My first search to find Hillary commodity trading scandal background information brought up this thread as a top ten search result! I've looked through some WSJ material from the 1990s but found neither the article Crafty referenced nor the editorial that I remember. One interesting point at the start is that it was the NYT that first brought forward the story. Her earliest explanation was that she got her information from the WSJ. In response, the editors said we're flattered but no, it doesn't work that way.
In fact, the odds of doing what she did without cheating the system are one in 31 trillion against her, best case. Assuming that the return is made in the most efficient way possible, this probability falls to approximately 1.5×10−16.http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02920493
As the joke goes, so you're sayin' I got a shot!
What really was going on?
The person feeding her information and hand placing her trades with hindsight was chief counsel to one of the state's most powerful companies as her husband was Attorney General and leading candidate for Governor. In crony corruption language, quid pro quo is the exchange of goods or services where one transfer is contingent upon the other. "During Mr. Clinton's tenure as Governor, Tyson benefited from several state decisions, including favorable environmental rulings, $9 million in state loans, and the placement of company executives on important state boards." (http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/30/us/hillary-clinton-turned-1000-into-99540-white-house-says.html
Politico, March 10, 2015
A few days after Hubbell’s resignation [Hillary's law partner who plead guilty for bilking clients], the New York Times ran a lengthy story about Hillary’s commodity trades. Her aides and lawyers had finally provided financial records to the Times, but only after the newspaper made clear that it was preparing to publish a detailed account of her trading profits.
Initially, senior aides to the Clintons said in March 1994 that Hillary “based her trades on information in the Wall Street Journal.” That explanation was subsequently dropped. An aide to Hillary then said she had withdrawn from the market in the fall of 1979 because she had found trading too nerve-racking in the final months of her pregnancy. But another White House aide quickly declared that excuse “inoperative” after it was disclosed in April 1994 that Hillary made $6,500 in a commodities-trading venture in 1980 but failed to report that profit to the IRS.
Shortly after that, Hillary took responsibility—in her standard combination of singular acknowledgment and plural blame—for her aides’ confusing answers to reporters, saying they stemmed from her being away, working on other issues. “I probably did not spend enough time, get as precise,” she explained, “so I think that the confusion was our responsibility.”
[No criminal investigation was made because the statute of limitations had long expired before the tax returns were made available.]
They note the similarity to the private email scandal press conference and a similar one in 1994:
By mid-April , Hillary’s approval ratings had dropped from 56 percent the year before to 44 percent, a historically low mark for a First Lady. Aides knew that Hillary’s stubborn reluctance to speak with the press was one of the sources of the public’s displeasure with her. For weeks, her aides and friends had urged her to con- front the negative reports and innuendos in an open, candid way. It was one thing to stay in the background, but by not providing Americans with an example different from her initially off-putting public appearance, she was leaving it to her political enemies to define her.
In late April, Hillary told her chief of staff, Maggie Williams, “I want to do it. Let’s call a press conference.”
“You know you’ll have to answer all questions, no matter what they throw at you,” Williams responded.
“I know. I’m ready.”http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/hillary-clinton-emails-pink-press-conferences-115952_Page2.html#ixzz3VDuOabvg