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Book Review: "Clinton Cash: A Graphic Novel" by Brett R. Smith and Chuck Dixon

Tamara Wilhite is an engineer, scifi author and fan and periodically reviews books.

Clinton Cash is a 2016 graphic novel about Hillary Clinton’s use and abuse of the Clinton Foundation, her political positions since Bill Clinton left office, and other scandals. This book is unique for taking the form of a graphic novel while tackling multiple scandals and controversies in less than 150 pages. It is a shorter companion piece to longer book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.

What are the pros and cons of this political “comic” book? This review will break them down.

Cover of the Original Book Version of "Clinton Cash"

Cover of the Original Book Version of "Clinton Cash"

Pros of "Clinton Cash: A Graphic Novel"

Clinton Cash explains how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took donations to her foundation in return for meeting with various individuals. For example, over half of the official visitors to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid millions to her foundation or hundreds of thousands in speaking fees to former President Bill Clinton in order to receive access. Her assistant, Human Abedin, acted as the main intermediary, as emails recovered from Judicial Watch’s lawsuit revealed in August 2016.

The book provides specific and easy to understand examples of blatant corruption that preceded the Clinton Foundation, such as the donation by Marc Rich’s ex-wife writing major checks to Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library and the Democratic Party in return for her ex’s pardon by Bill Clinton. Later on in the book, you see how this same pattern was repeated with Chagoury being made an envoy of UNESCO in St. Lucia to save him from prosecution, in return for a pledge of a billion dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton Cash explains how Bill Clinton’s speaking fees were inflated and donated to the Clinton Family Foundation in return for her support as a Senator or withdrawing opposition to measures, as well as how Ms. Clinton changed positions in return for campaign contributions at the same time.

This pattern only repeated after Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Then the payments by representatives of various governments led to her removing them from lists for sanctions due to human rights violations or permission for exports of technology and products or purchases of US companies by foreign entities. The Clinton Cash comic clearly explains the Clinton’s involvement in Kazakhstan opening its uranium mining to US companies after donations to the foundation were made. It also details the Rusatom deal with a Russian shell company in only a few panels where Hillary Clinton took donations in return for authorizing the Russians to take over a majority of US uranium production. There are long, detailed books that describe these events, yet Clinton Cash describes them in a few pages in easy to understand terms and diagrams.

This book is officially a graphic novel, AKA comic book, but it explains better than many infographics how the Clinton Foundation was used to launder money for Haiti earthquake fundraising to pay for projects in Haiti and outside of that nation for donors. The subplot of the Haitian business owner trying to navigate the post-earthquake Haiti and receive aid, help for his business and support his family is touching.

The graphic novel shows the relationships and activities linking people far better than Glenn Beck’s famous blackboard diagrams. For example, it shows how many people tied to the Clintons were employed by federal agencies or the Clinton Foundation and either sat on boards of donors’ companies to receive checks for that position or received paychecks for being employees of various private consulting firms. This is, in essence, triple-dipping. They kept this in the family, too, with Hillary's brother getting a seat on the board of VCS in return for a Haitian strip mining permit the Clintons helped arrange as part of their “plan” to help rebuild Haiti.

Clinton Cash details how Hillary Clinton used various quasi-federal agencies like Millennium Challenge Corporation or MCC and US Aid to favor firms connected to her through campaign donations, speaking fees to Bill Clinton or donations to the Clinton Foundation. It also provides a good explanation of how Bill received massive speaking fees from Chinese high-ranking officials (since they can’t give donations to charities or political groups in the US) in return for various approvals by Hillary.

Cons of "Clinton Cash: A Graphic Novel"

This book came out before the revelations that the Clinton Foundation did international work like fundraising for Haiti projects before it was legally set up to do international work, as well as receiving money from international donors for various “initiatives." Thus, the book Clinton Cash lacks information critical to the story that came out after the book did, though this graphic novel led to the investigations that found that the Clinton Foundation violated the laws governing nonprofit operations.

The information on how the Clinton Foundation blurs the lines between charity, business and money laundering front for bribery are not footnoted with links to sources with more information. And going back to the book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich isn’t good enough, since the older book is out of date due to all the revelations that came out about Hillary Clinton’s corruption throughout 2016.

Some of the chapter graphics are intended to be funny but aren’t. This is a significant flaw for a comic book intended to be funny.

Did you know how many dictators the Clintons met with and said weren't bad after receiving donations from them?

Did you know how many dictators the Clintons met with and said weren't bad after receiving donations from them?

Observations About the Graphic Novel

This book is credited as inspired by Peter Schweizer. The full length original book Clinton Cash has a separate summary by Peter Schweizer akin to a Cliff Notes version of the political work, separate from this graphic novel condensing much of its information into less than 150 pages.

The comic book Clinton Cash is available in both print and the eBook forms.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Comments

Cee-Jay Aurinko from Cape Town, South Africa on September 15, 2016:

Lol. Some people prefer comic books. There should be more comics like this out there. Thank you for this review Tamara.