Chafee: ‘Too many ethical questions’ surround Hillary

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee's (D) presidential candidacy is less than 24 hours old, and he's already doing something no other Democratic challenger has: directly bashing front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE's ethics.

During a Thursday morning interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Chafee laid out a litany of ethics allegations that have followed Clinton throughout her career.

"It’s a long record going back over decades of questionable ethical practices. People groan when I bring up Whitewater and all these things, the Rose Law Firm records; it seems like it never stops," Chafee said, mentioning issues from Clinton’s time as first lady.

"Now, we are into the tenure of secretary of State and the emails and of course the Clinton Foundation donations at the same time the State Department is making critical decisions, combined with some of those donations by the Clinton Foundation. It's just too close and too many ethical questions."

"Over my 30-year record in public office, I've never had any ethical questions about my behavior," Chafee, who has served as a governor, senator and local politician, said.

Clinton holds a wide lead over the entire Democratic field, and Chafee failed to earn 1 percent support in the latest CNN/ORC poll.

But those same polls showed a majority of respondents did not find Clinton honest or trustworthy, and held an unfavorable view of her.

Republicans and some Democrats have argued that questions surrounding Clinton's use of a private email server while at the State Department and her donations to her family foundation have hurt her stock with voters.

While other Democratic candidates have tiptoed around criticizing her on these issues, Chafee has so far been the most direct. He's also criticized Clinton for her vote to authorize the War in Iraq, noting that he voted against it as Clinton's Senate colleague.

Chafee, who announced an exploratory committee in April, launched his candidacy Wednesday night during a speech in Arlington, Va., where he proposed instituting the metric system. The speech centered mostly on foreign policy, where he criticized drone strikes and blamed neo-conservatives for destroying American credibility with the Iraq War.