Hillary Clinton on Corporations

Secretary of State; previously Democratic Senator (NY)


Make economy work for everyone, not just the powerful

CLINTON: I'm reaching out to all Americans--Democrats, Republicans, and independents--because we need everybody to help grow the economy, make it fairer, make it work for everyone. We need your talents, your skills, your commitments, your energy, your ambition. I will stand up for families against powerful interests, against corporations. I will do everything that I can to make sure that you have good jobs, with rising incomes, that your kids have good educations.
Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate moderated by Fox News , Oct 19, 2016

I voted to close corporate tax loopholes that Trump used

Q: How would you ensure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes?

A: [Trump's] plan will give the wealthy and corporations the biggest tax cuts they've ever had, more than the Bush tax cuts by at least a factor of two. The way that he talks about his tax cuts would end up raising taxes on middle-class families, millions of middle-class families. I have said nobody who makes less than $250,000 a year will have their taxes raised. We've got to go where the money is. It is with people who have taken advantage of every single break in the tax code. When I was a senator, I did vote to close corporate loopholes. I voted to close one of the loopholes Trump took advantage of when he claimed a billion-dollar loss that enabled him to avoid paying taxes. I want to have a tax on people who are making a million dollars. Warren Buffett said somebody like him should not be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. I want to have a surcharge on incomes above $5 million.

Source: Second 2016 Presidential Debate at WUSTL in St. Louis MO , Oct 9, 2016

Make wealthy pay their fair share; close corporate loopholes

TRUMP: Our jobs are fleeing the country. They're going to Mexico. They're going to many other countries. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They're all leaving. And we can't allow it to happen anymore.

CLINTON: I want us to do more to support people who are struggling to balance family and work. I've heard from so many of you about the difficult choices you face and the stresses that you're under. So let's have paid family leave, earned sick days. Let's be sure we have affordable child care and debt-free college. How are we going to do it? We're going to do it by having the wealthy pay their fair share and close the corporate loopholes. We also have to make the economy fairer. That starts with raising the national minimum wage and also guaranteeing equal pay for women's work.

Source: First 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University , Sep 26, 2016

I voted for bill that saved the auto industry

CLINTON: Let's talk about the auto bailout. In 2008, we were both in the Senate, there was a vote on a free-standing bill to rescue the auto industry. We both voted for it. Unfortunately, it did not succeed. A month later, a new piece of legislation was offered that contained the money that would be used for the auto rescue. I voted for it. It was a hard vote. But the fact is the money that rescued the auto industry was in that bill.

SANDERS: The bill that Secretary Clinton is talking about was the bailout of the recklessness, irresponsibility and illegal behavior of Wall Street. It was the Wall Street bailout. And I find it interesting that when Secretary Clinton, who was the former senator of New York, of course, when she defended her vote, she said, "Well, it's going to help the big banks in New York. Those are my constituents." And then you go to Detroit and suddenly this legislation helps the automobile workers.

Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami , Mar 9, 2016

I warned corporations about wrecking the economy

Q: Are you too close to Wall Street? You got high speaking fees from Goldman Sachs speeches.

CLINTON: I went to Wall Street before the crash. I was the one saying you're going to wreck the economy because of these shenanigans with mortgages. I called to end the carried interest loophole that hedge fund managers enjoy. I proposed changes in CEO compensation. I called for a consumer protection financial bureau. The best evidence that Wall Street knows where I stand is they are trying to beat me.

Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire , Feb 4, 2016

Every once in a while we have to save capitalism from itself

Q [to Sen. Sanders]: Do you consider yourself a capitalist?

SANDERS: Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little? No, I don't.

Q: Is there anybody else on the stage who is not a capitalist?

CLINTON: When I think about capitalism, I think about the small businesses that were started because we have the opportunity and the freedom in our country to do that. I don't think we should confuse what we have to do every so often in America, which is save capitalism from itself. But we would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class of the world.

SANDERS: I think everybody is in agreement that we are a great entrepreneurial nation. We have to support small and medium-sized businesses. But you can have all of the growth that you want and it doesn't mean anything if all of the new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent.

Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 13, 2015

OpEd: Disagrees with progressives on corporatism & military

Is Hillary a progressive? The answer is unambiguously no; Hillary is a liberal centrist. Progressives support "fair trade," which means that free trade agreements should include environmental and labor clauses; Hillary is an ardent free-trader. WikiLeaks' Julian Assange is a hero to progressives who believe in open government and oppose secrecy, but a traitor to Hillary. Progressives ardently oppose military intervention abroad; Hillary is a hawk. And progressives are ardently anti-corporate, while Hillary is pro-corporate.

Often the difference is a matter of degree: progressives would tax capital gains as regular income; Hillary might only moderately increase it, as illustrated in this exchange:

The capital gains tax under Bill Clinton was 28%. It's now 15%.

CLINTON: I wouldn't raise it above the 20% if I raised it at all. I would not raise it above what it was during the Clinton administration.

Source: Jeb vs. Hillary On The Issues, by Jesse Gordon, p.37,66,&168 , Dec 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Hillary Clinton on Financial Reform

Agrees that Wall Street and banks cannot get too powerful

SANDERS: The business model of Wall Street is fraud. It's fraud. I believe that corruption is rampant, and the fact that major bank after major bank has reached multi-billion dollar settlements with the United States government when we have a weak regulatory system tells me that not only did we have to bail them out once, if we don't start breaking them up, we're going to have to bail them out again, and I do not want to see that happen.

CLINTON: No one wants to see that happen. I care deeply about this because just like you I have met so many people who had their life savings wiped out, who lost their homes, who are barely back with their heads above water. This was a disaster for our country, and we can never let that happen again. We have no disagreement about this. We have to be focused on how we increase the empowerment of the American people. I know how to handle them because I've been in the arena with them time and time again.

Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire , Feb 4, 2016

It's not just Wall Street; it's Big Pharma too

[Senator Sanders and I] both want to reign in the excesses of Wall Street. I also want to reign in the excesses of Johnson Controls that we bailed out when they were an auto parts company, and we saved the auto industry, and now they want to avoid paying taxes. I want to go after the pharmaceutical companies like Valeant, and Turns that are increasing prices without any regard to the impact on people's health.
Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire , Feb 4, 2016

Monied interests spending money to defeat me

Q: Could you respond to Sen. Sanders' criticism that you represent the interests of Wall Street and corporate America?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANDERS: We do not represent the interests of the billionaire class, Wall Street, or corporate America. We don't want their money. And I am very proud to tell you that we are the only candidate on the Democratic side without a Super PAC. The American people are saying no to a rigged economy.

CLINTON: I did represent New York, obviously. There was no doubt that I took on a lot of what was going down on Wall Street, including calling them out on the mortgage issue, calling for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau even before we got one created, calling for changes in CEO pay. But I honestly think that the best answer is what's happening in this campaign: The Wall Street interests, the money interests, the Republican political interests are spending a lot of money to try to defeat me. So I just find it kind of a strange argument.

Source: 2016 N.H. CNN Democratic Town Hall , Feb 3, 2016

FactCheck: Yes, hedge-fund billionaires run ads against her

Hillary Clinton said, "there are currently two hedge fund billionaires running ads against me here in N.H. Now, why are they running ads against me? And the answer is: Because they know I will go right after them." Is that true, about the ads?

We checked, and it is. A super PAC called Future45 ran the ad below. Future45 has three known donors: Kenneth Griffin, president of Citadel; William C. Powers, an investor; and Paul Singer, founder of hedge fund Elliot Management. According to Al Jazeera News, Singer has endorsed Marco Rubio for president. Here is our transcript of the ad: