For Hugh Rodham, born 1911, see Hugh E. Rodham.
Hugh Rodham
BornHugh Edwin Rodham
(1950-05-26) May 26, 1950 (age 70)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Alma materPenn State University
University of Arkansas
Known forBrother of Hillary Rodham Clinton; Senate candidate
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Maria Victoria Arias
ParentsHugh E. Rodham (deceased)
Dorothy Howell Rodham (deceased)

Hugh Edwin Rodham (born 26 May 1950)[1] is an American lawyer, businessman and Democratic Party politician who is the brother of former New York Senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rodham made one run for political office, winning the 1994 Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat from Florida, but losing the general election to incumbent Senator Connie Mack III.

Early life and education Edit

Rodham is the son of Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, a Chicago textile wholesaler, and Dorothy Emma Howell. He has one younger brother, Tony Rodham. Like Hillary, he was born in Chicago but grew up in suburban Park Ridge, Illinois. He graduated from Maine South High School in 1968, playing on the football, wrestling, and baseball teams.[2] Like his father, Rodham attended Pennsylvania State University, graduating in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Health and Human Development. While attending Penn State he was backup quarterback on the Penn State Nittany Lions football team.[3] Rodham was also an active member of the Sigma Triton charge of Theta Delta Chi fraternity at Penn State.[4] He served in the Peace Corps in Colombia[3] for over a year, training teachers; he later called it the most rewarding experience of his life.[5] He then gained advanced degrees in education and law at the University of Arkansas,[3] the latter occurring while Bill Clinton was governor of the state.[2]

Run for U.S. SenateEdit

Rodham left the public defenders office to run for the United States Senate in Florida in 1994. He won the Democratic Party nomination by defeating Mike Wiley, a talk radio personality and advocate of UFO conspiracy theories, by a margin of 58 to 42 percent in a runoff election,[6][7] after earlier finishing first in a four-person primary field with 34 percent.[7] After the first primary, the third-place finisher, flamboyant Miami lawyer and perennial losing candidate Ellis Rubin,[8] joined forces with Rodham as an "senior executive consultant" and hatchet man.[9] In the presence of Rodham at a press conference, Rubin levelled the accusation that Wiley was hiding his Jewish faith by changing his name from his birth name, Michael Schreiber,[7][8] and that Wiley "changed his name before the campaign to deceive voters about his Jewish religion." Wiley accordingly refused to endorse Rodham after the runoff.[7] Rodham then lost by a 70%-30% margin to incumbent Senator Republican Connie Mack III in the general election.[3] Although Bill and Hillary Clinton both campaigned for him, his organization was unable to take advantage of their help,[10] he had few funds, only one television commercial, and little support from the Florida Democratic party establishment in a year that saw Republican gains everywhere.[2][3] After the election, Rubin switched allegiance again and charged Rodham with election law violations in the first primary; the Federal Elections Commission eventually dismissed the allegations.[11] Rodham subsequently tried to unseat the Dade County Democratic Party Chairman; after badly losing that race, he disappeared from the Florida political scene.[2]

Return to lawEdit

After losing the election, Rodham returned to law, while also trying his hand at hosting a syndicated talk radio show around 1996.[3][5] During 1995 through 1997 Rodham started working on a very large tobacco lawsuit with other attorneys; observers were puzzled as to Rodham's involvement, given his limited experience in the area, and speculated that influence peddling might be the reason.[2][12] The massive case eventually failed to gain Congressional approval.[6]

In 1999, Hugh and brother Tony Rodham entered into a $118 million venture to grow and export hazelnuts from the Republic of Georgia.[6] The U.S. State Department and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger became upset, however, when the Rodhams' local business connection in Batumi turned out to be Aslan Abashidze, a major political opponent of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, then a key U.S. ally in the region.[6][13][14] After initial resistance,[13] Berger and the Clintons prevailed upon the Rodham brothers to drop the deal.[2][6] Hugh Rodham stated that he was only acting as a lawyer for the venture and did not have money invested in it.[13]

Episodes such as these led Hillary Clinton's White House staff to refer to Hugh and Tony as "the Brothers Rodham",[15] extending the American tradition of troublesome presidential siblings to the brother-in-law category;[13] one senior White House official would be quoted as saying, "You never wanted to hear their name come up in any context other than playing golf."[15]

Role in pardonsEdit

As the Clinton administration came to a close in early 2001, it was discovered that Hugh Rodham received around $400,000 for legal services regarding gaining the Presidential pardon of fraudulent businessman Glenn Braswell and the sentence commutation of drug trafficker Carlos Vignali.[16] While legal experts said that Rodham may well not have done anything wrong, the appearance of possible impropriety certainly existed.[16] Moreoever, coming while the Bill Clinton pardons controversy was already in full force, this was a further embarrassment for the former administration and even got the attention of the Congressional House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.[2] Hillary Clinton, now a newly-sworn-in Senator, said, "He's my brother. I love my brother ... I'm just extremely disappointed in this terrible misjudgment that he made ... I knew nothing about my brother's involvement in these pardons. I knew nothing about his taking money for his involvement."[2] Both Clintons pressured Rodham to return the $400,000, which he promptly did.[6] During this time, Rodham additionally collected media criticism for being overweight and a poor dresser.[6][14]

Subsequently, Rodham stayed out of the public eye. When his sister's 2008 presidential campaign came to the family summer home of Scranton, Pennsylvania, for the state primary, he hosted a reception for campaign workers.[17]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. "First Lady Biography: Hillary Clinton". Accessed via Google cache July 10, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Lynn Sweet (2001-02-23). "Politics thicker than blood?". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-07-08.[dead link]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "The Rodham Family Biography". CNN. Retrieved 2007-07-08.
  4. "The Pillars of Prospect: Sigma Phi Sigma/Theta Delta Chi Alumni Association". Retrieved 2008-10-20.[dead link]
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Looking Back on Interviews With the Rodhams and Roger Clinton", Larry King Live, February 24, 2001. Accessed July 11, 2007.
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named time022201
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Florida Vote Goes to Brother Of First Lady". New York Times. October 5, 1994. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "More Anti-Semitism in Hillary's Closet". NewsMax. October 16, 2000. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  9. Tom Fielder (1994-09-22). "Rubin Joins Rodham Campaign, Rips Wiley" (fee required). The Miami Herald.
  10. Michael Wines, "Clinton Finds Few Listeners at Rally in Miami", The New York Times, October 16, 1994. Accessed July 10, 2007.
  11. Tom Fielder (1996-04-06). "FEC Dismisses Allegations Against Rodham Campaign" (fee required). The Miami Herald.
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named nyt042397
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named cnn110199
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Best Local Boy Gone Bad (2001)", Miami New Times. Accessed July 10, 2007.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Todd S. Purdum, "Siblings Who Often Emerge In an Unflattering Spotlight", The New York Times, February 23, 2001. Accessed July 28, 2007.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Pardon Controversies Deepen With Involvement of Hugh Rodham",, February 22, 2001. Accessed April 8, 2007.
  17. Katherine Q. Seelye (2008-03-10). "Pennsylvania Ties Could Help Clinton". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-14.

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