An End to Bribery


On April 15, 2017, the Clinton Global Initiative, part of the Clinton Foundation, will shut down. The CGI’s website says it “convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges” and has “improved the lives of over 435 million people in more than 180 countries.” So if it’s doing such great work, why are the Clinton’s closing up shop?

It would make sense to shut down the CGI to avoid conflicts of interest if Hillary Clinton had won the election. But she lost. So now what is the reason to end the program they say has helped hundreds of millions of people?

The CGI is not the only problem in Clintonworld. Overall donations to the Clinton Foundation are down. The Australian government, which has donated close to 100 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation over the years has suddenly decided to end its partnership. The Norwegian government, which had jumped it’s yearly donations to 20-25 million dollars as Hillary was running for president has decided to drop back down to 4-5 million dollars a year now that she’s lost. It’s hard to argue the Clinton Foundation’s declining financial prospects and Hillary’s declining political power are unrelated. It seems clear that the Foundation was designed to allow the rich and powerful to buy access to the assumed future president.

The Clintons may be the most brazen practitioners of this form of legalized bribery, but they are not alone. Some politicians manage to get amazingly cheap real estate deals, board appointments and quick career advancement for their family, etc. Unfortunately it is not possible to ban this. We cannot very well outlaw family members of politicians getting good paying jobs and the government should not dictate the price politicians pay for inherently fluid purchases such as real estate.

There will always be those willing to buy politicians in exchange for government largess, and there will always be politicians willing to give away tax payer money to enrich themselves. There is only one way to truly prevent bribery: take away the politicians’ ability to provide benefits.

Big government provides endless opportunities for tax payer funds to be redirected to specific businesses and individuals. The more complicated and expensive the legislation, the more unsavory individuals will pursue an unfair advantage, and the easier it is hide payoffs. A smaller government, one that reduces the largess to be spread around and the ability to hide redirected funds in mammoth bills, is the only way to prevent bribery: by taking away the benefits of bribing politicians.