WikiLeaks: Hillary Clinton campaign considered Tim Cook, Bill Gates for V.P. nom


On Tuesday, the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks released yet another email from Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign chair John Podesta, this time revealing exactly who was under consideration for her vice presidential nomination other than her eventual pick, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

Along with well-known names like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Podesta listed two billionaire tech luminaries in the same "food group": Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Cook would be the first openly gay man ever nominated on a major party presidential ticket. But he would also come with some baggage as the leader of a major multinational tech corporation which has at times found itself in conflict with tax authorities.

Apple has recently found itself under fire for alleged violation of European Union tax rules, with Cook referring to the E.U.'s order to pay Ireland some $14.5 billion in unpaid taxes as "political crap." Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Treasury tightened "restrictions on companies' use of foreign tax credits to reduce what they owe in U.S. taxes," Reuters reported.

Gates is now widely known as one of the world's biggest philanthropists, even as his fortune ballooned to $90 billion earlier this year, but his tenure at Microsoft was marked by controversy over his harsh management style, anti-trust litigation and often ruthless business tactics.

While both are highly successful business leaders in their own right, it's really not so clear voters are very hungry for technocratic, business-oriented one-percenter candidates this year. In early 2016, fellow "food group" member Bloomberg briefly visited the possibility of his own presidential run, but later decided not to.

More generally, Kaine was selected specifically as a less-than-threatening moderate with political experience who wouldn't rock the boat. The selection of either tech billionaire, neither who have held political offices, could have opened Clinton to a less predictable array of attacks from both her left or right flanks during the general election.