As allegedly the most qualified individual ever to run for the White House, Hillary Clinton has chosen to hide one of her longest gigs from her curriculum vitae: her 15 years as an attorney at Rose Law First in Little Rock, Arkansas.
While she touts her much shorter terms as a U.S. senator and U.S. secretary of state, Clinton rarely focuses on her time as a lawyer.
That’s with good reason because her job at Rose Law underlines her duplicity.
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article outlining her “achievements” at Rose Law.
“Instead of defending poor people and righting wrongs, we found ourselves squarely on the side of corporate greed against the little people,” her colleague, Webb Hubbell, wrote.
The Journal noted: “Mrs. Clinton’s years at the firm included some controversy. For one, the roots of the Whitewater affair reach back to her years at Rose when her husband was serving as Arkansas governor. The firm and Mrs. Clinton represented a failed savings-and-loan association run by James McDougal, the Clintons’ partner in the Whitewater real-estate investment, in a matter before state regulators. Whitewater dogged the Clintons throughout Bill Clinton’s presidency, though neither of them was ever charged.”
Many of the Rose firm’s clients were big companies, including three of the state’s largest: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Tyson Foods Inc. and Stephens, Inc., a brokerage firm.
She also supplemented her income by serving on corporate boards, including Wal-Mart and TCBY Enterprises, the yogurt franchise, both Rose clients.
When her husband ran for president in 1992, her work sparked questions about whether she had benefited from state business handled by her firm. “For goodness’ sake, you can’t be a lawyer if you don’t represent banks,” Hillary said at the time. [Emphasis added].
At the firm, lawyers were split over Mrs. Clinton’s value as a partner. The Journal wrote: “Other colleagues resented Mrs. Clinton’s outside interests and how they limited her billable hours. In addition to time away campaigning for her husband, who was on the ballot every two years….”
In her 2003 book, Mrs. Clinton wrote only briefly about her work at Rose. The Journal noted that an indication of her outlook favoring the wealthy over the poor occurred early on in her career at Rose. In November 1976, the activist group Acorn [yes, the infamous Acorn of the James O’Keefe videos] had succeeded in getting an initiative on the state ballot to lower electricity rates for low-income users and increase them for businesses.
The Rose team’s argument, credited mainly to Hillary, was that the lower rates for the poor were unconstitutional.
As people vote for the next president, they should consider an important part of Hillary’s past, which she apparently wants no one to see. Sound familiar?
Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.