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EDITORIAL

Editorial: Make all Clinton emails public

The Detroit News

It stretches credibility to the breaking point to accept that it is mere coincidence that more than half the non-government meetings Hillary Clinton had while secretary of state were with donors to the foundation run by her husband. And yet the Democratic presidential nominee would have voters believe there is no there there.

That should be for voters to decide, and to do so, they need access to a lot more information.

An investigative report from the Associated Press found at least 85 of 154 people from private interests who had either face-to-face meetings or telephone conversations with Clinton during her tenure at the State Department donated money directly to the Clinton Foundation or pledged support for its international programs.

These weren’t token contributions. The 85 donors kicked in a combined $156 million; 20 of them gave more than $1 million and 40 donated more than $100,000 each.

While the AP found no direct evidence of a quid pro quo, the correlation between meetings and donations certainly raises the possibility of a pay-to-play culture at the Clinton State Department.

The investigative report follows on the heels of new emails turned over by the State Department that reveal numerous conversations between Bill Clinton’s top aides at the foundation and Hillary Clinton’s top staffers at State asking for special favors for foundation donors.

Perhaps there was no impropriety. But at the very least it shows extremely poor judgment by Hillary Clinton, who committed to President Barack Obama when he appointed her that she’d maintain a wall between State and the foundation. Clearly, the wall was never built.

With additional questions raised about Clinton’s ethical character with each new email dump, it is vital that the process of releasing the emails be expedited so that all are made public before the November election.

This week, a federal judge ordered the State Department to quickly review nearly 15,000 emails discovered by the FBI — emails Clinton insisted didn’t exist. Judge James Boasberg set a deadline of Sept. 22 to inspect the emails for classified and sensitive material and ready them for release.

That release must come before the election. Voters have a right to know as much as possible about the candidates who are asking to be made president. That’s why we continue to urge Republican Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

The Clinton campaign insists the emails are irrelevant because the FBI has examined them and determined no crime was committed in Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. But the FBI hasn’t addressed whether there were conflicts of interest in Clinton’s interaction with her husband’s foundation.

Nor did it address ethical lapses that fall short of a crime, but are of intense interest to voters.

Before Nov. 8, all emails and other correspondence involving contacts between the State Department and the Clinton foundation should be made public. The information won’t do voters much good on Nov. 9.