As New Yorkers gear up for the Democratic presidential primaries in their state, we take a closer look at several aspects of Hillary Clintons' record as a two-consecutive-term state senator, who voted in favor of invading Iraq and failed to pass legislation that would have curbed tax evasion by the wealthy corporate executives, among other reckless financial practices.
As senator of New York, one of her defining moments was voting in support of invading Iraq. Clinton’s vote, which she now claims to regret, supported the war on the grounds that, “It is clear that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
However, months after the former George Bush administration admitted that Iraq did not possess so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction, or WMDs, which was one of the primary justifications for the invasion, Clinton defended her position in a speech at George Washington University claiming that her support for the war was still “the right vote.”
Meanwhile, during her tenure as senator, Clinton had a mixed legacy on Wall Street regulation, failing to sign two important bills including legislation that would have put an end to the carried-interest loopholes along with a Senate bill that would have curbed tax breaks for corporate executives.
While serving as a state senator, several of Clinton’s bills aimed at regulating financial markets failed to gain traction in the Senate.
According to ProPublica, during the two-year period of 2007-2008, which was the height of the U.S. financial and home foreclosure crisis, Hillary Clinton introduced 140 bills, of which only five were related to housing finance or foreclosures. Only one of those five gained any co-sponsors.
During her 2006 Senate re-election bid, Wall Street executives made up the largest donors to her campaign, according to ProPublica. In a display of solidarity, shortly after her re-election, Clinton voted in favor of the US$700 billion Wall Street bailout plan during the 2008 financial crisis.
Despite her criticisms of unregulated financial markets, there are several examples during Clinton’s time as senator, when she failed to support and pass legislation that would put an end to reckless financial practices.