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Letter to the Editor: Hillary Clinton’s Unauthorized Credit-Card Charges

On Nov. 2, 2016 the Los Angeles Times via columnist David Lazarus published an investigation of alleged fraudulent credit card charges by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Lazarus' column revealed that retired teacher Terry Hendricks had made a commitment to candidate Clinton for moneys to be taken by the Clinton campaign from Hendricks' credit card each month, the period of contribution being specified to last for the “length of the campaign.”

But after Clinton had lost her presidential bid, Ms. Hendricks found, to her dismay, that the Clinton campaign continued to charge her credit card – and she could not get the fraudulence to stop. Ms. Hendricks made more than 20 calls to the telephone number listed at the Hillary Victory web site, calls that were answered by robots saying Clinton personnel were all “very busy”; please leave a message. Ms. Hendricks' repeated recorded requests to stop the credit-card charges were ignored.

Columnist Lazarus, it seems, replicated Ms. Hendricks' efforts and got the same treatment.

It now appears the LA Times may have had a columnist look into this because complaints as to Clinton's fraud have been surfacing in various publications for many months – and the foul smell of this has intensified since it now turns out many of the aggrieved are poorer people who authorized only ONE credit-card contribution which the Clinton campaign nevertheless never stopped collecting.

Three months ago, Dan Calabrese, in the Canada Free-Press, quoted this from The New York Observer:

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign is stealing from her poorest supporters by purposefully and repeatedly overcharging them after they make what’s supposed to be a one-time small donation through her official campaign website, multiple sources tell the Observer.

“The overcharges are occurring so often that the fraud department at one of the nation’s biggest banks receives up to 100 phone calls a day from Clinton’s small donors asking for refunds for unauthorized charges to their bankcards made by Clinton’s campaign. One elderly Clinton donor, who has been a victim of this fraud scheme, has filed a complaint with her state’s attorney general and a representative from the office told her that they had forwarded her case to the Federal Election Commission.

“'We get up to a hundred calls a day from Hillary’s low-income supporters complaining about multiple unauthorized charges,' a source, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of job security, from the Wells Fargo fraud department told the Observer. The source claims that the Clinton campaign has been pulling this stunt since Spring of this year. The Hillary for America campaign will overcharge small donors by repeatedly charging small amounts such as $20 to the bankcards of donors who made a one-time donation. However, the Clinton campaign strategically doesn’t overcharge these donors $100 or more because the bank would then be obligated to investigate the fraud.

“'We don’t investigate fraudulent charges unless they are over $100,' the fraud specialist explained. 'The Clinton campaign knows this, that’s why we don’t see any charges over the $100 amount, they’ll stop the charges just below $100. We’ll see her campaign overcharge donors by $20, $40 or $60 but never more than $100.' The source, who has worked for Wells Fargo for over 10 years, said that the total amount they refund customers on a daily basis who have been overcharged by Clinton’s campaign 'varies' but the bank usually issues refunds that total between $700 and $1,200 per day.”

Since The New York Observer is published by Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband, this reportage may well be suspected – in all or part - as “fake news.”

But the LA Times is not on the Trump payroll, and its columnist's investigation, as far as it goes, bears out the main features of the Observer story, including Terry Hendricks' frustrated attempts to get the Democratic Party National Committee and the Federal Election Commission to deal with the non-stop charges. Also supportive of the Observer's story is Lazarus' reporting Bank of America's statement that it belatedly canceled – though not apparently refunded - the charges, a similarity to what an an anonymous Wells Fargo employee said as quoted in The Observer.

Canada Free-Press's Dan Calabrese added this opinion: “Hillary is stealing, not only from unwitting donors, but from those who can least afford to be stolen from. That is no surprise to any of us who have followed her career.”

Considering whether this massive collection of money from individuals without their consent is a one-time blunder, Columnist “Rusty,” in the Political Insider of Sept. 16, 2016, wrote:

“During Clinton’s 2007 campaign for president, the New York Times reported that Hillary’s camp 'had to subtract hundreds of thousands of dollars from its first-quarter total because of a variety of problems, including donors whose credit cards were mistakenly charged twice.'”

“In 2008, it was revealed that Team Clinton had to refund a staggering $2.8 million to donors, leading the far-left Daily Kos to ask 'Is the Clinton campaign gaming the system, running up lots of debt, then double dipping peoples credit cards, waiting until more donations come to to cover the refunds on those credit cards, taking advantage of the FEC inaction?'”

In my view, it is inconceivable that a campaign contribution website, programmed to tell callers to its published phone number that its staff are “very busy” and that callers should leave a message – it is inconceivable that such a continually profitable elaboration would be abandoned by its creators, leaving Clinton campaign contributors to scramble for whatever scraps of fraudulently-collected money they can recover through stressful effort -without the knowledge of its main benefactor.

And the fact, as columnist Lazarus reports, that is still enthusiastically asking for, and accepting payment, only confirms that opinion.

Furthermore, I share a conclusion I've seen expressed elsewhere: It is almost certain that many of the victims of this practice don't yet know it because they haven't closely examined their credit card statements.

It is extremely significant that, though arising from more than one source, this story received no attention from major publications before the election. In my view, most news outlets didn't want to touch it before November 8. And only after that date did the LA Times assign a reporter to investigate the matter, an investigation that has substantiated its basic outlines.

But you can be sure no Democratic Party-dominated administration is going to look into whether Hillary Clinton can be proven to have known how her staff is fraudulently gathering money for her from innocent, well-meaning people.

It's understandable that Clinton supporters are uncomfortable and unhappy - especially after her astounding election defeat - to hear additional reasons why most Americans correctly believe her to be untrustworthy.

Unfortunately, there are some so hysterical and so indecently reckless, that, in resentment at further examples of Hillary Clinton's nature being broadcast, find it necessary to cry that the revelations are invented or fabricated.

No, they are not invented or fabricated. They are simply further examples of the way Hillary Clinton lives.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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