[lbo-talk] Palast on Hillary and Entergy

Michael Pollak mpollak at panix.com
Fri May 4 16:34:39 PDT 2007

[The Entergy story, which is the only part that's news (if it's true) is the second half. But I leave the first half for its anecdotes and for , FWIW.]

URL: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/05/04/967/

Friday, May 4, 2007


Hillary's Mother-F'ing Tour Business

by Greg Palast

Before his untimely death in a plane crash, Commerce Secretary Ron

Brown said,

"I'm not Hillary's mother-f****** tour guide!"

That wasn't a nice thing for a member of the President's cabinet to

say about the First Lady, now my Senator, Hillary Clinton.

And it's probably not polite for me to bring it up now. But if I

don't, surely the Karl Rovarians will - if Senator Mrs. Clinton

nails the Presidential nomination.

Bill Clinton used to say that, once he became president, he finally

earned more money than his wife. That was a carefully crafted bit of

modesty to show Bill as an aw-shucks regular guy versus Richie

Rich-kid George Bush.

But Bill's cute remark raised a question in my mind: How did Hillary

get that big ol' salary? And another question arises: how has she

stayed out of prison?

The story's a little complicated, involving a New Orleans power

company, Indonesian billionaires, a New York nuclear plant and plain

old influence peddling. But if we follow the money, we'll get the

picture. And it ain't pretty.

But first, let's stop at Wal-Mart. Read an official biography of the

Senator and you'll find her six-month stint on a child-protection

task force. Yet you won't find her SIX YEARS on the board of

directors of Wal-Mart Corporation. She may have earned a Grammy for

"It Takes a Village to Raise a Child." But it takes a Governor's

wife to provide cover for Wal-Mart's profiteering off systematic

wage-enslavement of children in its factories in South America.

Sam Walton called Hillary, "My little lady." Sam paid her an eyebrow

raising sum for a director - equal to 60% of her entire

not-insubstantial salary as a lawyer. By contrast, Wendy Diaz (her

real name), a 13-year-old in Honduras, was paid 25 cents an hour to

make shirts for the "little lady's" label.

Hillary's rake-in was made possible by Wal-Mart's 100% union-free

operation and out-sourcing of 100% of its manufacturing, some to

prison factories in China. Now, you could say that Hillary couldn't

hear the screams of the kiddies in Kamp Wal-Mart in Honduras. After

all, she relied on the intelligence provided her by the President

(of Wal-Mart).

Fast forward to 1994 and the Brown `mother-f'ing tour guide'

business. According to Nolanda Hill, the Commerce Secretary's

long-time business partner and love interest, Brown, who died in

1996, endorsed a Hillary cash-for-access scheme ($10,000 for coffee

with the President, $100,000 for a night in the Lincoln bedroom).

However, Brown resented the discount rate the First Lady put on US

executives joining Brown's lucrative trade missions. `I'm worth more

than $50,000 a pop!' he said.

One company more than happy to pony up for a cash joy-ride with

Brown was Entergy International. This electric company, based in

Little Rock, became one of the world's biggest power system

operators on the planet under the Clinton regime. Interestingly,

Bill Clinton began his political climb by running for Arkansas

Attorney General campaigning on a pledge to fight Entergy's electric

price hikes. His pro-consumer plan was defeated in court by

Entergy's law firm - which included one Hillary Rodham.

There were more favors for Entergy. In 1998, I discovered, while

working under cover for the Guardian and Observer, that Tony Blair

was personally fixing the system to let Entergy to violate British

policy on coal plants. Why? I picked up in my secret recordings of

Blair's cronies that calls to take care of Entergy, rules be damned,

had come in from the office of `the Flotus' - the First Lady of the

United States.

It gets creepier. In June of 1994, Entergy's partner in Asia, the

Riady family of Indonesia paid recently-resigned Associate Attorney

General Webster Hubbell a $100,000 consulting fee. Odd that: Hubbell

was on his way to prison for the felony crime of inflating his legal

bills. Why would Asians pay a lawyer for advice on Asia who was on

his way to the pokey?

Maybe it had to do with his partner in crime. I've conducted

investigations of lawyer over-billing. It is nearly impossible for a

senior lawyer to pad billing records unless the junior partner also

fraudulently monkeys with time logs to make sure the records don't

give away the game. Who was Hubbell's "little lady" junior partner?

Today we call her Madame Senator.

Hillary's logs were worth close inspection by authorities, no? But

the funny thing about Hillary's billing records: when requested for

disclosure in another suit, they disappeared. First, her law firm's

computers went ka-blooey. Then the paper printouts vanished, but not

before, during the 1992 Presidential campaign, they were secretly

combed over, line by line, by ... Web Hubbell.

Hubbell knew his own logs were phonied, and he understood the

consequences of exposure. Ultimately, bloated hours on those records

caused him to lose his law license, his Associate Attorney General

post and his freedom. He got 21 months in the slammer.

What did Hubbell see and know about Hillary's logs? Hubbell won't

say, except for a cryptic remark, after seeing her bills, that

`every lawyer' fabricates records. Hubbell pleaded guilty, but

refused to answer investigators' questions, a requirement in any

plea bargain - so the judge had to sentence him to prison.

Why would Hubbell choose to do time on the chain gang over

testifying about the First Lady? His prosecutors did not know at the

time of the $100,000 Riady payment, the first of over half a million

dollars Hubbell would receive from Clinton friends in the weeks up

to his entering jail.

And those Hillary billing records? Hubbell lost them - how

convenient. Then they reappeared two years later, just outside

Hillary's office, right after Hubbell announced he would refuse to

testify against her.

Maybe the Clintons knew nothing about the big money flowing to

prison-bound Hubbell. Knowledge of the payments would suggest they

were buying Hubbell's silence. In 1996, when the LA Times uncovered

the payments, Mrs. Clinton's First Man Bill stone-cold denied he

knew anything about it.

Then, in 2000, in a deposition by the Justice Department, the

President changed his tune. Investigators confronted the President

with this: on June 20, 1994, Hubbell met with Hillary. Two days

later, James Riady, the Asian billionaire Entergy partner, met with

Hubbell for breakfast. Just a few hours later, Riady returned to the

White House, then met again with Hubbell, then made two more treks

to the White House. Two days later, a videotape shows the beginning

of another meeting in the Oval Office between Clinton and Riady --

but oddly, before they talk, the tape goes blank. Two days after

that, Hubbell gets his $100,000 through a Riady bank.

Lying to journalists is a venal sin, but lying to the Feds is

perjury. In his deposition, the President's denial transformed into

amnesia. He couldn't remember if Riady mentioned the payment. Then,

the President slyly opened the door to the truth. "I wouldn't be

surprised if James told me," Clinton said. Neither would I.

What did Riady get? The Flotus herself, says Nolanda Hill, forced

Brown to accept the appointment of Riady's bag man, John Huang, as a

Commerce Department deputy. According to records of calls the

Guardian obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, Huang's first

order of business was to wheedle his way into confidential CIA

briefings on Indonesia and China, then call Riady and his Entergy


The same day Riady met the President, documents show he called on a

Clinton crony at the top of the department's Export-Import Bank. "We

just came over from the Oval Office," is a nice way to provide

assurance of the `political connection' required for help. These and

other Riady team meetings at Commerce are marked 'social'. Yet,

shortly thereafter, the department agreed to promote and fund the

Riady-Entergy China venture.

Influence is not a victimless crime. Riady and his minions' visits

to the White House (94 times!) included successful requests for the

President to meet Indonesian dictator Suharto and to kill negative

reports on East Timor and working conditions in Indonesia. Timorese

and Indonesians paid for these policy flips with blood.

Has Entergy's investment in Hillary's jail-bird partner continued to

pay dividends?

Code Pink and New York environmentalists have been pulling out their

hair over Senator Clinton's backing of the operation of the creaky

old Indian Point nuclear plant just above - and within irradiating

distance of - New York City. The owner of the Indian Point nuke?

Hillary's old buck buddies, Entergy.

Am I saying Hillary would arrange for a payoff to keep witnesses

silent, to poison US foreign policy for the profit of corporate

cronies, to vote in Washington loaded down with conflicts of

interest? I would never say so. Even if the evidence will.

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, ARMED

MADHOUSE: From Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange

Tales of a White House Gone Wild. www.GregPalast.com

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list