I keep thinking we’ve established a floor for the insane anti-Clinton media coverage, and today Chris Cillizza proves me wrong again. I can almost hear him sniffing down his nose in disapproval all the way from the unwashed suburbs.
Clinton’s argument boils down to the idea of a burden of proof. As in, if there’s something truly objectionable in what the foundation has done, then someone should prove it. Legally speaking, Clinton’s right. If you think he or the foundation broke some sort of law, then you should need to provide conclusive evidence of when, where, why, what and how.
But of course, what we are mostly talking about when it comes to the Clinton Foundation is the gray area between contributions made by donors and decisions made by the foundation that benefited those people. Proving that sort of quid pro quo in a legal setting is virtually impossible barring a smoking gun — like an e-mail that says: “Mr. X gave $300,000. Let’s fund his project now.”
In politics, however, gray areas can be exploited to great advantage by your political opponents. Raising questions about the timing between donations to the Clinton Foundation and decisions made that lined the pockets of those donors is totally within the bounds of acceptable — and effective — negative messaging. Republicans don’t need to prove that the Clinton Foundation did anything untoward. The burden of proof that there was no wrongdoing lies with the Clinton Foundation.
Emphasis added with a high degree of incredulity.
Several things. First off, Cillizza is demanding that when attacked, it is incumbent upon the Clinton Foundstion to prove a negative - that nothing bad happened. As a practical matter, this is virtually impossible, and is tantamount to a “you’re guilty if accused” line of thinking.
Second, it’s not just the law that is about “when, where, why, what and how.” It’s also the bread and butter standard of the alleged profession of journalism with which Cillizza is supposedly familiar.
Finally, if Mr. Cillizza is unshod with the need to actually prove the allegations that are being vomited up by every right wing hack in the right wing hack machine, maybe he should take it up with the venerable dispenser of Supreme Couet wisdom, the right reverend Anthony Kennedy, who opined in Citizens United about the matter of contributions.
“Independent expenditures do not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption.”
Apparently, there’s a secret footnote in the opinion that only Chris Cillizza can read, probably with lemon juice, such that the rules don’t apply when Chris Cillizza has a burr up his ass about those uppity Clintons.
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