechter says he last talked to Bill and Hillary roughly three weeks ago and hung out with Mr. Clinton when the former president visited the Schechter home in Houston about a month ago. He says the whole conflict-of-interest mess over who donated to the Clinton library is, in his mind, much ado about nothing.
Bill Clinton “raised $7 billion for his international foundation,” Schechter says, “and that money has gone into creating AIDS benefits and creating water supplies and doing anti-malaria work, basically putting a face on America that we ought to be just jumping up and down and clapping our hands about. To me, what difference does it make if some of his foundation which puts a good face on America gets some of its money from Saudi Arabia. I think it’s a good thing. At least it brings some of our money back into processes to help America.”
That being said, Schechter also agrees that there should be absolute transparency.
“From this moment forward if [Hillary Clinton] is Secretary of State,” he says, “I think all of his and her records are fair game for the public to look at to see if there’s a conflict of interest.”
But Schechter doesn’t see one.
“I don’t see any conflict at all,” he says, “in having her be Secretary of State and having him going out beating drums with some chief in Africa where they’re delivering cubes of chemicals than can make a water supply for a whole village and putting an American flag on that deal.”
Of course, Schechter knows he’s biased.
“I’m very prejudiced because I really like the Clintons,” he says. “But for his ‘prick-adillos,’ they have a perfect record and I think most of the American people perceive them that way.”
President Bill Clinton appointed Schechter to Ambassador to the Bahamas in 1998. In addition to a lawyer and philanthropist, Schecter has also raised a ton of money for Clinton. (You generally don't get appointed Ambassador to the Bahamas because of your lengthy resume in international diplomacy.)
When asked what advice he has for Hillary as a former state department employee, Schechter laughs and says, “I think Hillary Clinton knows a hell of a lot more about it than I do.”
-- Chris Vogel