Early 2006: Giustra secretly donates $31 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Frank Giustra. (Credit: Frank Franklin II / The Associated Press)

Frank Giustra. (Credit: Frank Franklin II / The Associated Press)

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)

August 2007: A second Canadian offshoot allows big donations to secretly pass to the Clinton Foundation.

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in Haiti in 2014. (Credit: Hector Retamal / Agence France Presse)

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in Haiti in 2014. (Credit: Hector Retamal / Agence France Presse)

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)

September 20, 2007: If Hillary becomes president, Bill Clinton would disclose future donors to the Clinton Foundation, but not past ones.

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)

December 17, 2008: The Clinton Foundation’s donor list includes foreign governments as well as business leaders.

Clinton pays an official visit to King Abdullah, in Saudi Arabia, on March 30, 2012. (Credit: Reuters)

Clinton pays an official visit to King Abdullah, in Saudi Arabia, on March 30, 2012. (Credit: Reuters)

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)

2009: A new corporate consulting firm is closely tied to the Clinton Foundation, presenting new conflict of interest issues.

Douglas Band (Credit: C. Patrick McMullan / Newscom)

Douglas Band (Credit: C. Patrick McMullan / Newscom)

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)

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 21, 2009—February 1, 2013: While Clinton is secretary of state, at least 181 companies, individuals, and foreign governments that donate to the Clinton Foundation also lobby Clinton’s State Department.

Clinton (right) texting while attending a dinner with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri (center) and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (left), in Marrakesh, Morocco, on November 2, 2009. (Credit: Abdelhak Senna / Agence France Presse)

Clinton (right) texting while attending a dinner with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri (center) and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (left), in Marrakesh, Morocco, on November 2, 2009. (Credit: Abdelhak Senna / Agence France Presse)

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)

March 3, 2015: Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Reince Priebus suggests Clinton could have mixed diplomacy and private fundraising in her emails.

Reince Priebus (Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Reince Priebus (Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Responding to news reports that Clinton used only a private email and private server while secretary of state, Priebus attempts to tie them into previous reports scrutinizing the Clinton Foundation and its fundraising from foreign governments. “It makes you wonder: Did she use the private emails so she could conduct diplomacy and fundraising at the same time?” (Politico, 3/3/2015)

April 19, 2015: The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), a Canadian affiliate of the Clinton Foundation, has over 1,000 undisclosed donors, and the amount they have given is unknown.

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in 2010. (Credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)

Bill Clinton (left) and Frank Giustra (right) in 2010. (Credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)

Bloomberg News calls this news report a “politically explosive revelation…because the Clinton Foundation promised to disclose its donors as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state.” In December 2008, just before Clinton took office, the Clinton Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Obama White House promising to reveal its donors. This agreement explicitly included the CGEP, so this revelation shows the agreement was not upheld.

Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra, who cofounded the CGEP with former President Bill Clinton, says, “We’re not trying to hide anything. […] All of the money that was raised by CGEP flowed through to the Clinton Foundation—every penny—and went to the [charitable] initiatives we identified.”

Giustra and the Clinton Foundation assert that Canadian law prevents them from revealing the CGEP’s donors. However, Bloomberg News reports, “Canadian tax and privacy law experts were dubious of this claim.” Len Farber, former director of tax policy at Canada’s Department of Finance, says, “There’s nothing that would preclude them from releasing the names of donors. It’s entirely up to them.” (Bloomberg News, 4/19/2015)

In November 2015, a Harper’s Magazine article will claim that the CGEP is actually a “slush fund” which has allowed politically toxic foreign contributors to anonymously donate money to the Clinton Foundation, with the hopes of influencing Clinton while she was secretary of state. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015)

April 30, 2015: The Clinton Foundation is said to be in a “campaign tailspin.”

The cover of The New York Post on April 21, 2015, is critical of the Clintons and The Clinton Foundation. (Credit: The New York Post)

The cover of The New York Post on April 21, 2015, is critical of the Clintons and The Clinton Foundation. (Credit: The New York Post)

Politico reports this after some major donors are reconsidering giving to the foundation due to recent negative media reports as well as Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement she is running for president again. An unnamed donor who gave at least $500,000 to the foundation last year says, “There are a lot of factors and the reputational is among them. We had some questions about how the money was being spent—and that was long before the problems were in the press.” (Politico, 4/30/2015)

May 15, 2015: Dozens of media organizations and journalists have donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Carlos Slim (Credit: ABC News)

Carlos Slim (Credit: ABC News)

The foundation’s records show that there are not many news outlets who would report on the foundation and didn’t donate some money to it. The following have given at least $1 million:

  • Carlos Slim, the Mexican multibillionaire who is also the largest New York Times shareholder.
  • James Murdoch, the chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, and the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
  • Newsmax Media, the conservative media outlet.
  • Thomson Reuters, the owner of the Reuters news service.

Others to donate smaller amounts include Google, Bloomberg, Richard Mellon Scaife, Mort Zuckerman, AOL, HBO, Viacom, Turner Broadcasting (CNN), Twitter, Comcast, NBC Universal, PBS, the Washington Post, and many more. (Politico, 5/15/2015)

November 19, 2015: The Washington Post publishes an in-depth analysis of the history of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s political fundraising.

A graphic from The Washington Post article "Inside the Clinton Donor Network." (Credit: The Washington Post)

A graphic from The Washington Post article “Inside the Clinton Donor Network.” (Credit: The Washington Post)

It reveals that the Clintons “have built an unrivaled global network of donors while pioneering fundraising techniques that have transformed modern politics,” raising more money than any other politicians in US history. All their fundraising combined over four decades in politics has raised at least $3 billion. $2 billion of that has gone to the Clinton Foundation and another billion has gone to their various political campaigns, especially presidential races. Additionally, since 2000, the Clintons were directly paid more than $150 million from giving speeches. The Clintons have a loyal core of about 2,700 rich political contributors who make up less than one percent of donors who gave more than $200 but have given 21 percent of all the money. The Post comments, “The Clintons’ steady cultivation of financial benefactors—many of whom had interests before the government—has led to charges of conflicts of interest and impropriety, such as Bill Clinton’s end-of-term presidential pardons sought by donors. […] Most of all, the Clintons have excelled at leveraging access to their power and celebrity.” (The Washington Post, 11/19/2015)

Before February 2016: A suspicious bank transaction draws the attention of the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation.

In November 2016, CNN will report that in the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, “at least one FBI field office also received notification of a possible suspicious bank transaction. The transaction involving a Clinton Foundation donor was flagged in what is known as a suspicious activity report, routine notices sent through the Treasury Department’s financial enforcement arm.”

The timing of this incident is not clear. But the CNN article will mention it prior to describing a pivotal meeting between the FBI and Justice Department in February 2016. (CNN, 11/2/2016)

June 24, 2016: Clinton’s official calendar omits dozens of meetings with donors and other outside interests.

A sample of a meeting with donors and loyalists that were omitted from Clinton’s official calendar. (Credit: The Associated Press)

In August 2013, the Associated Press (AP) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Clinton’s calendar and schedules from the State Department. After years of delays and denials, AP recently got about one-third of Clinton’s planning schedules from when she was secretary of state, and will be getting more.

A comparison of the planning schedules with Clinton’s 1,500-page official calendar shows “at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded,” or for which the names of those she met were omitted. At least 114 outsiders attended these meetings. Only seven meetings were replaced on the calendar by other events, while more than sixty meetings were either omitted entirely or described briefly as “private meetings” without mention of who attended. The missing meetings involve “private dinners and meetings with political donors, policy sessions with groups of corporate leaders, and ‘drop-bys’ with old Clinton campaign hands and advisers.”

For instance, meetings with controversial Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal are not mentioned, nor are meetings with billionaire Haim Saban, a major donor to Clinton’s political campaigns who also has given at least $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. A Clinton spokesperson says this merely shows that some records are more detailed than others. But AP points out that on the same days the names of donors Clinton meets with are omitted, the names of all the participants in other meetings are given.

Five former State Department logistics officials say that some previous secretaries of state omitted some details from their official calendars, but only for special occasions, such as medical appointments, and not meetings with donors or political interests. It is not known who edited Clinton’s official calendar. It also does not appear any federal laws were broken, although there are department rules against altering or deleting information.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the nonpartisan watchdog group the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), comments: “It’s clear that any outside influence needs to be clearly identified in some way to at least guarantee transparency. That didn’t happen. These discrepancies are striking because of her possible interest at the time in running for the presidency.” (The Associated Press, 6/24/2016)