Hillary Clinton defended herself at Thursday night's Democratic debate against suggestions by Sen. Bernie Sanders that she has been influenced by Wall Street donations.
“Time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to—you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought,” Clinton said. “But you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received.”
But there's at least one person who has pointed to a specific instance in which she believed Clinton changed both her views and her vote because of corporate influence—Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
In a 2004 interview with Bill Moyers, Warren, then a consumer-finance advocate, suggested that Clinton flip-flopped on a bankruptcy bill to placate the financial services industry.
The story goes like this:
In the late 1990s and in 2000, during the administration of President Bill Clinton, credit card companies were pushing a bill that would have made it harder for people to unload debt in bankruptcy.
Warren, a specialist in bankruptcy law, came out against the bill in an op-ed and managed to get a meeting with Hillary Clinton, then the first lady, to discuss it.
After meeting with Warren, Clinton came out publicly against the bill, and her husband later vetoed it. Hillary Clinton took credit for stopping the law in her autobiography, "Living History."[
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Flash forward to early 2001, when Clinton was a senator from New York, and the same bankruptcy bill came up for a vote. That time, Clinton voted in favor of the bill. It failed to pass Congress that year, but a version of the bill did finally pass and become law in 2005.
Why the change of heart after Clinton became a senator? As Warren put it in her interview with Moyers:
“As Senator Clinton, the pressures are very different. It’s a well-financed industry. You know a lot of people don’t realize that the industry that gave the most money to Washington over the past few years was not the oil industry, was not pharmaceuticals. It was consumer credit products. Those are the people. The credit card companies have been giving money, and they have influence. … She has taken money from the groups, and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.”
Clinton modified her position once again on the bankruptcy bill after then-Sen. Barack Obama criticized her for the vote during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.
While maintaining that the 2001 bill had "some things she agreed with," she said that she regretted the vote and wished she could take it back. She also said that she would have voted against the 2005 version of the bill had she not missed the vote because her husband was in surgery.
Neither Clinton's campaign nor Warren's office immediately returned requests for comment from Fusion.
Warren recounted her role in the battle over the bankruptcy bill in her 2014 autobiography, "Fighting Chance," but did not address Clinton's allegiances. Warren has yet to endorse a candidate in this year's Democratic primary and is the only Democratic woman in the Senate who has not endorsed Clinton.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the fate of the bankruptcy bill in 2000. It passed Congress and was vetoed.