Arab Dictatorships Pour Money into Clinton Foundation
Federal law prohibits foreign governments from contributing money to political candidates, including those seeking the presidency. But the Clinton Foundation has provided overseas regimes, particularly Arab dictatorships, with the legal means of giving large sums of money to a charitable organization that Hillary Clinton is very much a part of it.
During her time as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, Clinton was not directly connected to the foundation, which only now bears her name (the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation) since she left the State Department.
Nonetheless, several authoritarian regimes in the Arab world were among the seven that contributed to the foundation while she served as the nation’s top diplomat and presumably worked on bolstering her foreign policy credentials in anticipation of a second run at the Oval Office come 2016.
In 2010, Algeria, which has been accused human rights violations, gave the foundation $500,000, which was donated to support earthquake relief in Haiti. Extensive corruption, arbitrary killings, and restrictions on women’s rights, labor and freedom of assembly are among the charges made in a 2010 State Department human rights report about Algeria.
In addition, “some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government, including Kuwait, Qatar and Oman,” The Washington Post reported.
In 2008, just prior to Clinton’s nomination to the post, an agreement was reached between the foundation and the Obama administration that imposed limits on foreign government donations. This was done with the intent of preventing other countries from seeking special treatment from a Clinton-run State Department. However, most of the donations made during her tenure were made possible by exceptions written into the agreement that permitted governments which had previously made financial contributions to continue doing so.
The Post has disclosed that the agreement “did not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the U.S. government from giving money to the charity closely linked to the secretary of state.” In the case of the money contributed by Algeria, which was a new donor, Clinton foundation officials now concede that they should have first gotten the approval of the State Department ethics office before accepting the funds.
It was also reported by the Post that although the Clinton Foundation had for years disclosed foreign-government donations—in spite of not being required to publicly do so, according to McClatchy—it refrained from making such disclosures during Clinton’s four-year State Department tenure.
“Rarely, if ever, has a potential commander in chief been so closely associated with an organization that has solicited financial support from foreign governments,” the Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger wrote.
The newspaper reported last week that foreign governments and organizations were responsible for a third of all donors who have given the foundation more than $1 million since it was founded in 2001.
The foundation, created by former President Bill Clinton, has raised nearly $2 billion since then from all donors, foreign and domestic. It has been described as one of the fastest-growing charities in the world and has been praised by both liberals and some conservatives. Its philanthropic efforts have included initiatives on HIV drug access, climate change, women’s issues, and economic support for areas plagued by poverty.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman
To Learn More:
Foreign Governments Gave Millions To Foundation While Clinton Was at State Dept. (by Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, Washington Post)
Foreign Cash Pours into Clinton Foundation (by Anita Kumar, McClatchy)
Clintons’ Foundation Has Raised Nearly $2 Billion — and Some Key Questions (by Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Steven Rich, Washington Post)
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