Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hillary Clinton's "Yucaipagate" Connection

One of the best friends of 2008 Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s husband is a billionaire named Ron Burkle. Besides contributing a lot of money to Democratic Party political campaigns, Burkle is a founder and managing partner of Yucaipa Companies and also sits on the board of directors of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation.

Coincidentally, after he was unable to run for a third-term as U.S. President because of the 22nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Hillary Clinton’s husband was given a multi-million dollar per year job as a “consultant” at Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies. And by September 26, 2007, Hillary’s husband was a partner and senior advisor at Burkle’s Los Angeles-based investment and money management firm.

Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies manages about $3 billion for clients like the State of California’s Public Employees Pension System. As a counselor, partner and senior advisor at Burkle’s firm since he moved out of the White House, Hillary’s husband may have used his special political influence to help Yucaipa Companies secure more local and state pension funds as clients for Burkle’s for-profit investment/money management firm. As the New York Times observed in a March 21, 2004 article:

“A small but growing part of the $2 trillion in state and local pension funds is being steered into high-risk investments by pension consultants and others who often have business dealings with the very money managers they recommend…Former President Bill Clinton meets with pension trustees on behalf of the Yucaipa Companies…”

Besides being cozy with Yucaipa Companies founder and Occidental Petroleum corporate board member Burkle [whose Yucaipa firm was the largest shareholder in the Wild Oats grocery store chain before Wild Oats was recently purchased by the Whole Foods grocery store chain), Bill “Yucaipagate” Clinton apparently still exercises a special political influence over Hillary Clinton. As Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodhan Clinton by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. observed:

“Since leaving the White House, Mr. Clinton has earned more than $40 million giving speeches—and has entered into business relationship with Mr. Burkle…

“…On…February 15, 2006, the most ambitious money-raising effort for a presidential candidate would be launched in a sumptuous Georgetown home. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the guest of honor. The host was Elizabeth Bagley, President Clinton’s ambassador to Portugal, a friend and confidant of Hillary’s, and an aggressive fund-raiser who had brought in millions for the Clintons and the Democratic Party…

“Even before Hillary announced, Bill served as her advisor, chief strategist, cheerleader and coach.”

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