Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told me today that while he believes he will vote to confirm Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., as President-elect Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, questions linger about former President Bill Clinton’s foreign work.
As part of a deal worked out between lawyers for the former president and Obama’s transition team looking to clear obstacles to Hillary Clinton’s nomination as Secretary of State, Bill Clinton has agreed to a number of concessions, including disclosing all contributors to his foundation, separating his Clinton Global Initiative from his foundation, and end any Clinton Global Initiative meetings outside of the United States, and submit any future speeches, projects and contracts to the State Department ethics czar for approval.
"I think it’s a big step," but, Lugar said, "I think the wide-ranging activities of President Clinton are very substantial on this earth, they will continue to be."
Lugar said it’s been suggested that Bill Clinton could be a diplomatic emissary to India and Pakistan to try to work out their dispute over Kashmir.
"I don’t know how given all of our ethics standards now, anyone quite measures up to this who has such cosmic ties," Lugar said. "But I think the Obama campaign people have done a good job in trying to pin down the most important elements."
When I pressed Sen. Lugar on whether the package of restrictions on the former president was sufficient for him to vote for Clinton for Secretary of State, he said, "I would vote in favor of Sen. Clinton knowing what we have here on this program today."
"I suspect, however, that I’m not alone in suggesting there will be questions raised and will probably be legitimate," Lugar said.
Given all of the ties, all of the influence that he has, all of the relationships, that he is a major player in foreign policy," Lugar said. "Now Mrs. Clinton is going to be the Secretary of State. They are married."
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and top adviser to Obama said on "This Week," "I think this arrangement sets up a framework of transparency and disclosure."
"As it goes forward I think that the presumption will be that both Secretary of State and the former president will be very judicious about what they take on because of the new dimension here," Reed said.