Suit Sheds Light on Clintons’ Ties to a Benefactor

When former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton took a family vacation in January 2002 to Acapulco, Mexico, one of their longtime supporters, Vinod Gupta, provided his company’s private jet to fly them there. The company, infoUSA, one of the nation’s largest brokers of information on consumers, paid $146,866 to ferry the Clintons, Mr. Gupta and others to Acapulco and back, court records show. During the next four years, infoUSA paid Mr. Clinton more than $2 million for consulting services, and spent almost $900,000 to fly him around the world for his presidential foundation work and to fly Mrs. Clinton to campaign events.

Those expenses are cited in a lawsuit filed late last year in a Delaware court by angry shareholders of infoUSA, who assert that Mr. Gupta wasted the company’s money trying “to ingratiate himself” with his high-profile guests.

The disclosure of the trips and the consulting fees is just a small part of a broader complaint about the way Mr. Gupta has managed his company. But for the former president, and for the senator who would become president, it offers significant new details about their relationship with an unusually generous benefactor whose business practices have lately come under scrutiny.

In addition to the shareholder accusations, The New York Times reported last Sunday that an investigation by the authorities in Iowa found that infoUSA sold consumer data several years ago to telemarketing criminals who used it to steal money from elderly Americans. It advertised call lists with titles like “Elderly Opportunity Seekers” or “Suffering Seniors,” a compilation of people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. The company called the episodes an aberration and pledged that it would not happen again.

{This story about a shareholder lawsuit against infoUSA reveals not only the huge financial power of firms like infoUSA, which illegally sell health and financial information about vulnerable elderly Americans, but the fact that data mongers like infoUSA are playing politics at the highest levels. infoUSA has provided private plane flights and millions of dollars annually in consulting fees to the Clintons, in addition to making substantial political contributions to both Clinton campaigns. These corporations do not want Congress to outlaw the lucrative business of selling Americans’ most sensitive information: medical records. Our challenge is to make sure the American people know about these blatantly illegal data thefts of health records by commercial data aggregators and data mining corporations. America has a long tradition of guarding citizens’ rights to medical privacy; which are embodied by state laws, common law, Constitutional law, the physician-patient privilege, the Hippocratic Oath, and medical ethics. We must urge Congress to step in and restore the privacy rights we have had since the founding of this nation and stop the illegal data mining of our medical records. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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