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More Clinton Vandalism In The White House?

Image courtesy of www.smithsonianmag.com

It appears that many Americans might need a reminder of what life was like with the Clintons in the White House, since Hillary Clinton has been closing in on the Democratic Party’s presidential primary nomination. Since I’m sure America does not want a repeat of these scandals, let me help remind us all, one scandal at a time, what is at risk by another Clinton administration. I’ll begin with the looting and destruction of the White House.

Less than a month after leaving the White House, it was discovered that the Clintons had been shipping White House furniture to their new home in New York, for over a year. Chief usher Gary Walters questioned whether or not the Clintons could keep some items, but was told by the White House counsel’s office that the items in question had been given to the Clintons before Bill had become President Clinton. The items included an iron and glass coffee table, a painted TV armoire, a custom wood gaming table and a wicker table with wood top. Since personal furniture the incoming presidents choose to bring with them when moving in to the White House are not required to be disclosed on financial reports, these items in question should not have been listed. However, at least one item, the wicker table, was logged in at the White House on Feb. 8, 1993. In addition to these items, the Clintons were criticized for taking $190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas, and other items. As a result, the Clintons offered to pay for $86,000 worth of gifts, and then send back $28,000 worth of items that were found on a list of donations the Park Service received for the 1993 redecoration project. The Washington Post had quoted three people who said they assumed the furnishings they donated for the project would remain in the White House.

The Washington Post first reported the vandalism on January 23rd, 2001, as nothing more than practical jokes intended to haze the incoming administration. However, vandalism claims continued to surface, causing the General Accounting Office (GAO) to further investigate claims. After a year long investigation, and dozens of interviews with staffers from both the Clinton and Bush administrations, White House staffers, and Secret Service agents, the GAO released a report stating that vandalism, theft, and damage occurred while transitioning between occupants. The agency put the cost at $13,000-$14,000, which included $4,850 to replace dozens of computer keyboards that were made unusable due to someone removing the W keys from each one. The report also said that some damage was clearly intentional, such as someone smearing glue all over office desks, desk drawers, and chairs. Vulgar messages pertaining to President Bush were left on signs and in voice mail. There was also derogatory graffiti of Bush painted in a men’s room stall, and a sticker left in a filing cabinet saying “Jail to the Thief”, referring to the accusation that Bush was guilty of stealing the 2000 presidential election from DemocratIc opponent Al Gore, President Clinton’s Vice President. On January 19, 2001, the accounting office told the New York Times “A Secret Service report documented the theft of a presidential seal that was 12 inches in diameter from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.”

When the Bush White House expressed disappointment with the report, claiming the GAO downplayed the cause of the damage, Albert R. Gonzales, counsel to President Bush, demanded to know more details, particularly the complete text of the graffiti and messages. The accounting office said the details were unnecessary and inappropriate. Bush officials argued that the details would reveal the “mind-set or intentions” of those who left them.

When the Clintons were asked about what was reported, officials for their administration responded with claims the damage was just normal wear and tear.

The repair cost was confirmed to be $9,324. That included $4,850 for 62 keyboards, $2,040 for 26 cell phones, and $1,150 for professional cleaning services. Replacement costs for missing door knobs, medallions, office signs, and the large presidential seal were estimated to be between $3,750 to $4,675.

When Mr. Clinton was asked to respond to the repair costs, a spokeswoman for Clinton, Julia M. Payne, referred questions to a DNC spokeswoman named Jennifer Palmieri. Ms. Palmieri’s response was “The real scandal here is how much time and money the Republicans have wasted in a vendetta against the Clinton administration.” She continued, “It’s troubling that the White House cooperated so enthusiastically with this investigation, but refused to provide the G.A.O. with records of the energy task force headed by Vice President Cheney.” Jennifer Palmieri is now the Director of Communications for the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.

Let us hope Hillary Clinton is not elected come November. Another Clinton administration occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave could cause us to see the White House burn to the ground for the second time since 1814.