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Who Made The Clinton Donor List (And Who Didn't)

POSTED: 12:28 PM ET, 12/19/2008 by Derek Kravitz

As the list of donors to former President Bill Clinton's charitable foundation began to circulate Thursday, Clinton observers wondered whether the donors would include two well-known fundraisers and friends: marketing company owner Vinod Gupta and supermarket mogul Ronald Burkle.

Gupta's name showed up, albeit somewhat low on the list. The chief executive officer of infoGroup (formerly infoUSA) apparently gave the William J. Clinton Foundation between $250,000 and $500,000.

After Clinton finished his second term, he became a consultant for Gupta's Omaha-based data processing firm. The billionaire raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Clintons' campaigns and he allowed the former president and first lady to use his private jet.

Angry stockholders eventually sued infoUSA, alleging Gupta wasted $900,000 in company funds flying the Clintons around the world and paying the former president huge fees for little work.

Gupta has praised Clinton's work for the company, telling the Omaha World-Herald that Clinton "helps us meet some of the right people."

But one relatively surprising omission from the list is Burkle, the California supermarket mogul who Clinton severed ties with as his wife began her unsuccessful presidential bid.

At the time, Clinton's spokesman, Matt McKenna, said the president took steps to "ensure that there is an appropriate transition out of his business relationships should Sen. Clinton become the Democratic nominee."

Clinton and Burkle are close friends, and Burkle has been a prolific donor and fundraiser both for Clinton's campaigns in the 1990s and for Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate and White House bids. Burkle hosted Sen. Clinton's first presidential fundraiser in Southern California at his sprawling Beverly Hills estate.

Clinton's work for Burkle's firm dates back to 2002, but his precise role with the firm, and the amount of compensation he has received, has remained an open question. The firm has made wide-ranging domestic investments, and it also has an international arm, Yucaipa Global Fund. Partners in that fund include Burkle, Clinton and the Dubai Investment Group, which has ties to top officials in the United Arab Emirates.

By Derek Kravitz |  December 19, 2008; 12:28 PM ET
Previous: Blago Allegations Expanded, FBI Iraq Agents' Overtime, SEC in Spotlight | Next: When Woodward Met 'Deep Throat'

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First off, these are the folks that the Republican party wants to give tax cuts to. As if the fancy loopholes aren't enough and as if they don't spend more on their tax accountants that they contribute in taxes.

Secondly, in my view, the president-elect is going to have to make a strong statement affirming his pick in spite of this tangled web of wealth and privilege. Because if the president-elect is just one bit fazed by this, that signal will reverberate powerfully. There would never be a state department effort that could go forward without footnotes of who had invested in the Cinton post-presidency. For some, that's not a big deal. For others, that's a deal breaker. We still have got Colin Powell and Al Gore without cabinet jobs. We have got John Kerry. So we aren't without alternatives should there be a problem with this kind of potential conflict of interest and loyalty. This worsens the prospect of the Clintons still thinking they can have the White House once more.

Posted by: GaiasChild | December 19, 2008 2:38 PM

While the donor list is both interesting and troubling-there remains much to be disclosed-How was the money spent? and Links between Hillarys Senate performance and the donors interestd. The Clintons have innumerable ways to feather their nests in the wrapping of good deeds, this is merely aqnother one

Posted by: philoernie | December 19, 2008 3:20 PM

I'm glad the list came out. That said, there's nothing to see here. These are donors, and there doesn't seem to be much more than a lot of well placed people who want to make donations to a Clinton charitable organization. I think that's a very noble thing to do, and speaks pretty well of the president.

Posted by: ninjagin | December 19, 2008 8:01 PM

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