New investigations surface on the Clinton Foundation
The Clinton Foundation finances are so messy that the nation’s most influential charity watchdog put it on its “watch list” of problematic nonprofits. The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid. The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.
On its 2013 tax forms, the most recent available, the foundation claimed it spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on “conferences, conventions and meetings”; $8 million on fundraising; and nearly $8.5 million on travel. In all, the group reported $84.6 million in “functional expenses” on its 2013 tax return and had more than $64 million left over — money the organization has said represents pledges rather than actual cash on hand. Hillary Clinton has forcefully denied reports that the FBI is expanding its investigation of her private email network to include allegations of “public corruption” involving this Corrupt Foundation.
But thousands of emails made public by the State Department since May of last year indicate donors to the Clinton Foundation were often given personal meetings, generous contracts or special consideration that was seemingly not afforded to the same number of private groups that had not written checks to the charity. The allegations that sparked the reported probe, which the FBI has yet to confirm or deny, focus simply on whether the State Department extended preferential treatment to Clinton Foundation contributors.
Below are nine examples of the type of State Department access Clinton granted to her foundation’s top donors, as told by the private emails that have been made public so far by the agency.
Clinton seemingly helped a major corporate donor secure a visa from the State Department during her first year in office. She asked one of her aides in September 2009 to check on the “status” of a visa for an executive at Blackstone Group.Clinton wrote to the aide that Steve Schwarzman, Blackstone’s CEO, had “wanted help on a visa” and that her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, had already been approached about securing it.The Blackstone Group donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Corrupt Foundation, donor records show. Crooked Foundation scandals grow.
In the same email from September 2009, Clinton asked her aide to help another corporate donor, Honeywell, with some export regulations that were hampering Honeywell’s bottom line.The former secretary of state said David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, had personally requested assistance, but the exact favor he asked of Clinton’s team was rejected by the State Department. “He also complained about export control regs that interfere with sales,” Clinton wrote of Cote. “He said the State Dept is the holdup.” Honeywell not only gave to the Clinton Foundation and officially lobbied the State Department, it contributed heavily to a political project dear to the secretary: the U.S. pavilion at the 2010 world’s fair in Shanghai. Corrupt Foundation scandals grow.
In an Oct. 22, 2010, email, Gregory Milne, a Clinton Foundation employee, asked Mills if she could meet with the CEO of Greif, Inc., a foundation donor, about their application for a U.S. Agency for International Development grant. USAID is housed within the State Department. Milne also asked if the Greif executives could meet with Clinton personally. The company, a packaging products firm, has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Corrupt Foundation and committed more than $3 million to projects through the Clinton Global Initiative.”I encouraged this,” wrote Clinton aide Caitlin Klevorick of the proposed meeting. Klevorick was among a handful of State Department officials who later received “special government employee” status, a controversial designation that allowed her to keep her government job while consulting for outside groups that included the Crooked Foundation.
Clinton has attacked pharmaceutical companies on the campaign trail, but she took the time to meet personally with the CEO of one while serving as secretary of state. Clinton invited Kenneth Frazier, president and CEO of Merck, to meet with her at the State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., in March 2012, according to a schedule released among her private emails. Merck has donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. In addition, Merck spent millions on lobbying during Clinton’s tenure, including efforts to lobby the State Department, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Four months after her meeting with Frazier, Clinton received a pair of press clippings highlighting the State Department’s new, multimillion dollar global health partnership with Merck.
Clinton welcomed a meeting with a top Cisco executive in April 2009, just as the corporate leader and friend were moving into a position that gave him purview of the company’s business in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Dave Stone, a former head of the Transportation Security Administration, emailed Clinton during the early months of her State Department tenure to inform her that he had accepted a senior position at Cisco and to ask for a meeting with Clinton. Stone touted “the use of the Network to improve the quality of life of Millions of people in areas such as Education, Health Care and Security,” something he would be pushing at Cisco. “Please contact Dave to set up a time for him to come in to see me,” Clinton wrote to an aide upon receiving Stone’s request. Cisco has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. The tech giant was nominated the same year as Clinton’s apparent meeting with Stone for a prestigious State Department award, the Secretary’s Award for Corporate Excellence, for its work in Lebanon, which fell under Stone’s purview. Cisco won the award in 2010.
Boeing’s relationship with the State Department became the subject of much scrutiny this May after multiple news outlets noted the connection between a lucrative Russian contract, facilitated by Clinton’s State Department, and a major donation to the Foundation. But emails released since then show Boeing, which has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, enjoyed other
perks while Clinton served as secretary of state. For example, Clinton’s closest aides approved security clearance for Stanley Roth, a high-ranking executive at Boeing, to join diplomats on a presidential delegation to Mongolia in June 2009. Clinton met personally with the CEO of Boeing at the State Department headquarters in February 2012, according to a schedule made public by the State Department among her private emails. An email sent to Clinton six months later indicated Boeing executives were invited to South Africa with the Export-Import Bank to ink taxpayer-backed deals in Africa.
An executive at Morgan Stanley enjoyed a warm welcome from Clinton in July 2009 when he reached out to schedule a meeting with her. Stephen Roach, chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, wrote to Clinton early that month and said he “would love the opportunity to meet with you briefly and give you an update on my thoughts/ insights into China and the rest of the region.”
“Delighted to hear from and about you,” Clinton replied. “I’m looking forward to seeing you when you’re in DC.” Clinton said Roach’s “timing” was “impeccable” given that she was slated to host an economic dialogue with the Chinese in late July. Because their meeting was apparently scheduled for two days after the Chinese event, Roach emailed Clinton a lengthy memo outlining his economic advice for dealing with the Chinese market. Morgan Stanley has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Crooked Foundation. What’s more, the Wall Street titan is among the top donors to Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
After an associate of Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, asked Clinton for a meeting about “jobs,” Clinton told her staff she “would like to do this” in a July 2011 email. Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, said she “wanted to discuss” the meeting with Clinton because it was actually an invitation to co-host a summit with the then-secretary of state. Clinton said she would be willing to go to General Electric’s offices to meet with Immelt, noting the company’s headquarters was “nearby” in New York. General Electric has donated between $500,000 and $1 million to the Corrupt Foundation. Immelt helped Clinton’s staff with “making calls” to solicit private funds for a State Department project in 2010. General Electric also gave heavily to that project, a U.S. pavilion at the world’s fair in Shanghai. General Electric was able to secure a number of lucrative partnerships with the State Department during Clinton’s tenure.
George Soros, whose own foundation has given between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation, told a mutual friend in May 2012 he was “impressed” by the level of access he was able to gain to Clinton while she served as secretary of state. Soros apparently said he enjoyed the fact that he could “always” get a meeting or get on the phone with Clinton when he wanted to discuss his ideas for policies. Clinton’s official schedule indicated she met with Soros at the State Department in March 2012.
Clinton Foundation scandals grow
In fact, the Clinton Foundation, Bill and Hillary’s elaborate slush fund, includes numerous donors and even one-time board members with dodgy backgrounds, shady dealings, and even criminal convictions that should repel rather than lure a once and perhaps future president of the United States.
For their part, Democrats should think long and hard about whether nominating the first woman for president is worth having these and other hoodlums dominate the headlines in a fall 2016 campaign that reeks of a RICO indictment .