Clintons dump politically sensitive stocks in Fox News, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Wal-Mart and Weapons

Independent | Jun 17, 2007

bush_clinton_kennebunkport

Bill Clinton on vacation with George H.W. Bush at Kennebunkport

Clintons sell off stock that could have proved a political time bomb

By Leonard Doyle in Washington

They got there thanks to a portfolio of investments in the arms trade, Big Oil and Big Pharma, all high on the hate list of many Democratic voters. They made more money investing in Wal-Mart and Rupert Murdoch’s News International – owner of Fox News- two bogies of the liberal activists.

Bill and Hillary Clinton have amassed a fortune worth between $5m (£3m) and $25m (£13m) since 1993, when they first entered the White House and put their investments in a blind trust.

Yesterday it was revealed that the Clintons sold off most of their investments last April fearing that they would become a political liability in the 2008 presidential race.

For a couple who have always stressed the value of public service over the money-grubbing private sector, the revelation that much of their wealth comes from arms, oil and pharmaceutical companies, will come as a shock to many Democratic activists.

The Clintons have always sided with America’s put-upon working man and woman over corporate interests. But thanks to their investments, books and Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements, they are now part of America’s wealthy elite.

They got there thanks to a portfolio of investments in the arms trade, Big Oil and Big Pharma, all high on the hate list of many Democratic voters. They made more money investing in Wal-Mart and Rupert Murdoch’s News International – owner of Fox News- two bogies of the liberal activists.

With the race for the White House focused on the war in Iraq, health care, oil insecurity and rising petrol prices, the stock portfolio was a ticking political time bomb. A government directive this spring meant that Mrs Clinton had to dissolve the blind trust that was managing their wealth.

Her leading opponent, Barack Obama attacked her for reaping “significant financial rewards” from controversial companies.

The Clintons have had an often toxic history with investments. Their White House years were overshadowed by accusations that they had used their influence to play fast and loose with the regulations. It was alleged that while speculating wildly on the cattle futures market and in a real estate deal known as Whitewater, that the insider knowledge of friends protected them from losses. It was Hillary Clinton who did the speculating and managed to transfer a stake of $5,000 into $100,000 in short order. That money ballooned thanks to astute investments by the blind trust over which they had no direct control. Critics says it could have always been earmarked towards “ethical” investments.

Today the couple’s total net worth is between $10m and $50m. Bill Clinton earned $10m giving speeches around the world last year. Mrs Clinton pulled in royalties of $350,025, for her largely ghostwritten autobiography, Living History. Under the new rules the Clintons did not have to sell off their investments. But their holdings in companies such as Raytheon, which makes missiles which have killed civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, or Exxon-Mobil, which has spent at least $8m to challenge the existence of global warming, were certain to be attacked by her opponents.

The Clintons’ investments in pharmaceutical companies was also bound to draw attention. Their stake in Fox News was equally sensitive given that the Democratic candidates are boycotting the network.

The John Edwards campaign says that Fox “advance the right-wing agenda while pretending they’re objective.”

Clinton advisers say that the couple would never have chosen many of the companies invested in by their blind trust. Moreover, by selling the entire portfolio they face a huge capital gains tax bill.

“Senator Clinton and the president wanted to go above and beyond and avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, so they chose to liquidate their assets,” their spokesman said.

4 responses to “Clintons dump politically sensitive stocks in Fox News, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Wal-Mart and Weapons

  1. Pingback: Bill Clinton’s friendship with Bush Sr may help Hillary « Aftermath News

  2. Pingback: Bush says Clinton will be Dem nominee « Aftermath News

  3. Pingback: Clintons get negative Hillary story dumped « Aftermath News

  4. Pingback: Clinton bucks the trend and rakes in cash from the US weapons industry « Aftermath News

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