Hillary Clinton's Brothers Dabbled In Politics Too

by Lauren Holter

Let's face it, it's gotta be tough growing up with Hillary Rodham Clinton as your big sister, always outshining you as a kid and then going on to become a household name and powerful political figure. That's a lot of greatness to live up to. Clinton's two younger brothers, Tony and Hugh Rodham, both tried their hands at politics, but weren't as successful as their big sis and settled on law and business instead. Like any younger sibling, they've caused a few embarrassments for Clinton over the years, including a hazelnut venture in the Republic of Georgia and being payed to sway Presidential pardons, but have managed to (mostly) stay out of the spotlight.

Hugh Rodham, the first-born brother named after their father, went into law, becoming a public defender in Miami in the 1980s working on a controversial drug court that advocated treatment over jail. In 1994, while Clinton was First Lady, Hugh ran for Senate in Florida, but lost pretty badly to the Republican candidate despite the Clintons help with his campaign. He gave up his political aspirations after his loss and returned to law, while also briefly trying his hand at a radio talk show. Today, Hugh is a partner at Fort Lauderdale law firm Rodham & Fine, where's he been for the past 14 years.


The youngest sibling, Anthony "Tony" Rodham, never finished college and jumped around for a while, working for a metal-marking equipment company and selling insurance before moving to Florida, where he became a private detective. During Bill's presidential campaign, Tony started a job at the Democratic National Committee working on constituency outreach. He made another career switch in the early 2000s, becoming a "general consultant," which he described to Larry King by saying, "I just bring different peoples together. I help them negotiate deals. I solve problems for people." After numerous business failings, Bill helped Tony get a job finding foreign investors for GreenTech Automotive firm in 2010.

Known as "the Brothers Rodham," Hugh and Tony created a few problems for the Clintons while Bill was in office, so big sis probably wants to keep an eye on them while during her campaign. In 1999, the brothers started a $118 million venture to grow and export hazelnuts in the Republic of Georgia (hopefully for Nutella), but it became an issue when it was discovered that their business partner was the Georgian president, Eduard Shevardnadze's, main political opponent since Shevardnadze was a U.S. ally. Hugh and Tony stopped growing the nuts and tried to keep exporting, but, according to Time, "the White House was not amused."


A few years later, in 2001, it was made public that Hugh had been paid $400,000 for legal services helping convicted drug dealer Carlos Vignali and convicted tax fraud Glenn Braswell get presidential pardons. "He's my brother. I love my brother. I'm just extremely disappointed in this terrible misjudgment that he made," Clinton said to CNN at the time. Bill was already being criticized for his pardons, and this scandal just worsened the blow.

Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, while Bill was co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, Tony and some business partners proposed a $22 million deal to rebuild homes in the affected areas using funds from the Clinton Foundation. The plan never came to fruition and Bill's office told The New York Times he was not involved in the plan.

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