Over the last few months, media scrutiny of Hillary Clinton has focused on the scandals related to her private email servers and alleged mishandling of classified information. Now, however, several news agencies have uncovered documents that appear to implicate the Clinton Foundation in a pay-to-play scheme, where funds were leveraged for access to the State Department.
The media’s investigation of the Clinton Foundation is still ongoing. Reporters have only scratched the surface of the Foundation’s shady connections, and the influence of those connections on Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. However, the information that is publicly available at this time paints an ugly picture of corruption and malfeasance.
Some of the evidence of the most ridiculous deceit and corruption comes from a recent Judicial Watch FOIA request. Their press release said, “It’s no wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress. They show that the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.
Other stories of the improper relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department are older, but the Clintons’ avarice is just as shocking in these episodes.
Without further ado, here are some of the most egregious stories that have come out of investigating the Clinton’s shady financial dealings:
1.) Clinton Foundation Aide Left Nearly 150 Phone Messages for Hillary’s Top Aide at State Department
Fox News is reporting that the connections between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department go deeper than was once thought:
A review of State Department call logs for Cheryl Mills, the longtime Clinton confidant who served as chief of staff for the entirety of Clinton’s four-year tenure as America’s top diplomat reflects at least 148 messages from Laura Graham – then the Clinton Foundation’s chief operating officer – between 2010 and 2012. No other individual or non-profit appears in the logs with anything like that frequency or volume, the review found.
Though these messages alone are not evidence of misconduct in these contacts, they certainly add to the pile of evidence pointing to possible malfeasance and corruption.
2.) Huma Abedin’s Emails Show Clinton Donors Given Special Access at State Department
Huma Abedin, a top-ranking Clinton aide, has been implicated in a number of scandals surrounding the Clinton machine. For instance, shady dealings regarding her special government employee status and potential conflicts of interest are being investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee currently.
Abedin’s emails, acquired by Judicial Watch, have been a useful glance into the inner workings of the Clinton machine, detailing how certain donors were given special access.
From Judicial Watch’s press release:
Included among the Abedin-Band emails is an exchange revealing that when Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through “normal channels” at State, Clinton declined to meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set up within forty-eight hours.
Apparently, Salman contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and the Bahraini government gave major donations at various points as well.
The Bahrainis were not the only group to pay to play, though.
3.) Hillary Clinton Met with Donors with Private Interests at State Department
A new report from AP has suggested that big-money donors to the Clinton Foundation received an inordinate level of access to the State Department during Hillary’s tenure:
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
According to AP’s investigation, the scope of the conflicts of interest between the Clinton Foundation and Clinton’s service as Secretary of State is far wider than anyone previously imagined.
4.) Clinton Foundation Ties with Chagoury Brothers
The Chagoury brothers are a pair of Nigerian-Lebanese billionaires with extensive real estate interests. According to reports, the State Department considered purchasing land from the Chagoury’s firm to build a new consulate in the Nigerian city of Lagos.
The Chagoury brothers are well-documented donors to the Clinton Foundation. Gilbert Chagoury alone has donated over $1 million to the Foundation, and the brothers’ firm has pledged $1 billion to environmentalist initiatives led by the Clinton Foundation.
Bill Clinton has a warm relationship with the Chagoury brothers, attending a 2013 ceremony for that environmentalist initiative and appearing in promotional videos for it.
David N. Bossie, the president of the group that uncovered many of these details, says that the State Department’s consideration of the Chagoury deal may be representative of a pay-to-play culture within the extensive Clinton network.
“A month after Bill Clinton visits a Gilbert and Ronald Chagoury-run land project in Nigeria, the U.S. State Department wants to buy the same land,” he said. “Who could be so lucky? A major donor to the Clinton Foundation, that’s who.”
The State Department eventually backed out of the deal with the Chagoury-run firm, but only after Hillary Clinton left her post as Secretary of State.
5.) Cash Flow Between Rosatom and Clinton Foundation
Between 2009 and 2013, a Russian uranium mining company called Uranium One, which is owned by the Russian state-controlled nuclear corporation, looked to strike a deal to gain possession of a fifth of the United States’ uranium production capacity.
Because uranium is considered a strategic asset, an inter-agency government committee had to meet to approve the deal. One of those agencies that needed to approve the deal was the Clinton-led State Department.
The New York Times reports that Uranium One’s chairman made four donations to the Clinton Foundation, totaling $2.35 million. Not only that, but shortly before the deal was finalized, Clinton received $500,000 from a Rosatom-linked bank to give a speech in Moscow.
“Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown,” the New York Times report said. “But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.”
Shady Nigerian businessmen. Vladimir Putin’s nuclear cronies. Oil interests in the Middle East. Big business tycoons. Radical Islamists from Saudi Arabia. All of these, and countless others, flooded the Clinton Foundation with funds and received access to the Clinton network and the Secretary of State. The Clintons put personal enrichment before upholding strong ethical standards, and may even have put private and foreign interests ahead of the American people.
During the Democratic presidential primary, Bernie Sanders offered a strong critique of the Clinton Foundation’s wheeling and dealing.
“If you ask me about the Clinton Foundation, do I have a problem when a sitting secretary of state and a foundation run by her husband collects many millions of dollars from foreign governments, many governments which are dictatorships… yeah I do,” the independent Vermont senator said. He also went on to say that the Clinton Foundation’s activities represent a “conflict of interest.”
At the very least, the Clinton Foundation is guilty of an unseemly lack of transparency that potentially violates federal regulations. At the very worst, those connected to the Clinton Foundation—possibly including Clinton herself—acted as foreign agents and let money from the Clinton Foundation affect the operation of the State Department.
In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said, “The American people need to understand just how untrustworthy and dishonest Hillary Clinton was as Secretary of State in her dealings with the Clinton Foundation.”
Indeed they do, Senator. Indeed they do.
Michael Lucchese works for the American Principles Project.