The latest attempt at derailing Hillary Clinton’s campaign is about emails sent to her Secretary of State staff recommending the hiring of influential people who are purportedly connected to the Clinton Foundation.
In The Secret Handshake, I wrote about favor banks. And it’s true that they can be requested and granted at the wrong times. But, equally true is that hardly anyone gets anywhere without asking for and granting some favors.
It’s important to make connections in business and government. In fact, many people use connections when getting their children into colleges and universities.
While favors are more subtle in the U.S. than in many countries where “greasing the skids” (bribes rather than favors) may be required to take a taxi from the airport to a meeting, most careers, at some point, involve the granting and receiving of favors — both large and small.
It would be surprising, at best, to learn that favors were never requested of any previous presidential candidate. It would be naive to think that people who put their hearts and souls into an election are simply given a wave and a thank you when the campaign is over.
I could tell students who ask for letters of recommendation: “If you’re all that smart, get the job on your own.” But, why wouldn’t I put in a good word for a good student?
It may be different when big donors get involved in asking for favors, but the process of requesting favors goes on everywhere.
Anyone who thinks favors aren’t asked of people in high or powerful places is politically naive. When requests are too much to ask (e.g., qualification for a job are not adequate or another candidate is highly qualified) or if they put one or the other person in a compromising position, then ethical considerations are important. Knowing the lines not to cross is critical.
It’s important to learn the limits of favors. But it should never be surprising that requests for them are regularly received by people in positions of influence.