In the uproar over George Stephanopoulos’s hefty, long-undisclosed contributions to the Clinton Foundation, New York magazine blogger Jonathan Chait casts himself in a role similar to that of the child in the tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes” who, after so many have admired their ruler’s supposedly magnificent outfit, points out that the monarch actually is wearing nothing at all.
“Everybody agrees this is terrible,” wrote Chait in a Thursday post. “But…why? [Rand] Paul accuses Stephanopoulos of harboring a ‘conflict of interest.’ But donating money to a charitable foundation is not an interest…It’s true that some donors have an incentive to use the Foundation to get close to the Clintons in a way that might benefit their business interests…But none of those problems reflects poorly on Stephanopoulos.”
The Clinton Foundation, Chait remarked, “is, after all, a charity. It used to have non-partisan overtones…Stephanopoulos’s defense — that he just wanted to donate to the Foundation’s work on AIDS prevention and deforestation — seems 100 percent persuasive. He is the victim of the ethical taint of the Clintons’ poorly handled business dealings, combined with an underlying right-wing suspicion of the liberal media, but what his critics have yet to produce is a coherent case against him.”