The “chance” private meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport this past Tuesday has raised some eyebrows. Ms. Lynch has said the meeting was unplanned, and they did not discuss the email investigation or any other topics her office was involved in. “Our conversation was a great deal about his grandchildren; it was primarily social and about our travels,” Ms. Lynch told reporters in Phoenix on Tuesday. It was a coincidence, Clinton was waiting to fly out, and she just happened to be landing she said.
Some political commentators are saying that Lynch violated her ethical duties when she met privately on her plane with Clinton, people with fiduciary responsibilities (particularly attorneys) should “avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” conservative political pundits bellowed out on their networks. We find these claims to be meritless. First of all, what does “an appearance of impropriety” even mean? It seems like a catch-all phrase to us designed to ensnare unlimited scenarios into the web of possible misconduct. Certainly, Ms. Lynch’s accounting of the less than 30-minute meeting is plausible. The two have known each other for years– Clinton nominated her to the federal bench in New York– they have many mutual friends. The notion that Clinton was pitching her on the Hillary email scandal is a groundless claim.