Much has been made of the questionable actions and connections held by Clinton’s foundation enterprise over the last year. Many allegations have been made but what is entirely undebatable is the fact that the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation works closely with Wall Street banks and is also heavily funded by them. As Ellen Simon of Investopedia sums up,
Bill Clinton started a public health non-profit in 2002 that has since grown into The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Global Initiative, which holds forums for international leaders, was separately incorporated from the foundation in 2010 at the request of the Obama Administration while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. After she stepped down as secretary of state, the two funds were reunited.
The Clinton Global Initiative discloses its donors by range, not by specific amount. Barclays Capital, Citi Foundation and Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund have all given the Clinton’s foundation between $1 million and $5 million. Bank of America Foundation, Barclays PLC, Citigroup Inc., McKinsey & Company and UBS Wealth Management USA have given between $500,000 and $1 million. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank AG, Deutsche Bank Americas, Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Global Impact Funding Trust Inc. have all given between $251,000 and $500,000.
The Clinton Foundation(s) are notoriously mercurial. Funding comes in and funding goes out but no one is ever that clear on the details of where it came from, where it is going, and/or what it is being used for. Labeled an “atypical business model” by “charity watchdog” group Charity Navigator, the Clinton Foundation has earned its position on the list of “suspicious charities.”
As Hotair.com wrote, the Clinton Foundation had a “pass-through rate in 2013 [that] was a scandalous 6.4%, and during Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State it averaged somewhere around 15%. At least 60% of the foundation’s income goes to pay administrative costs, and in at least one year they spent as much on private and first-class air travel as they did in programmatic grants.”
Aside from its known donations from Wall Street, however, the Clinton Foundation – during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State – was a documented and undoubtable national security risk. This is because of the money – much of it hidden – was being received by not only industrial, banking, and corporate interests but also by foreign governments at a time when the executor of that foundation had an open door of communication with the US Secretary of State. In this instance, that open door of communication was no less than the husband of the Secretary of State. In other words, the Foundation likely served as a conduit for funds provided by foreign governments that would have seen the Secretary of State directly benefit financially from those donations.
Consider the report provided by James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus of The Wall Street Journal who reveal the donations received from six foreign governments by the Clinton Foundation. Grimaldi and Ballhaus write,
The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency.
Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline. . . .
United Arab Emirates, a first-time donor, gave between $1 million and $5 million in 2014, and the German government—which also hadn’t previously given—contributed between $100,000 and $250,000.
A previous donor, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has given between $10 million and $25 million since the foundation was created in 1999. Part of that came in 2014, although the database doesn’t specify how much.
The Australian government has given between $5 million and $10 million, at least part of which came in 2014. It also gave in 2013, when its donations fell in the same range.
Qatar’s government committee preparing for the 2022 soccer World Cup gave between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2014. Qatar’s government had previously donated between $1 million and $5 million.
Oman, which had made a donation previously, gave an undisclosed amount in 2014. Over time, Oman has given the foundation between $1 million and $5 million. Prior to last year, its donations fell in the same range.
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin expands on the report in her article entitled “Foreign Donations To Foundation Raise Major Ethical Questions For Hillary Clinton,” where she states,
The foundation of course provides luxury travel for Hillary Clinton and her spouse, a high-visibility platform and access to mega-donors. She is beholden in a meaningful sense to its donors. No presidential candidate can justify a conflict of interest of this magnitude; it is not merely the appearance of conflict but actual conflict of interest.
If former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell (R) might go to jail for receiving lavish gifts for a donor for whom he made a few phone calls, what would be the remedy if, once in office, Hillary Clinton extended her office not only to make calls but also to approve policy and financial arrangements worth billions back to these countries? How will the American people ever be satisfied we are getting her undivided loyalty? No matter how much she protests, her judgment would be questioned as influenced by gratitude toward the foundation’s wealthy patrons. And, of course, a president cannot recuse himself or herself from dealings, so there is no practical way to avoid the conflict.
It is bad enough when Clinton takes gobs of money in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, oil and chemical companies, and other titans of industry — although that, too, raises the potential for conflicts of interest. But a foreign government should never have any claim on the loyalty of a U.S. president, which is why foreign donations directly to a campaign are illegal. We cannot give her a pass simply because her entity is a “foundation,” not a PAC or campaign entity.
Yet the initial reports only told part of the story. These six countries were not the only national governments who donated money to the Clinton Foundation. Other donations came rolling in from China and donors who were also closely connected to Chinese intelligence.
As Julianna Goldman wrote for CBS News on March 16, 2015,
A CBS News investigation has found that at least one foreign company with close ties to its government has been giving generously to the foundation run by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.
Since its founding, the Clinton Foundation has invested millions each year for work in fighting AIDS and empowering women, but its recent uptick in donations from foreign governments has been raising questions about the potential influence on Hillary Clinton, as she gets ready to run for president.
The foundation has raised at least $42 million from foreign governments – and according to an analysis by CBS News – at least $170 million from foreign entities and individuals.
One donor – Rilin Enterprises- pledged $2 million in 2013 to the Clinton Foundation’s endowment. The company is a privately-held Chinese construction and trade conglomerate and run by billionaire Wang Wenliang, who is also a delegate to the Chinese parliament. Public records show the firm has spent $1.4 million since 2012, lobbying Congress and the State Department. The firm owns a strategic port along the border with North Korea and was also one of the contractors that built the Chinese embassy in Washington.
That contract is a direct tie to the Chinese government, according to Jim Mann, who has written several books on China’s relationship with the U.S.
This donation is significant not only because of conflict of interest allegations and lobbying efforts but also because foreign governments tend to rely on companies that have close domestic intelligence connections when deciding who builds embassies overseas.
Of course, no foreign source of donation to an American political or government official would be complete without sizable donations from the Israelis and the Israel lobby.
Although not an official emissary of the Israeli government, Haim Saban, a billionaire of “dual-citizenship” and an open Zionist, donated millions to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State.
As Jillian Kay Melchior summarizes in her article “Why Is An Israeli American Billionaire Pouring Millions Into the Clinton Foundation?”
Weeks after Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the State Department objected to a proposed consultancy arrangement offered to Bill Clinton by media mogul Haim Saban, citing concerns about conflict of interest. Nevertheless, public records show that Saban’s nonprofit gave millions to the Clinton Foundation throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure.
Saban, a billionaire best known for creating Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, has dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship and has spent heavily to support Israel. “His greatest concern, he says, is to protect Israel, by strengthening the United States-Israel relationship,” The New Yorker noted in a 2010 profile of Saban. At a conference in Israel, the article said, Saban had outlined three methods for influencing American politics: “make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.”
Again Saban’s foreign-policy activism did not escape the attention of the State Department. The agency’s designated ethics adviser, James H. Thessin, wrote in a memo that his objection to the proposed consultancy was “based on the fact that Haim Saban, a founder of this entity, is actively involved in foreign affairs issues, particularly with regards to the Middle East, which is a priority area for the Secretary.”
Thessin’s memo, one of 1,017 pages of records obtained by Judicial Watch, was the only instance in which the Department of State objected to one of Bill Clinton’s proposed speaking engagements or consultancy agreements.
Yet between 2009 and 2013, as Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, the Saban Family Foundation paid the Clinton Foundation more than $7 million, and listed $30.5 million in “grants and contributions approved for future payment,” according to nonprofit records filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
The donations accepted by the Clinton Foundation, while duplicitous on a number of different levels were often done with the approval of the Obama White House. However, even with the pathetic and weak rules imposed on the Foundation by the Obama administration, the organization managed to run afoul of the agreement.
Thus, it is reasonable to ask now whether Hillary Clinton is not only beholden to major corporations and banks residing inside the United States, but whether she is also beholden to foreign governments?