Democrat Bill Clinton is the president of the US for eight years and his wife Hillary Clinton is the first lady.
President George H. W. Bush signs Executive Order 12674 on April 12, 1989. It sets out fourteen basic principles of ethical conduct for executive branch personnel. It becomes effective on February 3, 1993. (US Office of Government Ethics, 4/5/2016)
It states, in part: “An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity, including nonprofit organizations of which the employee is an officer or member, and persons with whom the employee has or seeks employment or business relations.” (US Government Publishing Office)
It starts off with a modest focus on his planned presidential library in Arkansas. But once Clinton’s term as president ends in early 2001, the Clinton Foundation will steadily expand its mission and its size, eventually becoming one of the largest charities in the world. By 2015, it will have raised over $2 billion in donations. Bill Clinton never takes a salary from the foundation, nor does his wife Hillary Clinton. However, the two of them combined will earn over $150 million in speaking fees, often giving speeches discussing the foundation’s work.
A 2015 Washington Post article will comment, “At its heart, the Clinton Foundation is an ingenious machine that can turn something intangible—the Clintons’ global goodwill—into something tangible: money. For the Clintons’ charitable causes. For their aides and allies. And, indirectly, for the Clintons themselves.” (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015)
The Washington Post will later report that between the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency in 2001 and 2013, he is paid at least $26 million to speak for groups that are also major donors to the Clinton Foundation. This is one-fourth of his overall speaking fees (at least $100 million) in that time period, demonstrating “how closely intertwined Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charitable work has become with their growing personal wealth.”
Many groups paying for his speeches also have interests affected by Hillary Clinton’s State Department when she is secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. (The Washington Post, 4/22/2015)
Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra formed a company called Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. for business in Colombia. From 2005, former President Bill Clinton arranges a series of meetings between Giustra and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, in which Clinton is frequently present. In 2007, Clinton even meets Uribe and Giustra at the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York. Also in 2007, Pacific Rubiales signs a $300 million deal to build a pipeline in central Colombia, gains control of Colombia’s largest oilfield, and acquires the right to cut timber in a biologically diverse Colombian forest. Giustra will later insist that was purely coincidental, and he has traveled frequently with Bill Clinton without business deals. (Clinton has flown for free on Giustra’s private jet at least 25 times.) But Bloomberg News will later note, “Giustra’s globe-trotting adventures with Bill Clinton have coincided with lucrative business deals.”
In 2007, Giustra and Bill Clinton cofound a Canadian offshoot of the Clinton Foundation called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP). It will later be alleged that this is a “slush fund” allowing foreigners to donate money indirectly to the Clinton Foundation in the hopes of getting favorable treatment from the Clintons.
In 1991, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) issued a secret intelligence report showing that Uribe “worked for the Medellin [drug] cartel” and is “a close personal friend of Pablo Escobar Gaviria,” the notorious drug lord. Uribe continues to be linked to a variety of scandals and human rights abuses during his presidency. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015) (The New York Review of Books, 1/30/2016) (The Wall Street Journal, 2/14/2008)
From 2004 to 2006, the foundation’s annual revenue more than doubles, from $58 million to $134 million. The Washington Post will later say that from this time forward, the Foundation will become the “public face” and “the center of the Clintons’ public and professional lives,” as well as an eventual “springboard for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign,” both in 2008 and 2016. (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015)
Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra and former US President Bill Clinton meet with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan. Clinton publicly expresses support for Nazarbayev’s bid to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. This undercuts US foreign policy against that bid, due to Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record and flawed elections.
Two days later, Giustra’s company signs agreements giving it the right to buy shares of three uranium projects controlled by the Kazakh government. The New York Times will later report, “The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.”
Several months later, the Clinton Foundation will get a $31 million donation from Giustra that will remain secret until it is discovered by reporters in 2008. Both Clinton and Giustra will later claim that this chain of events was merely coincidental. However, Moukhtar Dzhakishev, the head of the Kazakh government company, will later say that Giustra did discuss the deal with President Nazarbayev, and Giustra’s friendship with Clinton “of course made an impression.”
Giustra’s company will be sold for $3.1 billion in February 2007, despite being worth only a small fraction of that prior to the Kazakhstan deal. Dzhakishev will meet in private with Clinton and Giustra in Clinton’s New York house the same month Giustra’s company is sold. Both Giustra and Clinton will deny that such a meeting ever took place. But after reporters point to other accounts of the meeting, both of them will say they remember it after all. (The New York Times, 1/30/2008)
Later in 2007, Giustra and Clinton will cofound a Canadian branch of the Clinton Foundation called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP). In 2015, it will be alleged this in fact is a “slush fund” allowing foreigners to anonymously donate money to the Clinton Foundation in hopes of getting political influence with the Clintons. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)
In September 2005, Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra and former US President Bill Clinton met with Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan. A couple of days later, after Clinton made public comments praising Kazakhstan despite its poor human rights record and flawed elections, Giustra was able to buy shares in a company owned by the Kazakh government. By 2007, Giustra’s company owning those shares will increase in value by at least $2 billion.
Then, sometime in early 2006, Giustra secretly donates $31 million to the Clinton Foundation. When it shows up in tax records, the foundation will claim that it was an aggregate of small contributions. However, after pressure due to Hillary Clinton running for president in 2007, in December 2007 Giustra will admit that he was the donor. (The New York Times, 4/29/2015)
Despite this controversy and public correction, in December 2008, when the Clinton Foundation publishes its list of donors for the first time, it will list Giustra as having donated between $10 and $25 million, a range clearly less than $31 million. (The Clinton Foundation, 12/18/2008)
It is reported that Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra told a reporter, “All of my chips, almost, are on Bill Clinton. He’s a brand, a worldwide brand, and he can do things and ask for things that no one else can.” (The New Yorker, 9/18/2006)
In 2007, Giustra and Clinton will cofound the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), a Canadian charity that is an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation.
In 2015, it will be alleged that the CGEP operates as a “slush fund” for the Clintons. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)
Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra and former president Bill Clinton launch the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), a Canadian charity that is an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation. The CGEP will become known for many charitable works, including funding relief efforts after a 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
However, investigative journalist Ken Silverstein will allege in a 2015 Harper’s Magazine article that the CGEP is actually a “slush fund” for the Clintons. He will write that CGEP “has been moving significant sums of money into the Clinton Foundation’s flagship in New York. There’s no way for the public to know precisely how much total money the CGEP has taken in over the years—or how much it has forwarded on to the Clinton Foundation—because, unlike in the United States, under Canadian non-profit law charities don’t need to report donors to tax authorities.” Nearly all the donors to the CGEP are unknown. It is also unknown how much CGEP has given the Clinton Foundation, except that it ranks in the top donor class of $25 million or more.
Charles Ortel, an independent financial expert, will say, “There are no effective controls over the Clinton Foundation or the [CGEP]. No independent party has had access to the bank account records, including wire transfer records. There are no independent directors ensuring compliance with the law. Only a fool would have any confidence in their numbers; it’s like Al Capone forming a foundation.”
An unnamed “money-laundering expert and former intelligence officer based in the Middle East who had access to the Foundation’s confidential banking information” will claim that members of royal families in the Middle East and officials in corrupt governments around the world donate money to the CGEP, which is then sent to the Clinton Foundation. For instance, “Equatorial Guinea doesn’t give to the Clinton Foundation in New York because it’s too embarrassing [for the Clintons]. They give the money anonymously in Canada and that buys them political protection in the United States. The Clinton Foundation is a professionally structured money-laundering operation. […] I can’t say for certain that it’s illegal because I don’t have access to all the financial information but at best they are skating along the edge.” The source concludes that if one puts together all the known evidence, “it’s obvious that the Foundation is a fraud.”
The Clinton Foundation will fail to disclose an account linked to the CGEP on eight consecutive tax returns, including the time Hillary Clinton is secretary of state. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)
Aides to former President Bill Clinton start a Canadian charity called “the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada)” or the CGEPC. This is very similar to but separate from another Bill Clinton-related Canadian charity simply named the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) that was formed two months earlier. All the donations from both charities seem to get forwarded to the Clinton Foundation.
The New York Times will later report that the CGEPC “effectively shielded the identities of donors who gave more than $33 million…despite a pledge of transparency when Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state.”
The Clinton Foundation will later claim that the CGEPC, like the CGEP, was created by Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra to allow Canadian donors to get a tax break for supporting the Clinton Foundation’s work. But the New York Times will later report, “However, interviews with tax lawyers and officials in Canada cast doubt on assertions that the partnership was necessary to confer a tax benefit; an examination shows that for many donors it was not needed, and in any event, since 2010, Canadians could have donated to the foundation directly and received the same tax break. Also, it is not at all clear that privacy laws prohibit the partnership from disclosing its donors, the tax lawyers and officials in Canada said.” (The New York Times, 4/29/2015)
On September 20, 2007, with Hillary Clinton running for president, her husband Bill Clinton says of his work with the Clinton Foundation and his presidential library, “Now we don’t have to publish all of our donors, for example, and if Hillary became president, I think there would be all these questions about whether people would try to win favor with her by giving money to me. You know it wouldn’t work, and I don’t think they would. Still, there are legitimate questions.” (The Economist, 9/20/2007)
Seven days later, he says, “If she becomes president…I will disclose all the donors to our library and activities. For the people that have already given me money, I don’t think I should disclose it unless there is some conflict of which I am aware, and there is not.” (The Washington Post, 9/28/2007)
On the same day “Eric Hoteham” (who is probably a Clinton associate named Eric Hothem) registers clintonemail.com for the private server in the Chappaqua house where Bill and Hillary Clinton live, he registers two other domain names: wjcoffice.com and presidentclinton.com. “WJC” most likely stands for Bill Clinton’s full name “William Jefferson Clinton.” The FBI will later determine that this “was primarily a legacy domain that contained mostly forwarded email.” But presidentclinton.com will be used for email accounts of Clinton Foundation employees and other employees of President Clinton.
These other two domains are also based in Clinton’s house, on the same server that will become infamous for containing all of Hillary Clinton’s emails during her tenure as secretary of state. Apparently, the server won’t become operational until around June 2008.
Bil Clinton doesn’t maintain an email account on the server. His wife Hillary won’t start using an email account on the server until January 2009. (ABC News, 3/5/2015) (The New York Times, 3/4/2015) (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Obama will win the general election in November 2008 and make Clinton his secretary of state shortly thereafter. (ABC News, 6/7/2008)
President-elect Barack Obama nominates Hillary Clinton for secretary of state. (The Guardian, 12/1/2008)
In late 2008, when it becomes clear that newly elected President Obama will nominate Hillary Clinton to be his secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation presents a very large conflict of interest problem. There is a particular concern that foreign governments could use donations to the foundation to influence the Clinton-led State Department.
As a result, on December 12, 2008, the foundation’s CEO Bruce Lindsey signs a memorandum of understanding with Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of Obama’s transition team. It allows governments which had previously donated to the foundation to continue to do so, but only at existing yearly levels. It details an ethics review process for new donating countries or countries that want to “materially increase” their support. However, it does not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the US government from continuing to give money to the foundation.
The Washington Post will later report, “Some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military, and financial relationships with the US government, including Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. Other nations that donated included Australia, Norway, and the Dominican Republic.” The Post will also note, “Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to US political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.”
The agreement will expire when Clinton ends her tenure as secretary of state in February 2013. (The Washington Post, 2/25/2015) (US Senate, 12/18/2008) The agreement covers the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), a Canadian offshoot of the Clinton Foundation that some will later call a “slush fund” for the Clintons. The agreement will be broken in the case of the CGEP, as the Clinton Foundation will not reveal the names of those who donated through the CGEP. (Bloomberg News, 4/19/2015) (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)
The agreement will also be broken in other aspects. For instance, in 2015 it will be reported that the foundation didn’t disclose any foreign donors to the public, despite that being stipulated in the agreement. It will also emerge that no punishment was spelled out if the agreement was violated. (The Boston Globe, 4/30/2015)
Since it began in 1997, the Clinton Foundation had never revealed who its donors were, as it is not legally required to do so. But on this day, with conflict of interest an increasing issue due to Hillary Clinton about to become President Obama’s secretary of state, the foundation releases its list of donors for the first time. Over 200,000 people and entities gave over $500 million to the foundation since it was created. Some of these donations do show conflict of interest concerns, especially in relation to Hillary’s new secretary of state role.
In 2015, the Washington Post will report that the 2008 list of donors “included foreign governments, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which could ask the State Department to take their side in international arguments. And it included a variety of other figures who might benefit from a relationship—or the appearance of a relationship—with the secretary. A businessman close to the ruler of Nigeria. Blackwater Training Center, a controversial military contractor. And dozens of powerful American business leaders, including some prominent conservatives, such as Rupert Murdoch.” Additionally, “It appeared that some wealthy donors—who traveled with [Bill] Clinton or attended his events—also had made valuable business connections at the same time.” For instance, Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra “attended Clinton-related events and met the leaders of Kazakhstan and Colombia, countries where he would later make significant business deals.” (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015) (The New York Times, 12/18/2008)
Former US Treasury Department official Matthew Levitt says donations from “countries where [the US has] particularly sensitive issues and relations” will invariably raise conflict of interest concerns. “The real question is to what extent you can really separate the activities and influence of any husband and wife, and certainly a husband and wife team that is such a powerhouse.”
Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson says the disclosure of donors should ensure that there would be “not even the appearance of a conflict of interest.” (The New York Times, 12/18/2008)
Clinton wants to hire Sid Blumenthal as an official national security adviser in the State Department. Blumenthal had worked in President Bill Clinton’s White House in the 1990s, then had been a journalist, then joined Clinton’s presidential campaign as a senior adviser in 2007. However, Obama bans him from any government job.
According to a 2015 Politico article, “Obama aides were convinced that Blumenthal spread false personal and policy rumors about Obama during the battle between Clinton and Obama for the Democratic nomination.” When Clinton is asked in 2015 if the White House banned her from hiring Blumenthal, she won’t dispute it. (Politico, 10/22/2015) (Politico, 1/8/2016)
Blumenthal will soon get a full-time job at the Clinton Foundation with a $120,000 a year salary. For the duration of Clinton’s time as secretary of state, he will frequently email her intelligence information that he will later claim came from Tyler Drumheller, a CIA agent until 2005. (Politico, 5/28/2015)
Sid Blumenthal is paid about $120,000 a year as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation. He gets the job in early 2009 at the behest of former President Bill Clinton, who employed him in the White House in the 1990s. He keeps the job until March 2015, the same month that the Clinton email scandal first becomes news.
Blumenthal is a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and a journalist. He appears to have been a private citizen without a security clearance since the 1990s. Yet for the duration of Clinton’s time as secretary of state, and while he is being paid by the Clinton Foundation, he frequently emails her with intelligence information and advice. His foundation job doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any of the foundation’s charitable works.
According to Politico, “While Blumenthal’s foundation job focused on highlighting the legacy of [Bill] Clinton’s presidency, some officials at the charity questioned his value and grumbled that his hiring was a favor from the Clintons, according to people familiar with the foundation.”
In 2011, Blumenthal has a business relationship with two companies, Osprey Global Solutions and Constellations Group, trying to get government contracts to assist US-supported rebels in Libya that year.
After March 2015, Blumenthal will be a paid consultant to American Bridge and Media Matters, two groups supporting Clinton’s presidential campaign that are run by David Brock, an ally of both Clinton and Blumenthal. Politico will later comment, “Blumenthal’s concurrent work for the foundation, the Brock groups, and a pair of businesses seeking potentially lucrative contracts in Libya underscores the blurred lines between her State Department work and that of her family’s charitable and political enterprises.” (Politico, 5/28/2015)
When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Clintons agreed with the White House that State Department ethics officials would review all offers for Bill Clinton to give paid speeches, to avoid potential conflicts of interest. When the first few speech requests come in, Jim Thessin, the department’s top ethics approver, writes in an email: “In future requests, I would suggest including a statement listing whether or not any of the proposed sponsors of a speaking event have made a donation to the Clinton Foundation and, if so, the amount and date.”
However, Politico will report in 2015, “released documents show no evidence that the question was addressed.” (Politico, 2/25/2015)
Douglas Band starts a lucrative corporate consulting firm named Teneo. Band is a longtime personal assistant to Bill Clinton, as well as his “surrogate son,” and a top leader of the Clinton Foundation. Bill Clinton joins Teneo as a paid adviser. The New York Times will later report that no outside business has “drawn more scrutiny in Clinton circles than Teneo. […] Aspiring to merge corporate consulting, public relations and merchant banking in a single business, Mr. Band poached executives from Wall Street, recruited other Clinton aides to join as employees or advisers, and set up shop in a Midtown [Manhattan] office formerly belonging to one of the country’s top hedge funds.” The firm recruits clients who are also Clinton Foundation donors, and encourages other clients to donate to the foundation. Teneo’s marketing materials highlight its links to Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. The Times will later report, “Some Clinton aides and foundation employees began to wonder where the foundation ended and Teneo began.”
Bill Clinton will end his paid role in March 2012 after a controversy over one of Teneo’s clients that allegedly upset Hillary Clinton. Band will leave his paid position with the foundation in late 2010, but he will continue to have a key role in the Clinton Global Initiative, one of the foundation’s major projects. (The New York Times, 8/13/2013)
Band will finally resign from all his remaining Clinton Foundation positions in May 2015, around the time a book called Clinton, Inc. comes out that is critical of links between Teneo and the Clinton Foundation, and also just weeks before Hillary Clinton will begin her second presidential campaign. (The New York Post, 6/21/2015)
Clinton writes a formal letter to Jim Thessin, who is a deputy legal adviser and “designated agency ethics official” for the State Department. In it, she states, “To avoid even the appearance of a conflict” of interest, she and her husband Bill Clinton are “voluntarily taking steps that go above and beyond the requirements of the law and ethics regulations with respect to [Bill’s] personal income earned from speeches and consulting as well as respect to the William J. Clinton Foundation and its initiatives.”
She goes on to list in detail more pledges to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Regarding the Clinton Foundation, she writes: “For the duration of my appointment as Secretary [of State] if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party…”
She concludes with a catch-all, “Finally, I will recuse myself from participation on a case by case basis in any particular matter in which, in my judgment, I determine that a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question my impartiality…” (US Senate, 1/5/2009)
The foundation is not legally obliged to do so, but there is political pressure, with this being the first day of Hillary Clinton’s Senate confirmation hearing for her to become the next secretary of state.
The list shows that over 200,000 donors gave at least $492 million dollars since the foundation was founded in 1997. Exact contribution amounts are unknown because the list only gives ranges. At least $46 million comes directly from foreign governments such as Saudi Arabia. The foundation promises to reveal all future donors on a yearly basis, and new foreign government donations will be scrutinized by “government ethics officers.” Some donations come from sources that could lead to controversy or conflicts of interest.
For instance, the Blackwater security firm donated between $10,001 to $25,000. The Associated Press notes the company is “at risk of losing its lucrative government contract to protect US diplomats in Iraq.”
The Internet company Yahoo, as well as its top executives Jerry Yang, Frank Biondi, and Terry Semel donated as well. The Associated Press comments that the company has been “involved in disputes over surrendering Internet information to Chinese authorities that led to the imprisonment of dissidents there.”
Also, Victor Dahdaleh gave between $1 million to $5 million. He is a Canadian investor involved in aluminum production. He has been sued for fraud and bribery by a Bahrain aluminum company, and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation about it. (The Associated Press, 1/18/2009) Dahdaleh will be acquitted in the legal case in 2013. But he will be implicated in a different financial scandal in 2016. (Yahoo Finance, 5/25/2016)
Under pressure from the White House to avoid a conflict of interest with Hillary Clinton’s new position as secretary of state, former US President Bill Clinton agrees to step away from direct involvement in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a yearly fundraising conference. He will continue serving as CGI’s chairperson, but will not solicit money or sponsorships. Additionally, CGI will cease accepting foreign contributions and will not host events outside the US. (The Associated Press, 1/18/2009)
Clinton declares in her Senate confirmation proceeding that she and former President Bill Clinton are “committed to ensuring that his work does not present a conflict of interest with the duties of secretary of state.” She vows “to protect against even the appearance of a conflict of interest between his work and the duties of the secretary of state.” She adds that “in many, if not most cases, it is likely that the foundation or President Clinton will not pursue an opportunity that presents a conflict.” Senate Richard Lugar (R) says, “Foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state,” and he urges the foundation to reject all donations from them. (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)
However, most senators are assured by the memorandum of understanding recently signed between the foundation and the White House that addresses conflict of interest issues, even though it will only prevent increases in donations from foreign governments. Senator John Kerry (D) is one of those who express concern that the agreement doesn’t go far enough, but he votes for her anyway. On January 21, 2009, Clinton’s nomination is confirmed by the Senate 94 to 2. (The Associated Press, 1/15/2009) (The New York Times, 1/21/2009)
He had been elected on November 6, 2008. He will win reelection in 2012.
She resigns as senator from New York at the same time. She was confirmed by the Senate earlier the same day.
She will serve for all of President Obama’s first term, until February 2013. (The Washington Post, 3/10/2015)
Bill Clinton also collects $26 million in speaking fees from Clinton Foundation donors. These numbers will be calculated by Vox in 2015. Vox will comment that no one “has produced anything close to evidence of a quid pro quo in which Hillary Clinton took official action in exchange for contributions to the Clinton Foundation.”
However, “public records alone reveal a nearly limitless supply of cozy relationships between the Clintons and companies with interests before the government. […] That’s not illegal, but it is scandalous.” Vox adds, “Ultimately, it is impossible to tell where one end of the two-headed Clinton political and philanthropic operation ends and where the other begins.” (Vox, 4/28/2015)
The branch is the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Just before Clinton became secretary of state, an agreement was signed between the Clinton Foundation and the Obama White House in order to prevent conflict of interest problems with Clinton’s new position. During these years, the CHAI has a budget of over $100 million a year, making it worth nearly 60 percent of all of the Clintons’ charities. The agreement with the White House not only specified transparency rules that were ignored, but also prohibited any significant increase in foreign government giving over previous yearly levels. Yet foreign government grants to CHAI increases from $27 million in 2010 to $56 million in 2013.
In 2015, the CEO of CHAI, former Hillary Clinton adviser Ira Magaziner, will respond to some of the omissions, but will “decline to explain why no part of the pact [with the White House] was ever activated.” (The Boston Globe, 4/30/2015)
For instance, although the Saudi government doesn’t donate money to the foundation during this time, but prominent Saudis, including members of the Saudi royal family, do give millions. About a dozen foreign individuals and the foundations and companies they control collectively give between $34 million and $68 million during Clinton’s tenure. Another $60 million goes to charitable projects sponsored by the foundation. (The Wall Street Journal, 3/19/2015)
The department has to authorize all such sales, and can turn them down for a variety of reasons, such as documented human rights abuses in those countries. But the department authorizes $151 billion in military sales to the 16 countries that are large donors to the foundation, a 143% increase to those nations compared to the last four years of the Bush administration.
By comparison, military sales to all countries, including those countries, increase 80% during the same time period. US defense contractors also donate heavily to the Clinton Foundation during this time, as well as paying for speeches given by Bill Clinton.
Many countries the State Department approves for these sales are also criticized by the department for various problems such as corruption, political repression, and poor cooperation on terrorism. Such countries include Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. The 16 large donor countries give between $54 million and $141 million combined to the Clinton Foundation during this time, as well as paying big speaking fees to Bill Clinton.
Meredith McGehee, policy director at the non-profit Campaign Legal Center, will later say, “The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation. This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these non-profits is problematic.”
Gregory Suchan, who was a State Department official for over 30 years, will say that while foreign governments and defense contractors may not have made donations to the foundation exclusively to influence weapons sales, they were clearly “looking to build up deposits in the ‘favor bank’ and to be well thought of.” (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)
Meanwhile, Boeing and the foreign countries involved in the deals donate to the Clinton Foundation and pay for speeches given by Bill Clinton.
- In early 2009, Clinton begins working with Boeing to open up new business in Russia. Later in the year, Clinton visits Russia and makes what she describes as a “shameless pitch” to a Russian airline to buy Boeing passenger jets. In 2010, Boeing gets the deal, selling 50 jets worth $3.7 billion.
- In 2009, China is preparing to host the 2010 world’s fair. However, it seems the US exhibit promoting US businesses will have to be cancelled, since the private fundraising efforts are going poorly. A State Department official warns that there likely will be “extremely widespread” consequences to both diplomatic and commercial interests if the US effort fails. Emails show that Clinton and other State Department officials push Boeing and other US companies to donate, and Boeing eventually gives $2 million, helping make the exhibit a success. US exposition organizer Nick Winslow will later say that he didn’t feel any political pressure, but, “Knowing that it was important to the State Department, did that help? Of course it did.”
- In August 2010, Boeing donates $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation to support education projects in Haiti.
- In February 2011, Boeing wins a $35 billion tanker-refueling contract for the US Air Force. Clinton had supported the bid. When she hears Boeing won, she writes in an email, “I’m pleased.”
- In 2011, the State Department approves a series of weapons deals between Boeing and the government of Kuwait. For instance, Boeing is the prime contractor in a $690 million deal to give Kuwait military transport planes.
- Later in 2011, Bill Clinton is paid $175,000 by the Kuwait America Foundation for a speech. Boeing is a sponsor of the event. Kuwait also continues to donate millions to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary is secretary of state.
- In late 2011, Clinton’s State Department approves an enormous weapons deal for Saudi Arabia. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing will deliver $30 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to that country, including 84 new F-15 fighter jets built by Boeing. The deal takes place despite strong opposition from Israel, as well as concerns about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and lack of democracy. But according to a State Department official, Clinton made the deal a personal “top priority.”
- Saudi Arabia is prohibited from donating money to the Clinton Foundation during her time as secretary of state as part of a deal Clinton signed with the White House in 2008. But in previous years, the Saudi government gave at least $10 million to foundation. Additionally, private Saudi citizens and Saudi royals give millions to the foundation while she is in office. Then the Saudi government resumes donating to the foundation after she leaves office.
In early 2012, the State Department helps Boeing secure major deals in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
- In July 2012, Boeing pays Bill Clinton $250,000 for a speech.
- In September 2012, Bill Clinton gives another speech sponsored by Boeing. He is paid $200,000.
- In 2013, Boeing sponsored an event in St. Louis called Clinton Global Initiative University. It’s not clear how much Boeing donates, but it gives between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, and the event is part of the foundation’s work.
- In 2014, Boeing chief lobbyist Tim Keating hosts a fundraiser on behalf of Clinton’s anticipated 2016 presidential campaign. (The Seattle Times, 3/21/2016) (Politico, 4/15/2015) (The Wall Street Journal, 3/19/2015) (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)
Lisa Gilbert, of the government integrity watchdog group Public Citizen, will later say that what the Clintons were doing likely was not illegal. However, it seems “unsavory.” (The Seattle Times, 3/21/2016) Similar patterns can be seen with other US weapons manufacturers, like Lockheed, and other foreign governments, like Oman and Qatar. Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, will later say, “These continuing revelations raise a fundamental question of judgment. Can it really be that the Clintons didn’t recognize the questions these transactions would raise? And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?” (The International Business Times, 5/26/2015)
According to ABC News in 2015, “Where he once had drawn $150,000 for a typical address in the years following his presidency, [Bill] saw a succession of staggering paydays for speeches in 2010 and 2011, including $500,000 paid by a Russian investment bank and $750,000 to address a telecom conference in China.” Furthermore, many of the groups paying him higher fees have interests pending before Hillary’s State Department. However, there is no direct proof that Hillary takes any direct action to benefit the groups paying her husband.
Before becoming secretary of state, she agreed to a process whereby State Department ethics officials would review and approve her husband’s speaking requests. But ABC News will report, “In practice, there were few if any instances where ethics officials inside the State Department asked the former president to refuse to accept payment for a speech.” (ABC News, 4/23/2015)