Bill Clinton

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William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. Clinton served as the Democratic governor of Arkansas before coming to the White House. Clinton is married to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).

Clinton is most notable for moving his party to the right - encouraging Democrats to cut welfare spending, balancing the federal budget, and embracing the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar, and is the founder of the Clinton Foundation.


Links to Foriegn Governments

"Among the William J. Clinton Foundation donors who are publicly known are the Saudi royal family, the king of Morocco, a foundation linked to the United Arab Emirates, the governments of Kuwait and Qatar and a Ukrainian tycoon who was the son-in-law of the former Soviet republic's ousted authoritarian president."[1]

Links to Corporate Interests

In 2008 media outlets reported that "Mr Clinton had travelled to Kazakhstan with a Canadian mining magnate, Frank Giustra, to meet its dictator president. Mr Giustra later won three lucrative uranium mining contracts from the government and then donated $US31 million to Mr Clinton's charity." [2]


This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Tobacco issues

Richard Kluger of the Wall Street Journal (author of Ashes to Ashes on the tobacco industry praised Clinton in his first term for taking a stance against tobacco.

Clinton was the first President to take an unequivocal stand on smoking. Soon after assuming office he acted against tobacco:

  • He placed the White House off-limits to smoking.
  • US Trade Representaive abandoned the Reagan-Bush-era practice of prying open restricted Asian markets for American cigarette exports.
  • Justices Department put an end to the blatant nose-thumbing at the ban on TV cigarette advertising during sports telecasts, in which cameras repeatedly showed brand-name billboard.
  • The Labor Department, through the OSHA, proposed tight restrictions on smoking in virtually every workplace in the nation.
  • [Most important of all] the Department of Health and Human Services, through the FDA, claimed jurisdiction over cigarettes and proposed as its first regulatory measure a sweeping preventive medicine program to reduce youth access to cigarettes. [3]

"On August 23, 1996, President Clinton announced the nation's first-ever comprehensive program to protect children from the dangers of tobacco and a lifetime of nicotine addiction. The President's program was launched with the publication of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) final rule on tobacco and children, and with FDA's initiation of a process to require tobacco companies to educate children and adolescents -- using a national multi-media campaign -- about the dangers of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. The first provisions of the rule -- making 18 the age for the purchase of tobacco products nationwide and requiring photo IDs for anyone under age 27 -- became effective February 28, 1997. The President's comprehensive and coordinated plan is intended to reduce tobacco use by children and adolescents by 50 percent in seven years. This ambitious initiative will work to accomplish this objective while preserving the availability of tobacco products for adults. The proposed tobacco settlement will be evaluated within this framework to evaluate whether it meets the President's objectives."[4]

President Clinton's administration also initiated the 1999 U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against the major American tobacco companies. The suit resolved in August, 2006, with Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court finding the tobacco companies guilty of fraud, conspiracy and racketeering.

A 1995 narrative written by "Todd" (presumably Todd Haymore, a staffer for then-Congressman L.F. Payne, D-VA) chronicles a series of secret meetings between the Clinton White House and representatives from tobacco-growing states to broker a deal to stop the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's attempt to regulate nicotine a drug. The memo, a chronology of events apparently written to refresh Payne's memory, indicates that then-White House chief of Staff Leon Panetta engaged in secret negotiations with representatives of tobacco-growing states to "remove [FDA Commissioner David] Kessler from the radar." Panetta dangled a proposal in front of tobacco companies by telling the tobacco-growing state representatives that "voluntary action" by tobacco companies on the youth access issue "may be the best way to stop Kessler from attempting to regulate tobacco products" :

After it became apparent that the FDA/Kessler situation was the greatest problem facing tobacco state members, it was decided that voluntary action by the tobacco companies on youth access issues maybe the best way to stop Kessler from attempting to regulate tobcco products. Panetta said that if the industry came forth with a voluntary proposal aimed at reducing youth access the administration would remove Kessler/FDA from the radar.

The memo also indicates White House attempts to keep the negotiations secret:

Panetta stressed the need to keep this meeting and the comments within as quiet as possible. He said that if the meeting or discussions reached the press, the 'negotiations' would be off and the White House would deny knowing about them.

Tobacco-friendly Congressman Thomas Bliley (R-VA) met with tobacco industry leaders and told them about the Clinton White House's youth access proposal. The industry put together a proposal and submitted it to Panetta. As a subsequent meeting, Panetta warned Congressmen L.F. Payne (D-VA), Bliley (R-VA) and Charlie Rose (D-NC) "to keep this proposal and this meeting very quiet because media leaks would cancel any further discussions."

Ultimately, White House Counsel Abner Mikva reviewed the industry's proposal and made a counter proposal that the industry found unacceptable. There is no way to know the affect these negotiations may have had on tobacco companies ramping up of youth smoking prevention programs in the mid-1990s.[5]

Current Professional Roles

Published Works

  • My Life, Knopf, June 22, 2004, ISBN 0375414576.

Criticism of Clinton's Philanthropic Work


  1. Policy Network Progressive Governance Network, organizational web page, accessed May 4, 2013.
  2. The Hellenic Initiative Leadership, organizational web page, accessed January 5, 2019.
  3. Directors, Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, accessed August 26, 2008.
  4. Global Progress Council, IDEAS Foundation for Progress, accessed October 18, 2011.

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