At the core of "Clinton, Inc.," however, is not gossip or innuendo but a history of the family business. The Clintons have built a power bloc within the Democratic Party; they have also enriched themselves personally and launched a complex set of foundations and subsidiaries. The 2012 revenues for the flagship Clinton Foundation were estimated at $214 million. It focuses on issues like "health security" and "economic empowerment." One of its projects, the Clinton Global Initiative, with its summits and conferences, has put the Clintons in touch with world leaders and top CEOs. Throughout there is a mixing of fundraising, influence-seeking, hobnobbing, do-goodery and political ambition. What ties it all together is access to the Clintons.
Mr. Halper concedes that, as Mrs. Clinton said to great mockery, the Clintons were technically "broke" when they left Washington in 2001—not least because of Bill's legal fees—but he notes that their earning potential more than wiped out any cash-flow problems. Bill Clinton alone, he reports, has "earned well over $100 million in speaking fees . . . including $17 million in one year alone." He received a $15 million advance for his 2004 autobiography, "My Life," which, Mr. Halper writes, was "largely considered a bulky, self-absorbed tome with moments of sparkle and brilliance." In this way, it "reflect[ed] its author."