Hillary Clinton weighing secretary of state post

By: AP
By: AP

CHICAGO (AP) -- Former President Bill Clinton has agreed to publicly disclose the names of most donors to his presidential foundation and library, a significant concession aimed at helping smooth the path for his wife to become the next secretary of state.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, meanwhile, was expected to decide soon whether to take the job, which associates said she believes is hers if she wants it. Transition officials for President-elect Barack Obama said the former first lady had not formally been offered the job and other candidates have been vetted. But several Clinton associates said Obama has told her she is his top pick.

Bill Clinton's decision to open up his donor list for scrutiny was the former president's latest effort to lift concerns about any potential conflicts of interest for his wife.

Officials with knowledge of the vetting said the former president would agree to make public the names of all donors who had given at least $250 to the foundation. He has long insisted on keeping the names private, a decision that created controversy for his wife during her run for the Democratic nomination.

Advisers said they were still trying to figure out what to do about donors who had contributed to the foundation on the condition they would remain anonymous. Breaking that agreement with donors could hurt the foundation's fundraising.

Bill Clinton has also agreed to several other concessions, such as submitting his speeches and public speaking schedule for the State Department to review during the time his wife serves and alerting officials there about any new sources of income. He also has indicated he would step away from day-to-day management of his foundation, where he has raised millions from foreign governments and companies to help fight poverty and AIDS in the developing world.

Bill Clinton briefly addressed questions about the vetting process in New York on Wednesday.

"I'll do whatever they want," the former president said at a ceremony renaming the Triborough Bridge for the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

Bill Clinton's post-presidential ventures around the globe were heavily scrutinized this week during two days of intense negotiations in Washington between transition officials and a team of lawyers representing the former first couple.

Transition head John Podesta led the talks, along with Obama adviser Todd Stern and Tom Perrelli, a classmate of the president-elect from Harvard Law School. The Clintons were represented by longtime advisers Cheryl Mills, Doug Band and Bruce Lindsey.

The face-to-face meetings ended Tuesday, but aides to the president-elect said some final vetting is still under way.

Nonetheless, several Clinton friends said that she continues to be conflicted about the prospect of giving up her Senate seat from New York and that questions about her husband's business ventures would not be the deciding factor. She has been eager to work on expanding health care, a goal potentially made more attainable by the prospect of a new Democratic administration and several new Democrats joining the Senate.

"The issue for her is simply whether she wants to do it," said an associate not authorized to speak publicly for Clinton. "She's 61 years old, and it's been a very hard fought few years. Would it be good for the Senate, the country, the world for her to take it? Those are the things she's considering."

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Associated Press writer Nedra Pickler in Washington contributed to this report.

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