Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is no stranger to controversy. The politician has been plagued by scandals for decades, and it's likely that the first Democratic debate Tuesday night will shed light on a few of those. Below are a few of the former first lady’s most notable scandals.
Whitewater: Spanning two decades, Clinton’s earliest political scandal began in 1978 when Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, partnered with James and Susan McDougal to buy 220 acres of riverfront land and form the Whitewater Development Corp. The partnership was a flop and dissolved in 1992, leaving the Clintons with a reported net loss of over $40,000. A 1992 New York Times report on the failed endeavor sparked investigations into the Clintons' connections with James McDougal’s Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan business, which was also being investigated by the Resolution Trust Corp.
Allegations claimed that Bill Clinton had used his position as Arkansas governor to pressure David Hale, a former judge, to lend $300,000 to Susan McDougal. The former senator’s work with the Rose Law Firm, which represented Madison Guaranty, associated her with the scandal, and both Clintons were subpoenaed during the federal investigation. The Clintons were both cleared, but the McDougals were jailed for fraud. The Whitewater inquiry grew well beyond allegations related to the Clintons' financial and legal dealings in Arkansas, creating a tangled web of investigations. Other scandals intertwined during this time include the dismissal of White House travel employees to allegedly make room for Clintons' friends in 1993, the suicide of White House counsel Vincent Foster shortly after his filing of delinquent Whitewater Corp. returns and the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of billing records showing the extent of Hillary Clinton’s legal work for McDougal’s savings and loan.
The Clinton Foundation: The Clinton Foundation, established in 1997, has become a massive multimillion-dollar organization with projects ranging from child development to elephant-poaching assistance. Much of the foundation’s funding has come from friends of the Clintons and occasionally foreign governments in which Hillary Clinton has taken policy stances as secretary of state. The foundation has made errors on its tax returns, and critics of the organization have alleged that large sums of money have been wasted.
Benghazi: Four people were killed when attackers ravaged a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012. Republicans have criticized Clinton for failing to adequately protect U.S. interests abroad and slammed her for allegedly attempting to spin the attacks as spontaneous when she knew they were planned terrorist attacks. Clinton took responsibility for security failures in Benghazi, but the GOP's cover-up allegations remain unproven.
The Speeches: Since Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001, the Clinton clan has made millions of dollars giving speeches. The Clintons reportedly garnered $25 million in 2014 from giving speeches, and an additional $12 million was directed to the Clinton Foundation after 2001 from 97 speeches. The Clintons have not explained how they decide what earnings to donate and what to keep as personal income. Numerous special interests have hired the Clintons as speakers, sparking a multitude of ethical questions as Hillary Clinton makes a run for the White House.
Email: Clinton has been slammed for using her private email account during her tenure as secretary of state, which a reporter for the New York Times learned about during the Benghazi investigation. After receiving a request from the State Department for the records last October, Clinton deleted 30,000 e-mails that she deemed too personal and wiped her private server. She handed over more than 30,000 emails as public records to the State Department. There has been criticism that her private server could have been hacked, and questions have also been raised over how Clinton selected which emails to turn over and which ones to delete.