Is Hillary Clinton Corrupt? An Archive of Financial Improprieties
There has been considerable commentary about media bias in this election, especially from folks on the right. I have had many rounds on Twitter with reporters (who cover politics and other areas) about the lack of scrutiny Clinton receives versus Trump. Granted, Trump invites media attention with his daily parade of own-goals. Coverage of Clinton, however, has become almost laughably promotional. Clinton’s stress-relieving meditation rituals. Men wish she’d smile more. People don’t like her because she works too hard. No, really, these are legitimate headlines now.
It wasn’t always this way. In fact, the Clintons’ disregard for the appearance of impropriety used to be a media staple. And the Clintons would reply the same way they do now — by calling every critic a conspiracy theorist. And there are plenty of genuine conspiracy theories about them — see Clinton Body Count, for example. I’m not interested in cataloging conspiracy theories. Since the media has effectively gone silent on Clinton’s business dealings, however, I think it would be useful to remind the public where this family’s bread is buttered.
For almost every promise Clinton has made during her presidential campaign, she has directly pocketed millions of dollars from individuals and businesses with a financial interest in frustrating reform.
Perhaps this is true of everyone in Washington DC, but with Clinton the cumulative effect is stunning.To avoid any suggestion that I am selling conspiracy theories, I am going to quote heavily from news, government, and public policy sources. I have already written extensively about the email controversy, so I am going to leave that off the list.
Folks may be familiar with some or all of these examples, but again the point is to survey the cumulative effect. To paraphrase a recent New Yorker article, there’s a lot of quid and a lot of quo. How much of this do we have to see before we stop believing that’s a coincidence?
Shady Dealings with Government Contractors at the State Department
$6 billion went missing at the State Department during Clinton’s tenure, according to a report from the Inspector General
The State Department has no idea what happened to $6 billion used to pay its contractors.
In a special “management alert” made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned “significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.
The lack of oversight “exposes the department to significant financial risk,” the auditor said. “It creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file. It impairs the ability of the Department to take effective and timely action to protect its interests, and, in tum, those of taxpayers.”
In the memo, the IG detailed “repeated examples of poor contract file administration.” For instance, a recent investigation of the closeout process for contracts supporting the mission in Iraq, showed that auditors couldn’t find 33 of the 115 contract files totaling about $2.1 billion. Of the remaining 82 files, auditors said 48 contained insufficient documents required by federal law.
In another instance, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement issued a $1 billion contract in Afghanistan that was deemed “incomplete.”
How can you simply lose track of $6 billion of payments to government contractors? The IG’s report has been scrubbed from the State Department’s website, but thanks to the magic of the Internet is still available for you to read here.
Clinton accepted millions of dollars from foreign governments while at the State Department in violation of ethics agreement with White House
The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday.
Most of the contributions were possible because of exceptions written into the foundation’s 2008 agreement, which included limits on foreign-government donations.
The agreement, reached before Clinton’s nomination amid concerns that countries could use foundation donations to gain favor with a Clinton-led State Department, allowed governments that had previously donated money to continue making contributions at similar levels …
Some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government, including Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.
Other nations that donated included Australia, Norway and the Dominican Republic.
The donation from Qatar came while the country was vying for the World Cup, and was accompanied with a donation from FIFA (which everyone knows has a reputation for being totally above-board). Again, the Washington Post:
Former President Bill Clinton served as the honorary chairman of the U.S. committee that worked unsuccessfully to win the right to host the 2022 World Cup. The surprise winner that year was Qatar — and it turns out that the Qatari committee now planning the massive event has been a major donor to Clinton’s charitable foundation.
The soccer-related donations to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation came into focus Wednesday as U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch alleged deep rooted corruption at FIFA, the world’s soccer governing organization. Also Wednesday, the Swiss announced a criminal investigation into Qatar’s 2022 bid. The Clinton Foundation has no involvement with the investigations.
The foundation’s donor records, posted on its Web site, show that FIFA, or the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, has donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton foundation. The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, which was formed in 2011 to build stadiums and other infrastructure after Qatar was named the 2022 host, has given between $250,000 and $500,000 to the foundation.
Firms that paid millions in speaking fees to Clinton were also lobbying for government contracts while she was at the State Department
Trump and Sanders both criticized Clinton for the millions of dollars she made in speaking fees before financial services firms (and for her refusal to provide transcripts of those speeches). In reality, a wide variety of lobbying firms and government contractors were privately paying the Clintons.
It’s not just Wall Street banks. Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors, an Associated Press review has found. Their interests are sprawling and would follow Clinton to the White House should she win election this fall.
The AP’s review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton’s speeches have actively sought to sway the government — lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as secretary of state.
Presidents are not generally bound by many of the ethics and conflict-of-interest regulations that apply to non-elected executive branch officials, although they are subject to laws covering related conduct, such as bribery and illegal gratuities. Clinton’s 94 paid appearances over two years on the speech circuit leave her open to scrutiny over decisions she would make in the White House or influence that may affect the interests of her speech sponsors …
The AP review identified at least 60 firms and organizations that sponsored Clinton’s speeches and lobbied the U.S. government at some point since the start of the Obama administration. Over the same period, at least 30 also profited from government contracts. Twenty-two groups lobbied the State Department during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. They include familiar Wall Street financial houses such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., corporate giants like General Electric Co. and Verizon Communications Inc., and lesser-known entities such as the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Global Business Travel Association …
Despite months of controversy over her speeches to Wall Street patrons, Clinton’s biggest rewards came from Washington’s trade associations, the lobbying groups that push aggressively for industry interests.Trade groups paid Clinton more than $7.1 million, the review showed.
The National Association of Realtors spent $38.5 million on government contacts in 2013, the same year it paid Clinton $225,000 to appear at the group’s gathering in San Francisco. A group spokesman said Clinton was among former U.S. officials invited to share their experiences but said she was not paid as part of its lobbying activities.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization, which represents biotech and pharmaceutical firms, spent between $7 million and $8.5 million annually on lobbying since 2008, including contacts with the State Department — during Clinton’s tenure — on the agency’s biotech discussions with foreign governments. The trade group, which hosted Clinton for $335,000 at its event in San Diego in June 2014, has won more than $425,000 in federal payments since 2008 in work for the National Science Foundation and other agencies. The group did not respond to phone calls or emails for comment from AP.
The financial services and investment industry accounted for about $4.1 million of Clinton’s earnings.Its ranks included not only Wall Street powerhouses like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Corp., but also private equity and hedge funds like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP and Apollo Global Management LLC and foreign-owned banks such as Deutsche Bank AG and the Canada Imperial Bank of Commerce. Goldman Sachs, which gave Clinton $675,000 for three speeches in 2013, and Morgan Stanley, which paid her $225,000 for one speech the same year, both spent millions lobbying the U.S. during Clinton’s term at the State Department.
Nearly three dozen of Clinton’s benefactors spent more than $1 million annually on contacts with officials and Congress during the same year they paid her to appear at their corporate or association events, according to federal lobbying records. Many earned millions more in government contracts — indications of the regulatory and policy stances the groups might advocate during a Clinton presidency.
General Electric, which paid her $225,000 for a speech in Boca Raton, Florida, in January 2014, has the most extensive government portfolio. GE has spent between $15.1 million and $39.2 million annually on lobbying. The company has won nearly $50 million in government work since 2008, including $1.7 million from the State Department for lab equipment and data processing during Clinton’s tenure. The firm also lobbied the State Department all four years under Clinton on issues including trade and Iran sanctions.
As secretary of state, Clinton visited a GE aviation facility in Singapore and touted the State Department’s role aiding GE industrial and military deals abroad. Clinton met with GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt once about the agency’s efforts to salvage a planned business exposition in Shanghai and also talked with him by phone …
Foreign countries and defense contractors that have donated to Clinton or her foundation received significant weapons deals during her tenure at the State Department
Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.
The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.
American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.
The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also accused some of these countries of failing to marshal a serious and sustained campaign to confront terrorism. In a December 2009 State Department cable published by Wikileaks, Clinton complained of “an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.” She declared that “Qatar’s overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region.” She said the Kuwaiti government was “less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks.” She noted that “UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of terrorist groups.” All of these countries donated to the Clinton Foundation and received increased weapons export authorizations from the Clinton-run State Department.
Clinton says one thing in public, but rewards donors in private.
Clinton put a wholly unqualified donor and superdelegate on a nuclear policy board with access to top secret information because he thought it would be cool. Her staff at the State Department even mocked his lack of qualifications in email.
Newly released State Department emails help reveal how a major Clinton Foundation donor was placed on a sensitive government intelligence advisory board even though he had no obvious experience in the field, a decision that appeared to baffle the department’s professional staff.
The emails further reveal how, after inquiries from ABC News, the Clinton staff sought to “protect the name” of the Secretary, “stall” the ABC News reporter and ultimately accept the resignation of the donor just two days later.
Copies of dozens of internal emails were provided to ABC News by the conservative political group Citizens United, which obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act after more the two years of litigation with the government.
A prolific fundraiser for Democratic candidates and contributor to the Clinton Foundation, who later traveled with Bill Clinton on a trip to Africa, Rajiv K. Fernando’s only known qualification for a seat on the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) was his technological know-how. The Chicago securities trader, who specialized in electronic investing, sat alongside an august collection of nuclear scientists, former cabinet secretaries and members of Congress to advise Hillary Clinton on the use of tactical nuclear weapons and on other crucial arms control issues …
Fernando’s lack of any known background in nuclear security caught the attention of several board members, and when ABC News first contacted the State Department in August 2011 seeking a copy of his resume, the emails show that confusion ensued among the career government officials who work with the advisory panel.
“I have spoken to [State Department official and ISAB Executive Director Richard Hartman] privately, and it appears there is much more to this story that we’re unaware of,” wrote Jamie Mannina, the press aide who fielded the ABC News request. “We must protect the Secretary’s and Under Secretary’s name, as well as the integrity of the Board. I think it’s important to get down to the bottom of this before there’s any response.”
A top aide to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to mock the appointment of a major Democratic donor with little experience to a sensitive government intelligence board allowing him the highest levels of top secret access …
“Couldn’t he have landed a spot on the President’s Physical Fitness Council?” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines wrote in a State Department email in 2012 to two other Clinton aides.
These are just the stories that have been revealed so far. The State Department has made what even federal judges suspect is a deliberate effort to conceal information related to her tenure there.
See for example:
According to the State Department, employees were corresponding with people at the Clinton Foundation on average 700 times per month. Why in the world would there be that much correspondence between a government agency and Clinton’s foundation after she signed an ethics agreement to keep the two separated? How many government agencies are engaged in similar activity?
Accepting $22 million in cash from for-profit education companies and charter school operators
In 2010, Bill Clinton made a deal that drew him closer to some of the most high-powered investors in the world, including the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Citigroup, hedge fund managers Steven Cohen and George Soros and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
Under the arrangement, the former US president would serve for five years as honorary chancellor of Laureate International Universities, a global network of for-profit institutions of higher education that had been taken private in 2007 in a $3.8bn leveraged buyout by its founder Douglas Becker and the KKR-led consortium.
Mr Clinton’s duties included providing advice on “issues like social responsibility, youth leadership and civic engagement” and visiting 19 campuses in 14 countries, Laureate’s website says. His pay exceeded $16.5m — or more on an annualised basis than the president of Harvard University …
In addition to the $16.5m that Mr Clinton received from Laureate between 2010 and 2014, he was paid $5.6m as honorary chairman of the Varkey Gems Foundation, the charitable arm of Gems Education, a Dubai-based company founded by Sunny Varkey, an Indian-born billionaire. Payments from Laureate and the Varkey foundation continued in 2015, according to another filing by Mrs Clinton, which says only that the amounts in each case exceeded $1,000. [KC here: Clinton has extracted at least $5.6 million from a “charity.” Got it?]
Laureate, in turn, donated between $1m and $5m to the Clinton Global Initiative, says a representative of the education company. The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation also lists Gems Education as a donor in the same $1m-$5m range.
Mrs Clinton has made far less personally from the education sector than her husband. However, after stepping down as secretary of state in February 2013, she was paid a total of $451,000 in 2014 to speak to two for-profit education companies: Academic Partnerships of Dallas, Texas, and New York-based Knewton, founded by Jose Ferreira, a former strategist for John Kerry, Mrs Clinton’s successor at the state department. In 2013, Mrs Clinton received $225,000 to speak to KKR, the Laureate investor.
The irony is that the Clintons might have made more money in education than the ostensible industry entrepreneur in the presidential race. Eric Schneiderman, New York state’s attorney-general, says the available evidence suggests Mr Trump received $5m in profits from his real estate university while it operated from 2005 to 2010.
Trump accused Clinton of awarding Laureate University $55 million in grants during her tenure at the State Department — a claim that the Washington Post fact-checker awarded four Pinocchios. However, WaPo seems to have missed that the grants were not made directly to the university, but to other organizations associated with the chairman.
Similarly, there are questionable articles floating around the Internet associating Dubai-based GEMS Education with the promotion of sharia law, which I have not been able to verify and suspect is unlikely. The charter school system seems to rake in a lot of money — revenues were up 20% last year to $674 million across 50 or so schools — and tuition at its Chicago location will set parents back around $35,000. As with Laureate, the GEMS Education relationship brings with it the Blackstone Group and some sovereign wealth funds, who handled a large sharia-compliant loan for the organization last year.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the revelation that the Clintons are promoting hedge-fund backed charter schools would infuriate teachers’ unions, which have aggressively sought to pressure their pension funds to divest from exactly these relationships.
Clinton loves the Kremlin too
The Times has reported that people involved in a series of Canadian uranium-mining deals channeled money to the Clinton Foundation while the firm at the deal’s center had business before the State Department. And, in one case, a Russian investment bank connected to the deals paid money to Bill Clinton personally, through a half-million-dollar speaker’s fee. There were a number of transactions involved, and corporate name changes, but, basically, a Canadian company known as Uranium One initially wanted American diplomats to defend its Kazakh uranium interests when a Russian firm, Rosatom, seemed about to make a move on them; and then, after the company decided to simply let Rosatom acquire it (through Rosatom’s alarmingly named subsidiary,armz), Uranium One needed State Department approval. (The approval was necessary because Uranium One controlled American uranium mines and exploration fields, a strategic asset.)
The Times sums it up this way:
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 … Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
The Times says that the donations were not properly disclosed — the paper confirmed them by looking at Canadian tax records. Complicating matters, Uranium One’s corporate forebear had acquired the Kazakh interests after its major shareholder, Frank Giustra, travelled with Bill Clinton to Kazakhstan in 2005 and met with the country’s leader. Giustra sold his interest in the company in 2007, according to the Times, and so was not involved in the armz dealings. But Giustra has put tens of millions of dollars into the foundation’s work; the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which bears his name, is a formal component of the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. And Ian Telfer, the Uranium One chairman, whose family foundation donated the $2.35 million dollars, said that it had done so because he wanted to support that coöperation: “Frank and I have been friends and business partners for almost 20 years.” He told the Wall Street Journalthat he’d pledged the money in 2008, before the sale was on the table. Telfer also said that he’d never talked about uranium with Hillary Clinton. After the story came out, Giustra issued an angry statement, calling it baseless speculation and “an attempt to tear down Secretary Clinton and her presidential campaign.” He added a note of Canadian admonishment: “You are a great country. Don’t ruin it by letting those with political agendas take over your newspapers and your airwaves.”
Brian Fallon, a Clinton campaign spokesman, told the Times, “To suggest the State Department, under then-Secretary Clinton, exerted undue influence in the U.S. government’s review of the sale of Uranium One is utterly baseless.” There have been reports that other companies — Boeing, for example — gave money to the foundation while Clinton was Secretary of State and they had business before the department. The Uranium One story is more troubling, and potentially damaging, because of the personal ties, the foreign interests, the opacity, and the denouement, which involves Putin allies publicly gloating over Russia’s increased dominance of the world’s uranium supplies.
John Podesta, who served as chief of staff under President Bill Clinton and now is chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, founded a lobbying firm with his brother called The Podesta Group in 1998. This firm represents both Kremlin banks and the government of Saudi Arabia. So, yeah, a Kremlin bank lobbyist is running Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Of course, these Kremlin ties to Clinton’s campaign and the Clinton Foundation were not mentioned when the Democratic National Committee publicly blamed Vladimir Putin for the release of thousands of emails weeks ago.
Decades-long financial relationships with oil and natural gas interests, executives, and actively promoting fracking while at the State Department
This topic is almost a post in and of itself. As much as Clinton preaches about environmental concerns, her most durable relationships have been with executives and traders in the oil and natural gas industry. She was also a vocal advocate for fracking at the State Department and has raised millions for her presidential campaign from companies and lobbyists associated with fracking.
This is probably the best example of Clinton using her office to promote donors’ interests while offering diametrically opposite stances in public.
A fantastic article on Clinton advocating for fracking interests is How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World.
She laughed at an angry protester who asked her to swear off fracking, telling him that she had “debunked” claims that she had connections to the industry. She says this at campaign stops, but has fracking executives holding fundraisers for hereven recently.
It is up-to-date only until April, but Greenpeace has been tracking the money Clinton has raised from the oil and gas industry and provides other examples of her seeming to do favors for these donors while in office:
Three Enbridge lobbyists contributed to Clinton’s campaign. While she was Secretary of State, Clinton signed off on the Enbridge pipeline (the alternative to the Keystone XL pipeline).
Ben Klein (Heather Podesta and Associates) lobbied on behalf of Oxbow Carbon on petcoke and other issues. Petcoke is a byproduct of refining. Communities in Detroit and Chicago have complained about piles of petcoke blowing into the community. Bill Koch (the estranged brother of Charles and David) owns controlling interest of Oxbow. Klein also lobbied on restrictions of ivory imports for Oxbow.
Fracking company and gas industry trade association lobbyists have also contributed to Clinton’s campaign, including Former Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX), who lobbied for the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, and Martin Durbin of the American Natural Gas Association (now merged and part of the American Petroleum Institute — API), the nephew of Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Another donor is Elizabeth Gore, a lobbyist for WPX energy (fracking). A lobbyist for FTI Consulting, creator of an industry front group called Energy In Depth, also contributed to Clinton’s campaign. Although Clinton has said she would require FERC to consider climate change before granting any new gas pipeline permits, she recently told activists she would not ban fracking as president, and has a pro-fracking track record which has been well-documented by numerous groups, including pro-Clinton Super PAC Correct the Record.
Mary Streett, a lobbyist for BP, gave Clinton’s campaign the maximum allowable amount ($2700). Her sister, Stephanie S. Streett, is the Executive Director of the William J. Clinton Foundation and former executive director of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation (Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, 990 report 2013). The Podesta Group (Tony Podesta) also lobbied for BP, on issues including the Gulf of Mexico spill response and recovery.
While Secretary of State, Clinton pushed fracking in countries around the world, through the department’s Global Shale Gas Initiative. According to Grist, after the Bulgarian government signed a five-year deal with Chevron, major public protests led the Bulgarian parliament to pass a fracking moratorium. Clinton traveled to Bulgaria and then dispatched her special envoy for energy in Eurasia, Richard Morningstar, to push back against the fracking bans, which were eventually overturned.
Clinton’s State Department played a major role in negotiating a bilateral oil agreement with Mexico. Her former special envoy for international energy affairs, David Goldwyn, has donated the maximum allowable amount to the campaign ($2700). Although neither he nor his firm (Goldwyn International Strategies LLC) report lobbying during 2015–2016, since leaving the State Department Goldwyn has consulted for companies wishing to profit from Mexico’s decision to allow private oil services contractors into the country in order to expand PEMEX’s ability to produce shale oil and tap deep offshore reserves.
David Leiter (ML Strategies lobbyist for Exxon and a Clinton bundler), the former Senate chief of staff to John Kerry, is also a lobbyist for Burisma Holdings, a private Ukrainian natural gas and uranium mining company withmany connections to the Democratic Party. Biden’s son Hunter joined Burisma’s board in 2014, right before Leiter was hired to lobby members about the role of the company in Ukraine (arguing for its role in helping Ukraine be independent of Russia). Another board member, Devon Archer, is a Clinton donor (2700). FTI’s Lawrence Pacheco does communications for Burisma. Burisma is owned by a Cypriot holding firm, Brociti Investments Ltd, which is controlled by Nikolai Zlochevskyi, a former Ukrainian government minister.
Although Clinton has said she supports an investigation into Exxon’s early concealment of what it knew about the risks of climate change and subsequent financing of climate denier front groups, her campaign has taken contributions from at least seven lobbyists working for Exxon, including one in-house lobbyist — Theresa Fariello — who has bundled and additional $21,200 for the campaign.
Hess lobbyists from Forbes-Tate (Daniel Tate, Jeffrey Forbes, George Cooper and Rachel Miller) all gave maximum allowable contributions to Clinton’s campaign. The firm lobbied on behalf of the Hess Corporation, on crude by rail and crude exports. Hess owns rail cars that came off the tracks and caught fire after a BNSF train derailed in North Dakota in early May 2015. Hess is the third-largest oil producer in North Dakota. Lynn Helms, a former Hess executive served as ND’s top oil and gas regulator at the Department of Mineral Resources between 2005 and 2013. When Clinton came out in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, she started talking about how fixing train tracks would create jobs. In December 2015, a couple of months after Clinton announced she opposed Keystone XL, and just over a month after Obama rejected the pipeline down, Warren Buffett — who owns BNSF — endorsed Clinton. Buffett is also a big oil investor (e.g. Phillips 66).
Companies invested in LNG projects with lobbyists that have given to Clinton’s campaign include Freeport LNG(Elizabeth Gore — Brownstein Hyatt, $500); LNG Allies (Michael Smith — Cornerstone Gov. Affairs — 2700 and a bundler of $59,400); Dominion Resources (Tom Lawler — Lawler Strategies, 2700); Oregon LNG(Robert van Heuvelen VH Strategies — 2700). Exxon also has LNG projects. Cheniere Energy’s Ankit Desai not only gave the maximum allowed, but also bundled $140,400 for the campaign. Another donor ($2700) to Clinton’s campaign is Heather Zichal, Obama’s former energy advisor, who joined the board of Cheniere (LNG export company) afterleaving the administration.
Former Rep. Richard (“Dick”) Gephardt’s firm lobbies for Peabody Energy (coal), Prairie State (coal-fired power plant and adjacent mine), Ameren Services Co. Gephardt and his wife, son and daughter Chrissy all contributed the maximum allowed to Clinton’s campaign (Dick is the only fossil fuel lobbyist in the family). Gephardt, a Democratic Party super delegate, has pledged to support Clinton. In February, the DNC rolled back its previous commitment to not take any contributions from federally registered lobbyists. Clinton’s campaign has also received contributions from lobbyists representing big mining companies — Westmoreland Coal, Arch Coal and Rio Tinto.
Although few people outside the mining industry had heard of Giustra until recently, he’s emblematic of the class of plutocrats with whom Clinton has surrounded himself since leaving office. He also represents a new kind of political problem sure to dog Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. As the author Peter Schweizer documents in his bookClinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, Giustra’s globe-trotting adventures with Bill Clinton have coincided with lucrative business deals.
In Colombia, where his investments include oil, timber, and coal mines, Giustra dined one evening in 2010 with Bill and Hillary Clinton, who both met with Colombia’s president the next day. Soon after, one company in which Giustra holds a stake “acquired the right to cut timber in a biologically diverse forest on the pristine Colombian shoreline,” Schweizer writes, and another was granted valuable oil drilling rights.
A similar situation had unfolded in Kazakhstan in 2005. Giustra and Clinton jetted in to dine with the country’s authoritarian president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Days later, Giustra’s mining company signed an agreement giving it stakes in three state-run uranium mines in addition to those it controlled in the U.S. After a $3.5 billion merger, the company was eventually acquired by the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom. Because uranium is a strategic asset, the sale required (and received) approval from multiple U.S. agencies, including the Department of State, then run by Hillary Clinton …
The potential conflicts of interest are nearly limitless — and so is the potential for political damage. According to a study by Vox, a news and policy analysis website, 181 contributors to the Clinton Foundation also lobbied the State Department while Hillary Clinton ran it.
Clinton’s Pardon of Marc Rich Continues to Pay Off Big (Good explanation of Rich’s support for the Clintons throughout their political careers and the oil and natural gas connections he brought to them and their fundraising efforts. Of particular interest is Nigerian businessman Gilbert Chagoury.)
Clinton Connections in the Panama Papers
Hillary Clinton recently blasted the hidden financial dealings exposed in the Panama Papers, but she and her husband have multiple connections with people who have used the besieged law firm Mossack Fonseca to establish offshore entities.
Among them are Gabrielle Fialkoff, finance director for Hillary Clinton’s first campaign for the U.S. Senate; Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate who has traveled the globe with Bill Clinton; a member of the Chagoury family, which pledged $1 billion in projects to the Clinton Global Initiative; and Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng, who was at the center of a Democratic fund-raising scandal when Bill Clinton was president. Also using the Panamanian law firm was the company founded by the late billionaire investor Marc Rich, an international fugitive when Bill Clinton pardoned him in the final hours of his presidency …
The article lists many Clinton insiders and their dealings, which are far too long to summarize here.
Clinton’s brother was slammed by Homeland Security watchdog for favoritism in the EB-5 program while she was Secretary of State
A Department of Homeland Security watchdog report issued Tuesday blasted the agency’s No. 2 official for repeatedly intervening on behalf of well-connected participants in an investor-visa program, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) and Tony Rodham, a brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The inspector general report faults Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for creating “an appearance of favoritism and special access” as a result of highly unusual steps he took while serving as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversaw the investment-based program known as EB-5.
“Mayorkas communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues, outside of the normal adjudicatory process and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders,” Inspector General John Roth wrote. “In … three instances, but for Mr. Mayorkas’s intervention, the matter would have been decided differently.” …
“Mayorkas intervened in an administrative appeal related to the denial of a regional center’s application to receive EB-5 funding to manufacture electric cars through investments in a company in which Terry McAuliffe was the board chairman,” the IG report said. “The intervention was unprecedented and, because of the political prominence of the individuals involved, was well as USCIS’s traditional deference to its administrative appeals process, staff perceived it as politically motivated.”
The report also draws attention to the role played by Rodham, who ran an EB-5 visa investment known as Gulf Coast Funds Management, which directed funds to GreenTech. Rodham’s sister was secretary of state during much of the time that Gulf Coast and GreenTech were pressing USCIS for approvals to accept investments that could lead to green cards for foreigners willing to front up more than $550,000 in principal and fees.
Virginia’s party boy-turned-governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend and confidant of the Clintons, is beinginvestigated by the FBI and Department of Justice for potentially taking illegal campaign contributions.
The governor’s office told CNN, which broke the story, that it was not aware the investigation was under way and that it would cooperate if asked. Details are vague, but the investigation involves Chinese billionaire businessman Wang Wenliang, who now has the rare distinction of causing problems for both McAuliffe and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. It’s complicated — and it highlights just how much Clinton and McAuliffe’s questionable shared connections haunt their political dreams.
The investigation also involves the Clinton Foundation, according to CNN. CBS reported last year that Wang’s company, Rilin Enterprises, pledged in 2013 to give the organization $2 million. CNN noted that there is “no allegation” of impropriety on the foundation’s part and that McAuliffe formerly served on its board. Last year, the foundation’s decision to accept Wang’s company’s pledge drew pointed criticism because of Wang’s ties to the Chinese government — the billionaire used to be a delegate to the country’s parliament.
“Indirectly the Clinton Foundation has political influence, that’s why people give to it,” Jim Mann, former Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, told CBS. “People give to the Clinton Foundation particularly because it is the Clintons and because they are prominent politicians in the United States.”
It’s really not all that difficult to see why Clinton hasn’t given a press confernce in 244 days and avoids the media at her campaign events, is it? Asking her to explain every ethically questionable deal she has been involved in would probably take longer than the State Department requires to vet her emails.