In December 2008, Bruce Lindsey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Clinton Foundation, and Valerie Jarrett, co-chairman of the Obama-Biden Transition Team, signed a memorandum of understanding that the activities of the Clinton Foundation would not “create conflicts or the appearance of conflicts for Senator Clinton as Secretary of State.”
During Secretary Clinton’s tenure, at least 181 individuals, companies, and foreign governments gave money to the Clinton Foundation while officially lobbying the State Department.
From 2001 to 2015, the Clinton Foundation raised over $2 billion in donations. From February 2001 to May 2015, Bill Clinton gave 637 speeches and made $132,021,691 in speaking fees alone. Hillary gave 92 speeches from February 2013 to March 2015. She was paid $21,648,000. While the Clintons made speeches to Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, it was the foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation that were the most disturbing.
In 13 speeches, Bill made at least $500,000. Eleven of those speeches occurred when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State (2009-2013). All eleven of those speeches were delivered outside of the United States, including Russia and China.
Since people don’t give that kind of money for nothing in return, the question is did these donors get pay for play immediately when Hillary was Secretary of State or did they expect something only if Hillary was elected president? In his 2015 book Clinton Cash, author Peter Schweizer argues that foreign donors have already received a return on their investment when Hillary was Secretary of State through Bill Clinton’s speaking fees and donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Russia: While people question things that Trump has said about Putin, it is Hillary Clinton that encouraged U.S. technology firms, including Clinton Foundation donors Cisco, Intel, and Google, to do business with Russia.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton attempted a reset with Russia. One of the more interesting ideas was to create a Russian Silicon Valley in Skolkovo, which is just outside of Moscow. The idea was that Russia needed to modernize its economy and not rely so much on oil revenues.
Instead of helping Russians modernize their economy, Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, and other Russian donors to the Clinton Foundation, used this project to improve Russian military technology. Despite repeated warnings of Russians developing hypersonic cruise-missile engines, new radar equipment, and acquiring other sensitive technology from the West, the State Department did not threaten to pull these companies out of the project if the Russians didn’t stop using Skolkovo for military research.
The most disturbing case from Schweizer’s book is that Rosatom, a state-owned Russian company, now controls one fifth of America’s uranium reserves. The purchase of Uranium One by Salida Capital, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rosatom, had to be approved by the State Department among other government entities.
When Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, Bill Clinton signed a disclosure agreement that required the State Department to approve all his speeches as well as annually provide a detailed list of donors to each of the legal entities inside the Clinton Foundation. If the Clinton Foundation was more transparent, it is highly unlikely the deal would have gone through.
The reason why is because Frank Giustra, a Canadian billionaire, with mining interests all over world, set up a separate legal entity, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. Amy Davidson wrote in the New Yorker, “Money given to the Canadian entity goes exclusively to the foundation. Per an agency agreement, all of its work is done by the foundation, too.” Since all of the donations of this Canadian nonprofit went straight to the Clinton Foundation, it is problematic that the Clinton Foundation did not disclose 1,100 donors to this nonprofit.
This Canadian “charity” shielded donors from disclosure requirements. The total money from these donors was $33 million including $2.35 million from Ian Telfer, the chairman of Uranium One. Telfer used his family charity, the Fernwood Foundation, to send the money to the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. This money was bundled and eventually sent to the Clinton Foundation.
At the same time, Bill Clinton received a lucrative speaking fee while this deal was underway. According to the New York Times, “And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”
Kazakhstan: Clinton’s adventures with Frank Giustra didn’t begin with Russia. In 2005, Clinton went with Giustra to Kazakhstan to meet with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Giustra’s obvious connections with Clinton clearly made an impression on the Kazakh dictator.
Two days after this meeting, Kazakhstan’s state-owned company, Kazatomprom, gave Giustra’s company the right to buy three uranium projects in the country. A few months later, Giustra returned the favor to Clinton by donating $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.
In 2006, Frank Giustra described his relationship with Clinton saying, “He’s a brand, a worldwide brand, and he can do things and ask for things that no one else can.”
Colombia: This could explain why Giustra allowed the Clinton Foundation to use his private jet on 26 trips from 2005 to 2014. Clinton and Giustra were on the plane for 13 of those 26 trips.
In 2005, President Clinton was paid $800,000 by Gold Services International to give four speeches in four days (June 21 to June 24). He gave the first two in Mexico City and Bogota and the final two in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
He used Frank Giustra’s plane for that 2005 trip. Bill Clinton went to Colombia again in 2007 where he received an award from President Alvaro Uribe for helping improve Colombia’s image in the United States. Clinton also helped Giustra arrange meetings with Colombian officials.
In 2010, Frank Giustra and Bill Clinton were in Bogota again at the same time that Hillary Clinton was in town on State Department business. The three of them had dinner together the night before both Bill and Hillary had separate meetings with President Uribe on the same day. Uribe first met Giustra in 2005 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.
According to Peter Schweizer’s book, “Days after Hillary left Bogota, Prima Colombia Properties, which Frank Giustra has ownership interest in through a shell company called Flagship Industries, announced that it had acquired the right to cut timber in a biologically diverse forest on the pristine Colombian shoreline.” Giustra’s other company, Pacific Rubiales Energy, got the right to drill for oil on six Colombian fields shortly after Hillary left.
In 2007, Frank Giustra and his business partners at Pacific Rubiales Energy, gave $4.4 million to the Clinton-Giustra Enterprise Partnership. In 2011 and 2012, the United Steelworkers and the Washington Office of Latin America were wasting their time when they asked Clinton to pressure Pacific Rubiales to improve the treatment of their workers.
In April 2012, Hillary Clinton was in Colombia for the Sixth Summit of the Americas. At the time, she met with Colombia’s Minister of Mining who was supposed to regulating Pacific Rubiales. She should not have taken that meeting because of Clinton Foundation’s ties to Pacific Rubiales.
Nigeria: Frank Giustra wasn’t the only embarrassing billionaire donor to the Clinton Foundation. Gilbert Chagoury helped Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha steal $4 billion out of his country. After Abacha died in 1998, Chagoury returned $66 million to avoid prosecution.
Chagoury visited the White House in December 1996 at a dinner for top DNC donors. Since he wasn’t a U.S. citizen, he couldn’t give money to the DNC. Chagoury was invited because he gave $460,000 to a pro-Clinton voter registration group called Vote Now 96. At the time, relations between Nigeria and the United States were officially strained because Abacha hanged nine of his political opponents in 1995.
It was only after Hillary became Secretary of State that Bill Clinton gave two speeches in Nigeria in 2011 and 2012. Both times, he was paid $700,000. What did Nigeria get in return?
It was only after Hillary Clinton left the State Department in 2013 that Boko Haram was listed as a terrorist organization. In 2012, the State Department was resisting pressure from Congress and outside groups to list Boko Haram as a terrorist organization.
In 2014, Robert Jackson, the State Department’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, testified before Congress that, “The government of Nigeria feared that designating these individuals and the organizations would bring them more attention, more publicity and be counterproductive.”
Rwanda: In 2011, the Clinton Foundation lobbied the State Department to transfer funding away from AIDS programs to a training program for health professionals in Rwanda. This idea was approved over the explicit objections of some State Department officials.
Although Secretary Clinton officially recused herself, she had her Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills decide the issue. The problem is that before Mills got her job in the State Department, she was a board member at the Clinton Foundation.
She actually remained on the Clinton Foundation board briefly as an unpaid member for a few months while working for State Department. For her first four months at the State Department, Cheryl Mills also worked for NYU and got paid $198,000 in 2009. She also received another $330,000 package in severance and vacation payments.
Cheryl Mills isn’t the only top Clinton advisor to work for both the State Department and the Clinton Foundation simultaneously. Huma Abedin, Hillary’s Deputy Chief of Staff, also worked for the Clinton Foundation in her last six months at the State Department. She was working as a “special government employee” program while simultaneously working for the Clinton Foundation as well as the consulting firm Teneo.
India: In 2006, then-Senator Hillary Clinton voted for three amendments designed to put limits on the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement. One of those amendments called for India to end its military cooperation with Iran so that any nuclear energy deal could not help the Iranian mullahs develop its nuclear program further. The amendments failed to pass in 2006. In 2008, this deal passed, and Senator Clinton supported it, without the amendments.
In October 2008, Senator Clinton voted for the deal. It passed the U.S. Senate 86-13.
In September 2008, Hillary Clinton met with Amar Singh to discuss the legislation. In 2008, the Clinton Foundation also received a donation between $1 million and $5 million from Singh. At the time, Singh was a member of the Indian parliament. Singh first met with President Clinton in 2005 through his friend Indian-American businessman Sant Chatwal. Chatwal also gave millions to the Clinton Foundation as well. He also contributed to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Haiti: There are too many stories to tell about the corruption at the Clinton Foundation for just one article. The most unbelievable story was how the Clinton Foundation helped its donors profit from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed approximately 200,000 Haitians.
After the earthquake, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID set up the Haiti Mobile Phone Initiative. In January 2011, Digicel received the first award of $2.5 million so that Haitians could receive money over a mobile phone network. The Digicel Group is owned by Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien. By 2012, only two years after the earthquake, Digicel’s operation in Haiti made a profit of $86 million from $439 million in revenues in 2012.
It was no surprise to find out that O’Brien was a Clinton Foundation donor. O’Brien gave between $5 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In October 2010, two months before Digicel was awarded the money for helping Haiti, the company sponsored an event in Jamaica where Bill Clinton got paid $225,000 to give a speech.
Another person who profited from Haiti’s earthquake was Hillary Clinton’s younger brother Tony Rodham. In October 2013, he joined the board of VCS Mining.
In December 2012, VCS Mining was one of two companies to win a contract to mine for gold in Haiti. Haiti had not issued permits to mine gold in almost 50 years prior to this deal. How did VCS do it?
In 2012, VCS chief executive Angelo Viard met Tony Rodham at a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) event. If Viard didn’t hire Rodham because of his family ties, then why did he also pay $20,000 membership fee to the Clinton Foundation.
It is worth noting that mining for gold can be extremely hazardous to the environment of Haiti. To separate the gold from the rock, some mining companies use cyanide. If another earthquake hits Haiti, there is a chance that the cyanide could escape into the soil and/or the water supply. Many Haitians could die to service the greed of Clinton Foundation donors and recipients.
It is obvious that the 2008 agreement did not work. If Hillary is elected, the only way to avoid a conflict of interest is to shut down the Clinton Foundation indefinitely. Democrats and Republicans must work together to make sure that candidates in the future will not follow the Clinton example. The only way to do that is to shut down the Clinton Foundation.