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Hillary Clinton on Corporations

Secretary of State; previously Democratic Senator (NY)


Take back $55B in Bush’s industry give-aways

We need a fighter back in the White House. We need someone who’s going to take on the special interests.

I have a plan to take away $55 billion of the giveaways and the subsidies that the president and Congress have lavished on the drug companies and the oil companies and the insurance companies and Wall Street. And I have a plan to give that money back--give it back in tax cuts to the middle class--to people who deserve it, who have been struggling under this president, who feel invisible, who feel like they’re not even seen anymore.

Now, obviously, I can’t do this alone. I can only do it if I get people who believe in me and support me and who look at my track record and know that I’ve spent a lifetime trying to empower people, trying to fight for them.

And I will turn this economy around. We will get back to shared prosperity and we will see once again that we can do this the right way so it’s not just a government of the few, by the few and for the few.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary , Apr 16, 2008

FactCheck: Pushed Wal-Mart for women managers & environment

Obama attacked Clinton’s one-time membership on the board of directors of the world’s largest retailer, saying, “While I was watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart.”

It’s true that Clinton sat on the Wal-Mart board for six years while her husband was governor of Arkansas, where the chain has its corporate headquarters. She was paid about $18,000 a year for doing it. At the time, she worked at the Rose Law Firm, which had represented Wal-Mart in various matters.

But according to accounts from other board members, Clinton was a thorn in the side of the company’s founder, Sam Walton, on the matter of promoting women, few of whom were in the ranks of managers or executives at the time. She also strongly advocated for more environmentally sound corporate practices. She made limited progress in both areas. In 2005 she returned a $5,000 contribution from Wal-Mart, citing “serious differences” with its “current” practices.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Dem. Debate , Jan 21, 2008

World Bank should impose rules on sovereign wealth funds

Q: Citigroup and Merrill Lynch have both gone overseas, hat in hand, looking for $20 billion in investment to stay afloat, from foreign governments. Is foreign ownership a problem?

A: I’m very concerned about this. About a month and a half ago, I raised this concern because these are called sovereign wealth funds. They are huge pools of money, largely because of oil and economic growth in Asia. And these funds are controlled often by governmental entities or individuals who are closely connected to the governments in these countries. I think we’ve got to know more about them. They need to be more transparent. We need to have a lot more control over what they do and how they do it. I’d like to see the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund begin to impose these rules. And I want the US Congress and the Federal Reserve Board to ask these tough questions. I’d like to see us move much more aggressively both to deal with these sovereign wealth funds.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas , Jan 15, 2008

Bush defanged the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Q: All the Chinese recalls of toxic toys & products still represent fewer than 1/100th of all imports. Is this an over-reaction?

A: The reason we have such few recalls, even though they have been increasing because the evidence has been so overwhelming is because this administration has basically defanged the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They do not have any real appetite for going after these companies and countries that are flooding our markets with dangerous products, and that has to stop.

Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR , Dec 4, 2007

FactCheck: Yes, Bush shrunk CPSC; but it shrank before Bush

When discussing the safety concerns about toys imported from China, Clinton accused the Bush administration of crippling the Consumer Product Safety Commission, saying, “The reason we have such few recalls... is because this administration has basically de-fanged” the CPSC.

It’s true that Bush has made some controversial appointments to the CPSC. Congressional Democrats have opposed his choices several times, accusing his nominees of having conflicts of interest or being weak on product safety. CPSC is also widely reported to be understaffed and underfunded. During the Bush administration, the commission has gone from 480 to 401 full-time employees (including only one full-time toy tester).

But not all of this can be pinned on Bush. CPSC has been shrinking for decades. Between 1980 and 1982, during Ronald Reagan’s administration, the agency went from 978 employees (its peak number) to only 649. Even during Bill Clinton’s time in office, the agency went from 515 to 480 employees.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR , Dec 4, 2007

Outraged at CEO compensation

[In Bill’s cabinet, Labor Secretary] Robert Reich was gladdened by Hillary’s passionate condemnation of corporate-executive compensation. “These are real issues, Bill,” she said, pointing out that the average CEO of a big company “is now earning 200 times the average hourly wage. Twenty years ago the ratio was about forty times. People all over this country are really upset about this.”
Source: For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith, p.220 , Oct 23, 2007

Stop bankruptcies to get rid of pension responsibilities

The pension system is broken. We’ve got to stop companies going into bankruptcy in order to get rid of their pension responsibilities. We have to have defined benefits pension plans again. When I am president, we’ll have a Department of Labor that actually cares about labor.
Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 8, 2007

Enough with corporate welfare; enough with golden parachutes

Let’s finally do something about the growing economic inequality that is tearing our country apart. The top 1% of our households hold 22% of our nation’s wealth. That is the highest concentration of wealth in a very small number of people since 1929. So let’s close that gap. Let’s start holding corporate America responsible, make them pay their fair share again. Enough with the corporate welfare. Enough with the golden parachutes. And enough with the tax incentives for companies to shift jobs overseas.
Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 20, 2007

Close lobbyists’ revolving door; end no-bid contracts

I believe that the foundation of a strong economy doesn’t begin with giving people who are already privileged and wealthy even more benefits. I think it comes from shared prosperity.

Let’s start by cleaning up the government, replacing this culture of corruption and cronyism with a culture of competence and caring again. Let’s stop outsourcing critical government functions to private companies that overcharge and underperform! Let’s close the revolving door between government and the lobbying shop, and let’s end the no-bid contracts for Halliburton and the other well-connected companies!

And how about the radical idea of appointing people who are actually qualified for the positions that we ask them to hold for us! Well, when I’m president, the entrance to the White House will no longer be a revolving door for the well connected, but a door of opportunity for the well qualified.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 20, 2007

1976 Rose Law: Fought for industry against electric rate cut

Clashing interests of the well-to-do & the rest of Arkansas were in evidence in 1976 in the form of an initiative. The initiative had been launched by advocates for the poor, a group called the Association of Community Organizations for Reform (ACORN).

With utility rates in Arkansas skyrocketing, ACORN pushed through a ballot initiative requiring utilities to lower rates for residential users in Little Rock and to increase them for business. The measure passed.

Business fought back. The engine driving the challenge was the Rose Law Firm, which enlisted Hillary to help. Hillary could hardly decline to fight her friends, especially so early in her career. This was the by-product of Hillary’s choice to join Rose. She would advocate for clients who would be on the opposite sides of the causes she had formerly championed.

The winning brief was crafted by Hillary and a colleague. The judge embraced the theory--that the ordinance amounted to an unconstitutional taking of property.

Source: Her Way, by Jeff Gerth & Don Van Natta, p. 57-58 , Jun 8, 2007

Corporate lawyer at Rose Law while Bill was Attorney General

It was Hillary who decided that she wanted to be financially secure, and took the steps to accomplish that, said Betsy Wright. “ Bill would live under a bridge--as long as it was okay with Chelsea.”

Upon Bill’s election as attorney general, Hillary faced how to resume her legal career. She was now willing to consider corporate law. Bill recommended the Rose Law Firm.

Rose was the ultimate establishment law firm, representing the most powerful economic interests in the state. The most powerful argument against Hillary was that she was a woman. The firm’s partners were all white men, most of whom were already wealthy and graduates of the two Arkansas law schools. Hillary, with her Wellesley and Yale credentials and her view of the law as an instrument for social reform, would be a radical departure.

Source: A Woman in Charge, by Carl Bernstein, p.127-129 , Jun 5, 2007

Corporate elite treat working-class America as invisible

Q: Overall, is Wal-Mart a good thing or a bad thing for the United States of America?

A: Well, it’s a mixed blessing. When Wal-Mart started, it brought goods into rural areas, like rural Arkansas where I was happy to live for 18 years, and gave people a chance to stretch their dollar further. As they grew much bigger, though, they have raised serious questions about the responsibility of corporations & how they need to be a leader when it comes to providing health care & having safe working conditions and not discriminating on the basis of sex or race. This is all part, though, of how this administration and corporate America today don’t see middle class and working Americans. They are invisible. They don’t understand that if you’re a family that can’t get health care, you are really hurting. But to the corporate elite and to the White House, you’re invisible. So we need to get both public sector and private sector leadership to start stepping up and being responsible and taking care of people.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

Companies get rewarded with hard-working people left hanging

So many of us grew up with what I call the basic bargain: If you worked hard and if you played by rules you’d be able to build a better life for yourself and your family. Well, I don’t think in the last six years our country has actually been living up to that basic bargain. The leadership here in Washington seems to ignore middle class and hardworking families across our country. Under this president’s leadership household debt has soared, healthcare costs have skyrocketed, assuming that you have it. Wages have remained stagnant. Now corporate profits are up. And productivity is up, which means Americans are working harder than anybody in the world, but we’re not getting rewarded. I’ll tell you who is getting rewarded. Companies like Halliburton are getting rewarded with no-bid contracts, then they move their CEOs across the ocean to another country and leave us hanging right here at home.
Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC , Mar 14, 2007

1980s: Loved Wal-Mart's "Buy America" program

As governor, I hosted a lunch for Wal-Mart executives and our economic development people to encourage the company to buy more products made in America and to advertise this practice as a way to increase eases. Wal-Mart's "Buy American" campaign was a great success and helped to reduce resentment against the giant discounter for putting small-town merchants out of business. Hillary loved the program and supported it strongly when she went on the Wal-Mart board a couple of years later. At its high mark, Wal-Mart merchandise was about 55 percent American made, about 10 percent more than that of its nearest competitor. Unfortunately, after a few years Wal-Mart abandoned the policy in its marketing drive to be the lowest-cost retailer, but we made the most of it in Arkansas while it lasted.
Source: My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.321-322 , Jun 21, 2004

1970s: Potential conflict of interest when GM sued Arkansas

No sooner had Hillary joined the Rose Law firm than a major case pitting us against the state--in other words, her husband [as Attorney General].

General Motors had been one of Rose’s clients for many years. Mostly we defended it in liability cases. GM was gearing up for consumer lawsuits around the country arising from the discovery that Chevrolet engines were being put in Oldsmobiles--this was a major piece of national business that GM was handing over to Rose Law. The only problem was that GM expected the various state attorneys general to take the lead against the car company. In fact, a nationwide steering committee of AGs was being formed, and [Bill Clinton] was taking a high profile role in it.

This, of course, was the very scenario everyone dreaded. Hillary was in an awkward position. GM agreed to let us remain as council--provided that all files were locked in a cabinet in my office. Ultimately, the case was settled on a national level, so no real problem arose.

Source: Friends in High Places, by Webb Hubbell, p. 57-58 , Nov 1, 1997

Businesses play social role in US; gov’t oversight required

For those who live in urban areas with few businesses of any kind, the impact of changes in the private sector is most direct & devastating, with high unemployment & crime, drug abuse, welfare dependency, & school failure. Problems elsewhere eventually affect us all [so] government has a big responsibility to help remedy them. But its resources are limited.

Other developed countries, like Japan & Germany, are more committed to social stability than we have been, and they tailor their economic policie to maintain it. We have chosen a different path, leaving more of our resources in the private sector.

As a society, we have a choice to make. We can permit the marketplace largely to determine the values & well-being of the village, or we can continue, as we have in the past, to expect business to play a social as well as an economic role. That means we have to look realistically at what government must require business to do, principally in the areas of health, safety, the environment [and so on].

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.274-275 , Sep 25, 1996

Family-friendly work policies are good for business

One of the most hopeful signs I have seen is the growing interest of the business community in assisting employees with child care. Businesses are recognizing that when employees miss work to stay home with sick children, the bottom line suffers too.

The Du Pont Company was one of the first large companies to institute work-family programs such as job sharing and subsidized emergency child care. A study of employees confirmed the view that family-friendly policies are a good business practice.

On October 31, 1995, I hosted an event at the White House honoring 21 companies in the American Business Collaboration for Quality Dependent Care that have pledged to contribute $100 million for child and dependent care in 56 cities. All the companies participating believe in our theme: ‘Doing together what none of us can afford to do alone.’

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.220-221 , Sep 25, 1996

Angry at unacceptable acquiescence to greed in the 1980s

In the 1980s, Hillary Clinton had overheard a conversation between her husband and a Japanese executive. "You could do a lot to stimulate your economy," the executive told Clinton, "if your executives in American industry weren't so greedy." Her husband replied that American executives were being given permission to grab the most at the top by Reagan economic policies, which were designed so wealth would allegedly trickle down to those at the bottom. But those at the bottom weren't seeing the benefits. Hillary agreed. She was angry at what she called "the unacceptable acquiescence in greed that had occurred during the 1980s."
Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p. 25-26 , Jun 6, 1994

Serving on boards provides ties but requires defending too

Hillary's positions on the boards of Wal-Mart, TCBY, and Lafarge from which she earned close to $200,000 in director's fees over 1986 to 1991, hardly make her a foe of industry. But those connections served her well when she tried to gain business support for programs like HIPPY. But it did not create much goodwill when it was reported in April that a Ohio subsidiary of the Lafarge Corp., from which Hillary Clinton was earning $31,000 a year in director fees, was burning hazardous waste to fuel cement plants. The Ohio company, Systech, had been hotly attacked by environmentalists, community activists, and government regulators for polluting the environment. Whether or not Hillary had made board decisions affecting Systech is unclear. At the time she said that Lafarge was taking steps to dispose of tens of millions of gallons of hazardous waste that would otherwise have been dumped in landfills.
Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 217 , Aug 1, 1993

Voted YES on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore.

Amendment to repeal the tax subsidy for certain domestic companies which move manufacturing operations and American jobs offshore.
Reference: Tax Subsidy for Domestic Companies Amendment; Bill S AMDT 210 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-63 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy.

Vote to pass a bill that would require debtors able to repay $10,000 or 25 percent of their debts over five years to file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy (reorganization and repayment) rather than Chapter 7 (full discharge of debt).
Reference: Bill HR 333 ; vote number 2001-236 on Jul 17, 2001

Rated 35% by the US COC, indicating a mixed business voting record.

Clinton scores 35% by US Chamber of Commerce on business policy

Whether you own a business, represent one, lead a corporate office, or manage an association, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of AmericaSM provides you with a voice of experience and influence in Washington, D.C., and around the globe.

Our members include businesses of all sizes and sectors—from large Fortune 500 companies to home-based, one-person operations. In fact, 96% of our membership encompasses businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Mission Statement:

"To advance human progress through an economic, political and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility."
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: COC website 03n-COC on Dec 31, 2003

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Page last updated: Sep 19, 2014