By Juwanna Doright
Before he went into business for himself, I remember the night that we were having dinner and my dad made a big announcement to the family. He had been offered a new sales position with a firm that was a competitor to his present employer and he had accepted it. But the big part of the announcement was, “If I exceed my quotas, I can earn twenty thousand dollars in my first year.” A hush fell over the table as mom, grandma and I were awestruck as we tried to contemplate that massive amount of money.
To put that into perspective, a candy bar cost a nickel; a newspaper cost a dime; and a ride on either New York’s busses or subways cost fifteen cents. As you’ve guessed, dad’s announcement was a few years ago – when being a millionaire meant being a person who could just about afford to buy or do almost anything.
The way the government throws money (yours and mine) around, we regard hundreds of thousands of dollars as mere rounding errors. Millions barely get a second look and until we get to billions it doesn’t seem that we want to be bothered with much oversight of how we’re spending the taxpayers’ wealth. Perhaps that’s how we’ve gotten to a debt that is in excess of seventeen trillion. That’s seventeen thousand billions – or seventeen million millions. However you slice it, that’s a whole lot of zeroes.
Now the reason for putting this all in perspective is so that I might mention what in my childhood would have been a massive amount but today is viewed as little more than chump change – the sum of $608,000. What is this number and why devote a post to it?
Washington, D.C. businessman, Jeffrey Thompson, originally a Jamaican national, is alleged to have raised that sum to benefit a number of our politicians including the candidate-presumptive for president on the Democrat ticket in 2016, one Hillary Rodham Clinton. Now fundraising isn’t in and of itself illegal if it’s done properly – in fact Obama is in New York today on exactly the same mission. But what is illegal is for an agent or officer of a campaign to solicit illegal contributions. Enter Minyon Moore, a top operative in Mrs. Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 nomination bid.
Thompson, who pleaded guilty today to illegal fundraising activity with respect to the 2010 election of D. C. Mayor Vincent Gray, apparently told federal prosecutors that he had been approached by Ms. Moore and was asked by her to conduct illegal fundraising activities in four states and in Puerto Rico. The investigators went quickly on to add that “there was no evidence that Mrs. Clinton had any knowledge of this activity.”
Now think back a few months to that event in New Jersey known as “Bridge Gate” with which the media had a field day and which is being investigated by a committee of the New Jersey legislature. In that event, one of Governor Chris Christie’s top aides apparently decided, out of political retribution, to constrict the traffic on the George Washington Bridge to “punish” the mayor of Ft. Lee because she did not endorse her boss.
One of the comments that came from the lead investigator looking into this matter was, “It’s hard to believe that the governor didn’t either direct this or at the least he should have known that it was going to happen.” Christie in a now famous news conference accepted full responsibility for the event although he denied having any personal knowledge of it. He fired his aide immediately.
I am inclined to believe Christie’s profession of ignorance. However, I am also inclined to agree with the investigator’s comment that, “he should have known about it.” It is exactly for that reason that I discredit the president’s statements that “he didn’t know about the insurance policies that would be cancelled; the fact that everyone is not saving $2,500 a year and people are losing their doctors because of Obamacare.” It is exactly for that reason that I would not support Chris Christie for president.
But if we apply that logic fairly, how should we be disposed to the potential candidacy of Hillary Clinton? Should she not have had knowledge of impropriety that was ongoing during her campaign and take responsibility for her staff’s activities? Or would even raising this issue be nothing more than another assault in the “War on Women?”
I guess if we want to be “gender blind” and fair we should remember the old adage, “What’s good for the ganders should be good for the goose.” Even if that goose is Hillary Clinton.
[This essay appeared on one of Quiner’s Diner favorite blogs, “The American dilemma, and how we can fix it.” Thanks to Juwanna Doright for permission to publish it on Quiner’s Diner.]