Viacom's Simon & Schuster division announced Dec. 16 it had bid $8 million to publish the memoirs of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was then senator-elect from New York, but would not be sworn in until Jan. 3. The deal was criticized as a violation of the spirit of the Senate's ethics rules. Two months later, the Ethics Committee said she had violated no rules.
The New York Daily News on Dec. 24 reported the senator-elect had raised $2.1 million in "soft money" for her campaign after Oct. 18, despite her soft-money agreement with her Republican opponent, Rep. Rick A. Lazio. In all, she collected $7.5 million in soft money for her campaign. Lazio collected none, the newspaper said.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Dec. 27 wrote that $190,000 in exit gifts were solicited from friends prior to Clinton's Jan. 3 swearing-in, after which she would be barred from accepting such large gifts. NBC News and the Associated Press later reported the story. John Podesta, former White House chief of staff, confirmed the reports Feb. 18.
In his final hours as president, Bill Clinton on Jan. 20 granted several pardons. Marc Rich, a fugitive billionaire who renounced his U.S. citizenship, was granted a pardon. Rich's ex-wife, Denise Rich, donated $1 million to Democratic campaigns since 1993, $440,000 for the Clinton library and $109,000 to the first lady's Senate campaign. Also granted pardons were four leaders of a Hasidic Jewish community, which had voted almost unanimously for his wife.
It was disclosed Jan. 22 that the Clintons removed $28,000 worth of household goods donated to the White House to their residences in Washington and Chappaqua. The Clintons said conversion of public property to their private use resulted from a clerical error, and they returned the goods.
The National Enquirer revealed Monday that Sen. Clinton's brother, Hugh Rodham, had accepted $400,000 in "success fees" for the presidential pardons of a drug dealer and another person under new federal investigations. Clinton said that she did not know of her brother's role and that the fees were returned at her request.
The Associated Press reported that Clinton's campaign treasurer, William Cunningham III, had received a $4,000 fee for two clients who obtained presidential pardons. The clients were referred to him by his law partner, Harold Ickes Jr., the senator's main campaign strategist and director of the senator's new political action committee, HILLPAC.
Mary Jo White, the federal prosecutor in New York, said Friday that she would add the pardons of the four Hasidic Jews to those of Marc Rich and others she was investigating.