A new Republican Party ad attacking former Secretary of State and likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is using the words of her husband, ex-President Bill Clinton, and President Barack Obama against her. The ad, titled “A Very Serious Matter” and released Wednesday, employs a phrase Bill Clinton used in February 1997 when he described a scenario where foreign governments tried to give money to political parties. The ad is an attack on the Clinton Foundation receiving money from seven foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, contending that the donations constituted a conflict of interest for the Clintons.
“Obviously it would be a very serious matter for the United States if any country were to attempt to funnel funds to one of our political parties for any reason whatever,” then-President Clinton said in footage used in the beginning of the ad from the Republican National Committee.
In October 2010, Obama repeated claims about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, saying the business group “regularly takes in money from foreign sources. That’s a threat to our democracy.” The RNC ad doesn’t put Obama’s words in context -- he was talking about allegations that the chamber was using secret donations to defeat Democratic candidates, not about the Clinton Foundation. The claim was unproven, according to an analysis by FactCheck.org.
Nonetheless, the attack ad goes after the Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit organization created by Bill Clinton that Hillary also had a role in after she stepped down as secretary of state, for taking money from foreign governments. The ad implies that it was a conflict of interest for the foundation to take such donations when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The donations came from some Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
“Hillary Clinton needs to release the rest of her emails and explain to the American people why she exclusively used a private email [account] while serving as Secretary of State at the same time the Clinton Foundation accepted donations from foreign governments who were lobbying the State Department,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. He was referring to the flap about Clinton using her personal email account instead of her government account to conduct State Department business.
Watch the attack ad against Hillary Clinton below: