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Clintons sell holdings to avoid conflicts of interest

June 16, 2007|From Newsday

WASHINGTON — Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton cashed out $5 million to $25 million from a blind trust that included more than $100,000 in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. stock and millions in defense, pharmaceutical and Wal-Mart holdings to avoid conflicts of interest.

The Clintons revealed their investment after the Office of Government Ethics informed Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) that she needed to identify her assets and income to comply with presidential disclosure rules.

The stock sale, detailed in a 44-page ethics form filed Friday, was voluntary; Hillary Clinton had only been required to disclose or "un-blind" the fund.

The sell-off was primarily a political move, allowing the senator to distance herself from oil, insurance, healthcare and drug businesses that have been targets of her political ire.

The holdings include $115,000 to $300,000 of stock in Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to the ethics forms. Sen. Clinton, who served on the retail giant's board in the 1980s, recently returned a campaign contribution from its interest group to protest its employee healthcare plan.

Converting the assets to cash will cost the Clintons a hefty capital gains tax payment.

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