Over the past 41 years of public life, Hillary and Bill Clinton have amassed a web of fiercely loyal donors who have contributed a total of $3 billion to their charity and various political campaigns. And they have done it by being nice. By being exceptionally shrewd, calculating politicians, but also by being really, just inconveniently nice.
In a sweeping investigation, the Washington Post identified 336,000 individuals, corporations, unions, and foreign governments that have contributed to the massive haul, while also recognizing many smaller donations that are left our of campaign finance report. In total, $2 billion was donated to the Clinton Foundation, while about $1 billion went to the campaigns. Many top donors supported both. (The Post compared the Clintons’ haul to the Bush family’s which is a paltry $2.4 billion, despite being in the presidency for more time.)
And they did it by being obsessively nice.
“When my father died, the first person I heard from was President Clinton,” said major donor Elaine Schuster. “They have a following of people who would do absolutely anything for them.”
The Post reports:
Bill Clinton used his charisma and intellect to captivate new supporters. And Hillary applied her characteristic attentiveness—sending handwritten notes to celebrate engagements and new babies, and poetry books to comfort those in mourning—to win over lifelong allies.
“She remembers everything we ever talked about,” said Susie Tompkins Bell, a close friend and co-founder of Esprit, who, with her husband, Mark, has given $420,000 to the Clintons’ campaigns and $11.25 million to their foundation.
“Hillary does not like to ask for money,” Buell continued. “It’s not natural for her. But she’s got really good people who work for her who speak for her, and she’s very, very appreciative when she knows someone has done something for her. And you know it’s sincere.”
On Tuesday, Politico reported that Bill would be speaking at at least 20 fundraisers for Hillary’s campaign in the next month with the hope of hitting the campaign’s 2015 goal of raising $100 million. The campaign is already at least three-quarters of the way there.
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