Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hillary and Dubai, just a few steps removed :: New York Observer


Bill and Hillary Clinton seem to have the Dubai port controversy covered 10 ways from Sunday.

Sen. Clinton is bashing the White House deal that would have the oil-rich United Arab Emirates - through the government-owned Dubai Ports World - running half a dozen major U.S. ports. Former President Clinton, however, is praising Dubai as an enlightened Arab nation and "a critical ally in the war on terror."

Does Bill have a less than altruistic reason to be pro-Dubai? Yesterday I asked his office if he helped recruit Dubai into a potentially lucrative partnership with Democratic fund-raiser Ron Burkle's private investment firm, Yucaipa.

The former President is a frequent visitor to Dubai, possibly on Burkle's 757 jet, is an occasional high-dollar lecturer there ($300,000 for a single speech), and serves on Yucaipa's board of directors.

A knowledgeable source speculates that billionaire Burkle pays his close friend seven figures - and possibly even an equity stake - for his advice and hard work. That might take the pressure off Hillary to support the Clintons' households.

Since last fall, according to news accounts, Yucaipa and government-owned Dubai Investments have jointly bid on the commodities broker Refco, Inc., and the Albertson's grocery chain. No deals yet.

Spokesmen for Yucaipa and the Clintons refused to comment on the Clinton-Dubai connection, and the former President's office pointed me toward Hillary's Senate financial disclosure statements - with the relevant one expected to be filed in a couple of months.
Let's keep the no-downside cattle futures story alive.

And there's this:

In October, 2005, Yucaipa, working with the Dubai Investment Group—owned by the Dubai government—made a $828 million bid for Refco, the firm that caused Ms. Clinton a headache when she was accused of having a conflict of interest when she invested in cattle-futures in 1979. Mr. Clinton was cleared of any wrongdoing, but the firm was fined.

Mr. Burkle has also wielded his influence at home. He acted as finance chair of Senator Dianne Feinstein's reelection campaign, and has become a favorite moneyman for Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton.

"Mr. Burkle is a well known Democratic fundraiser and we appreciate his strong support of Senator Clinton," said Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Senator Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Burkle hired Mr. Clinton in April 2002 as "senior adviser" to two Yucaipa investment funds which specialize in developing low-income-area businesses.


Corkery, in his March 8 column, reports that Clinton is Yucaipa's chief marketing guy. Burkle pays him $10 million a year, Corkery's says, for services which are mostly to drum up money in Dubai. Corkery reports that Clinton flies so often to Dubai on Burkle's Boeing 757 that he calls it "Air Ron."

Burkle's relationship with the Rev. Jackson goes back to the 1990s. The Chicago Tribune, in an April 8, 2001 story, reported that Burkle gave Karin Stanford a job and helped her with a home mortgage after she gave birth to the married civil rights leader's child in 1999. The Tribune also alleged that Burkle helped Jackson's two adult sons obtain an Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Chicago. Shortly after the deal, Jesse Jackson dropped his 15-year boycott against the company's beers.
Did I mention I love to witness the exposure of hypocrisy in high places? Democrats must wonder, if they are not stupid, why - with Bill and Hillary and Jesse around - they need enemies.

It's great to bring to the attention of the next generation that it is Hillary who it the most ethically-challenged person in her marriage bed. It's even greater when it is she who saves others the trouble of drawing attention to the skeletons in her closet.


UPDATE: Welcome readers of Pajamas Media and Belmont Club.

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