January 15, 2009: The Clinton Foundation releases its list of donors for the first time.

Victor Dahdaleh (Credit: Leon Neal / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

Victor Dahdaleh (Credit: Leon Neal / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

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)

January 15, 2009: Limits are placed on Clinton Global Initiative while Hillary Clinton is secretary of state.

Bill Clinton appears with Brad Pitt at the fifth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative on September 24, 2009. (Credit: Anthony Dixon/ World Entertainment News Daily)

Bill Clinton appears with Brad Pitt at the fifth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative on September 24, 2009. (Credit: Anthony Dixon/ World Entertainment News Daily)

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)

January 15, 2009—January 21, 2009: A possible conflict of interest between the Clinton Foundation’s work and Clinton’s duties is the main concern during her secretary of state confirmation.

Clinton testifies during her confirmation hearing on Jan. 13, 2009, in Washington, DC. (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Clinton testifies during her confirmation hearing on Jan. 13, 2009, in Washington, DC. (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

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)