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EDITORIAL: The pattern continues

The dictionary defines the term “quid pro quo” as a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something. If that’s not what happened with various Clinton Foundation suitors while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, then it appears quid pro quo needs to be redefined.

As reported by The Associated Press’ Stephen Braun and Eileen Sullivan on Tuesday, more than half the people outside the government who met with Mrs. Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. In a review of calendars the State Department released to The Associated Press, Mr. Braun and Ms. Sullivan found that at least 85 of 164 donors who met or had phone conversations scheduled with then-Secretary Clinton donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs.

The analysis noted that the 85 donors contributed a combined total of as much as $156 million, with at least 40 donating more than $100,000 each and 20 shelling out more than $1 million.

The Clinton campaign of course cried foul on several aspects of the analysis, including that it covered only the first half of Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

Further calling into question the shady ethics that govern the behavior of the Clintons was a Judicial Watch report that came out the day before the AP analysis. Among the 725 pages released by the transparency watchdog were previously unreleased email exchanges in which Huma Abedin, formerly Mrs. Clinton’s top aide, “provided influential Clinton Foundation donors special, expedited access to the secretary of state. In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band.”

One exchange involved Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain, who couldn’t get a meeting with Secretary Clinton through normal channels. But after Ms. Abedin convinced Mr. Band to intervene, the meeting was set up within 48 hours. Surely that had nothing to do with the fact that the crown prince in 2005 established a scholarship program for the Clinton Global Initiative — a program that by 2010 had contributed $32 million to the CGI. (Not for nothing, but have you seen Bahrain’s human rights record?)

Judicial Watch noted there were more than a dozen email exchanges in which Ms. Abedin provided expedited, direct access to Mrs. Clinton for a variety of foundation donors, with contributions ranging from $25,000 to $10 million. Sounds like the definition of quid pro quo from here.

On Wednesday, the Democratic nominee spoke live by phone with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, denouncing any thought that Clinton Foundation donors influenced her in her role as secretary of state or created any conflicts of interest. Said Mrs. Clinton: “I know there’s a lot of smoke, and there’s no fire.”

The Clintons, of course, have generated more smoke in the past three decades than the most ferocious Western wildfires. The pattern of behavior is extensive, blatant and clear. Don’t expect it to improve if voters elevate Hillary to the Oval Office.

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