NYT: Clinton Vetting Underway
November 17, 2008
The New York Times reports that Barack Obama's advisers have begun vetting HIllary Clinton for Secretary of State -- including a look at Bill Clinton's finances and activities:
President-elect Barack Obama's advisers have begun reviewing former President Bill Clinton's finances and activities to see whether they would preclude the appointment of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as secretary of state, Democrats close to the situation said Sunday.
The examination of the former president suggests how seriously Mr. Obama is considering bringing his onetime rival for the Democratic presidential nomination into his cabinet. He met with Mrs. Clinton in Chicago on Thursday to talk about the prospect and word quickly filtered out. Many Democrats close to both camps said Sunday that it seemed likely that Mr. Obama would ask her to take the job, assuming they could work something out regarding Mr. Clinton's role.
A team of lawyers trying to facilitate the potential nomination spent the weekend looking into Mr. Clinton's philanthropic organization, interactions with foreign governments and ties to pharmaceutical companies, a Democrat close to both camps said. While Mr. Clinton has used his foundation to champion efforts to fight AIDS, poverty and climate change around the world, he has also taken millions in speaking fees and contributions from foreign officials and businesses with interests in American governmental policies.
Obama advisers are discussing what Mr. Clinton would need to do to avoid a conflict of interest with the duties of his wife, who is said to be interested in the post. "That's the first and most important hurdle," said a senior adviser to Mr. Obama. "He does good work. No one wants it to stop, but a structure to avoid conflicts must be thought of."