If there was a contest for least surprising headline of 2021, first prize would go to DailyCaller.com for this winner from last week: “Ethics Experts Alarmed by 93% Decrease in Clinton Foundation Donations Since $250 Million Peak in 2009.”
If you’re just tuning in to this program, already in progress, the Clinton Foundation is the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that the former president set up in 2001 after he left office.
Clinton wrote in an online post at the time that the foundation was all about “creating opportunities and solving problems faster, better, at lower cost so that more people are empowered to build better futures for themselves, their families and their communities.”
In order to accomplish these goals, the Clinton Foundation accepted huge donations from foreign sources and, like other foundations, didn’t disclose its donors.
Hillary Clinton was sworn in as U.S. senator from New York about the same time the Clinton Foundation was set up. In 2002, the foundation raised $25.6 million. By 2004, it had raised more than $50 million. In 2006, as a White House run approached, the foundation raised nearly $150 million, and then in the presidential campaign year of 2008, nearly $200 million.
But then Mrs. Clinton lost the Democratic nomination to Sen. Barack Obama. Things looked bleak for her political career, and then two things happened, one that was very helpful for foundation fundraising and one that wasn’t helpful at all.
The helpful thing was President Obama’s decision to offer Mrs. Clinton the job of Secretary of State. The not-helpful thing was the ethics agreement on which the job offer was contingent. Both Clintons had to agree to new restrictions on their fundraising activities. New foreign donations were banned, the White House would have to approve all of President Clinton’s paid speeches, and the foundation would have to disclose its donors.
The Clintons’ representative signed the agreement, and that’s exactly when Hillary Clinton set up a private email server in her house that kept all her official State Department correspondence completely hidden from public records requests and official inquiries.
In 2009, with Mrs. Clinton as Secretary of State, a likely White House run in her future, and a secret email server hiding her communications, the Clinton Foundation took in $249 million.
In 2010, the Washington Post later reported, the Clinton Foundation violated the ethics agreement by secretly accepting $500,000 from the government of Algeria while that country was lobbying the state department over human rights issues. The foundation also accepted millions of dollars in continuing foreign donations, which were not prohibited by the ethics agreement, from countries that had what the Post characterized as “complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government.”
“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 intoned.
That report came out in 2015, along with a New York Times article investigating the 2013 purchase of a Canadian company, Uranium One, by Russia’s atomic energy agency, Rosatom. The Clinton Foundation received $2.35 million in donations from the family foundation of the chairman of Uranium One, and those donations were not publicly disclosed. Secretary Clinton sat on a committee that voted to approve the sale.
Reuters found out that from 2010 to 2013, the foundation wasn’t disclosing all of its donors and didn’t tell the State Department that Australia and the UK had doubled and tripled their contributions to the Clinton foundation while Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State. The Associated Press discovered that more than half of Secretary Clinton’s meetings with people outside the government were with donors to the Clinton Foundation.
In 2016, FBI agents from four field offices opened preliminary inquiries into the Clinton Foundation’s dealings with donors. At that time, the Justice Department wouldn’t grant authorization for subpoenas or search warrants, but in 2018, the New York Times reported that the foundation was served with a grand jury subpoena for records and complied.
In September 2020, the New York Times reported that then-U.S. Attorney John Durham was investigating the FBI’s handling of the investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
Durham was appointed a special counsel, authorized to investigate whether anyone “violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump,” and recently, Durham indicted two people for lying to the FBI. One was a Clinton campaign lawyer.
Prosecutors cited declassified CIA documents showing that then-CIA director John Brennan briefed President Obama in 2016 that Hillary Clinton had allegedly approved a plan to “vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service” and that she had done this “as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”
Was there written evidence of pay-to-play in those deleted emails? Watchdog group OpenSecrets reported that after Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election, speaking fees to the Clintons dropped like a rock, falling from $3.6 million in 2014 to $370,000 in 2018, and IRS disclosures reveal that the once high-flying Clinton Foundation took in $30.7 million in 2018 and just $16.3 million in 2020.
“Ethics experts,” the Daily Caller reported, are “alarmed” by the speedy decline of donations and say it shows “clear red flags of political corruption.”
Now they tell us.
Write Susan Shelley at [email protected]
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