NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The controversy over foreign government donations to the Clinton family’s charitable foundation shows no signs of going away. Republicans teed off on likely 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday outside Washington.
At an event where Republican presidential wannabes will compete to outdo each other in bashing the likely Democratic nominee, Carly Fiorina made a strong opening bid. The former Hewitt-Packard executive and Senate candidate is the only Republican woman so far seriously considering a presidential run, and she is aiming to position herself as the anti-Clinton.
“She tweets about women’s rights in this country and takes money from governments that deny women the most basic human rights. She tweets about equal pay for women but won’t answer basic questions about her own offices’ pay standard -- and neither will our president. Hillary likes hashtags. But she doesn’t know what leadership means,” Fiorina will say, according to prepared remarks.
“Please explain why we should accept that the millions and millions of dollars that have flowed into the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments don’t represent a conflict of interest,” Fiorina will add. She will also say that Clinton could not “name an accomplishment” from her tenure as secretary of state.
Clinton has faced a week of negative news coverage and Republican attacks stemming from revelations that the Clinton Foundation took millions of dollars from foreign governments, including while Clinton was secretary of state, even after the Clintons struck a deal with the Obama administration to avoid such potential conflicts of interest.
Fiorina was not alone. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another likely 2016 candidate, used humor to go after Clinton. "We could have had Hillary here but we couldn't find a foreign nation to foot the bill,” he said.
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Meanwhile, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the latest revelations about the foundations fundraising “shady” and “disqualifying.” “No one in their right mind, Democrat or Republican can think the foundation receiving foreign government donations while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, and in violation of its ethics agreement with the Obama Administration, is acceptable,” Priebus said.
Wednesday evening, The Washington Post reported that not only did the foundation accept millions from mostly Middle Eastern governments, but it did so while Clinton was serving in Obama’s cabinet. Earlier, Politico reported that the State Department’s vetting of former president Bill Clinton’s foreign paid speeches was laxer than previously thought.
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee is coming to Clinton's defense. "If Carly Fiorina wants to talk “accomplishment, we’re happy to discuss hers," the group said, pointing to a CNN article about Fiorina tenure at HP.
CPAC is one of the year’s biggest and most important gathering of conservative activists, and thus a perennial pilgrimage site for Republican presidential hopefuls eager win over the grassroots.