Benghazi, Charitable Best Practices, Classified Information, Clinton Cash, Clinton Foundation, Douglas Becker, Dr. Ben Carson, Foreign Contributions, Graft, Haitian Aid, Hillary and Lucifer, Hillary Clinton, Influence Buying, James Comey, Jonathan Turley, Laureate International Universities, Marsha Blackburn, Prince of Darkness, Russian Uranium Deal, Trump University, Tyler Cowan, Uranium One, Walden University Online
Hillary and Bill Clinton provide a fascinating case study in the art of graft, and the Clinton Foundation provides them with brilliant cover. The foundation masquerades as a legitimate charity, avoids taxes, and provides a vehicle for what’s known as “pay-to-play” influence-buying. It appears that Bill Clinton made a lucrative career of this while his wife was serving in public office. It was a sensitive issue when Hillary was Secretary of State, given the potential for compromising national objectives. It is still sensitive in view of the many gifts to the Clinton Foundation provided by foreign entities, not to mention the handsome speaking fees paid by foreign entities directly to the Clintons.
Here, I discuss some of the suspicious activities of the Clinton Foundation. This post is the last in a three-part series on Hillary’s most recent scandals. The first in the series covered Hillary’s Benghazi disaster; the second post dealt with her negligent email practices and handling of classified information, as well as her prevarication in responding to investigative efforts.
Last year, the New York Times published a report on the Clinton Foundation’s (CF) connections to a series of deals that ultimately gave a Russian company control of a large share of worldwide uranium supplies:
“At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One. … the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. … Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.“
The amounts involved are far greater than the figures in the quote suggest. One individual with intimate connections to the deals gave in excess of $31 million to the CF. The Times report gives details on the shifty ways in which some donor money found its way into CF coffers, often not attributed to the donors themselves in official records. These practices look an awful lot like a sophisticated way of laundering money for influence buying:
“A person with knowledge of the Clinton Foundation’s fund-raising operation, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about it, said that for many people, the hope is that money will in fact buy influence: ‘Why do you think they are doing it — because they love them?’“
There are many other suspicious links between the CF and rent-seeking individuals and institutions. Jonathan Turley has detailed the unsavory nature of the Clinton’s connection to Laureate International Universities, an online college that encompasses Walden University Online, known in some circles as an operator of scams far-exceeding the allegations against Trump University. The chairman of Laureate, Douglas Becker, has been a major donor to the Clintons and their foundation. As it happens, Laureate received $55 million in funds from State Department Grants. Bill Clinton was paid $16 million to serve as Laureate’s “Honorary Chancellor”. Here is one interesting comment from Turley:
“Laureate has come up in the Clinton email scandal. In her first year as Secretary of State, Clinton is quoted as directly asking that Laureate be included in a high-profile policy dinner — just months before the lucrative contract was given to Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton later references ‘Laureate Universities, started by Doug Becker who Bill likes a lot.’“
There might not be anything to top the cronyism inherent in the activities of the CF in pretending to rebuild Haiti after a massive earthquake struck the island in 2010. The article at the last link offers descriptions of a number of projects, ostensibly funded for the benefit of Haiti, that involve double-dealing by the Clintons and CF:
“The Haitian protesters noticed an interesting pattern involving the Clintons and the designation of how aid funds were used. They observed that a number of companies that received contracts in Haiti happened to be entities that made large donations to the Clinton Foundation. The Haitian contracts appeared less tailored to the needs of Haiti than to the needs of the companies that were performing the services. In sum, Haitian deals appeared to be a quid pro quo for filling the coffers of the Clintons.“
Foreign governments gave to the CF while Hillary Clinton was serving as Secretary of State and have continued to do so even after her presidential candidacy was made clear. This was reported more recently, and includes gifts from “friends” of foreign governments and other foreign interests including Mexico, Turkey, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and of course Russia. Many contributions are “bundled” by third-party entities, an apparent but ineffective effort to obscure the true sources of gifts:
“A number of Hillary Clinton’s top lobbyist bundlers, who have raised millions for her presidential campaign, either directly represent foreign entities or work at firms that represent foreign entities, according to documents from the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Unit.“
Here is a New York Times review of “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich”, by Peter Schweitzer. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R – TN) is urging the FBI, the IRS and the FTC to investigate the activities of the Clinton Foundation.
The CF is guilty of ignoring widely accepted charitable best practices, according to this report. Its small board of directors is insular and lacking a sufficient degree of independence. Its record-keeping is suspicious, such as a $12.6 million expense for Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday expensed as “fund raising costs”. Inappropriate gifts to the Clintons from directors have raised eyebrows, and apparent “payoffs” for retiring directors, in the form of appointments to powerful positions, have made the CF into a veritable revolving door for Clinton insiders.
I include this last bit because it amuses me: according to Dr. Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton is Lucifer in the flesh. The explanation is that Hillary liked Saul Alinsky in college (and maybe still does), and Alinsky acknowledged Lucifer as the “first radical”. That probably leaves a few degrees of separation between the two. Economist Tyler Cowan does not agree with Carson, but he toys with the notion in a short analysis on Marginal Revolution. Here are a few of his bullets on the topic:
“This topic seems to have entered the news cycle. I am not sure how, so I thought I would add a few observations in the interests of clarity:
1. Under the most plausible ‘yes’ scenario, Lucifer inhabits the corpus of us all, not just the Clinton family, grandchildren included.
2. The correct answer is still ‘probably not.’
3. Is there a greater chance that Hillary Clinton is in fact Lucifer himself, rather than merely being possessed by him? (Would that not also be a new kind of transgender relation?) No, more likely she would have a Satanic familiar. In most equilibria, the number of familiars is greater than the number of Satans. Far greater.“
A better argument for Hillary’s connection to the Prince of Darkness would rely on the self-serving nature of the “charitable” Clinton Foundation while disguised as a charity. It is both a repository for future policy influence and a pool for enrichment of the Clintons themselves and their cronies. The CF represents a grotesque distortion of the charitable motive. Let’s hope James Comey, Director of the FBI, can direct a competent investigation into the CF’s activities. More importantly, let’s hope that come November, the better judgement of American voters will deny Hillary the presidency.
Postscript: The FBI’s original investigation of Hillary’s emails, presided over by former Director James Comey, was an apparent effort to exonerate her. An investigation of the CF is underway, and the investigation of Hillary’s email shenanigans has been renewed.