- Assets: $277,805,820 (2013)
- Grants Received: $144,382,361 (2013)
- Grants Awarded: $8,865,052 (2013)
Originally based in Little Rock, Arkansas and known as the William J. Clinton Foundation, the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation was established by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2001 “to alleviate poverty, improve global health, strengthen economies, and protect the environment.” Claiming to be politically nonpartisan, the Foundation administers several major programs, of which the best-known is the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
The Clinton Global Initiative
Incorporated in 2005 as an independent nonprofit, CGI aims to persuade wealthy businesspeople to pledge money to Clinton Foundation programs. Former World Wildlife Fund president David Sandalow, who served as a senior environmental official in the Clinton administration, chairs the CGI Working Group. The Working Group’s advisory board is composed of such luminaries as Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke; President Clinton's former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Carl Browner; Pew Center on Global Climate Change president Eileen Claussen; Environmental Defense president Fred Krupp; and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, an ethanol advocate who supported California’s failed Proposition 87, which would have imposed new taxes on that state’s oil producers. Other key CGI working groups are headed by senior fellows at the Center for American Progress who previously worked for the Clinton administration: Clinton economic advisor Gene Sperling chairs the CGI Education Working Group; Clinton National Security Council staffer Gayle Smith chairs the CGI Poverty-Alleviation Working Group; and Thomas Kalil, deputy director of Clinton's National Economic Council, chairs the CGI Global Health Working Group.
CGI hosts annual Clinton Global Summits where affluent business moguls, who pay $15,000 apiece to attend, pledge money to CGI programs. Among those who attended in 2007 were high-ranking officials of Wal-Mart, PepsiCo, Duke Energy, Starbucks, the Carnegie Corporation, and the NoVo Foundation. Also on hand were former Vice President Al Gore, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Evangelical Environmental Network president Jim Ball, actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Afghan president Hamid Karzai, and media giants Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner. At this 2007 Summit, Bill Clinton advocated a form of Cap-and-Trade that would raise energy prices while purportedly reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Some CGI activities, such as this greenhouse-gas initiative, are of a highly political nature. Others, however, are not politicized – particularly those that focus their philanthropy on impoverished peoples in Africa.
At the 2009 Clinton Global Summit, attendees included Barack Obama, Jordan's Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Al Gore, Wangari Maathai, and actors Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
Additional Programs of the Clinton Foundation
Additional major initiatives of the Clinton Foundation include the following:
A) The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI): Established in 2002 as the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, this program is dedicated to “expanding access to care and treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis ... in developing countries.” In its earliest months, BHCCF brokered price cuts by generic drug producers of AIDS drugs, organizing a cooperative that enabled more than 70 poor nations to purchase those medicines at discounted rates. The driving force behind this initiative is Ira C. Magaziner, a longtime Bill Clinton ally who engineered Hillary Clinton’s failed attempt at a healthcare overhaul in the early 1990s.
B) Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI): Created in 2006 “to create and advance solutions to the core issues driving climate change,” CCI is founded on the premise that human industrial activity, by emitting greenhouse gases (GHG), causes global warming. To address this problem, CCI has created such projects as energy retrofits for homes and businesses, low-GHG-emitting outdoor lighting, and improved waste management for American cities. CCI also promotes clean-energy alternatives to fossil fuels, which it says “account for about 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally.” Moreover, CCI seeks to curtail “deforestation in tropical countries,” which it calls “a major contributor to climate change.”
C) Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Asserting that “in the past 20 years, childhood obesity rates have doubled and are now at epidemic rates,” this initiative supports a Healthy Schools Program that encourages schools to stock their vending machines with non-fattening foods; urges students to “bring in healthy snacks for school parties”; and exhorts parents to “work with your child’s school to organize 'healthy' fundraisers like walk-a-thons.”
D) Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative (CEOI): This Initiative was established in 2002 “to reduce economic inequity and accelerate economic progress in the United States by helping individuals become more financially stable and businesses in underserved communities to grow.” CEOI's Entrepreneurship Program “promotes business-to-business public service, helping entrepreneurs reach higher levels of success”; the Financial Mainstream Program “helps people access lower-cost, safer financial services, and the support they need to develop and sustain good financial habits.”
E) Clinton Development Initiative (CDI): At the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2005, Scottish philanthropist Tom Hunter, the wealthiest man in Scotland, committed “to invest $100 million over ten years to encourage sustainable economic growth in the developing world” – principally Africa. Today, CDI “works to increase farmers’ access to fertilizer, seeds, irrigation, and other farming inputs, and to identify and develop new markets for agricultural outputs.”
An Apparent Quid Pro Quo Donation to the Clinton Foundation
In 2004, New York developer Robert Congel donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Soon thereafter, Senator Hillary Clinton reportedly helped Congel access millions of dollars in federal assistance for his mall project.
Collecting Donations to Fund the Clinton Presidential Library
The Clinton Foundation has collected many millions of dollars in donations to fund the Clinton Presidential Library. As of 2004, at least 57 separate donors had given $1 million or more. Among these were Hollywood director-producer Steven Spielberg and his actress wife Kate Capshaw; movie producer Stephen Bing; insurance magnate Peter Lewis; and the Soros Foundation, which is the European arm of George Soros’s Open Society Institute. Another notable donor was Denise Rich -- ex-wife of Marc Rich, a billionaire fugitive who had fled to Switzerland to avoid prosecution for 51 counts of racketeering, wire fraud, tax fraud, tax evasion, and illegal oil transactions with Iran; Mrs. Rich gave the Clinton Foundation $450,000.
Donation to ACORN
In 2006, the Clinton Foundation gave $250,000 to the famously corrupt, pro-socialist, community organization ACORN.
The Foundation Refuses to Reveal Information About Its Lucrative Sale of Stock in a Firm with Ties to the Chinese Government
In January 2009, the Washington Times reported that a secret party had paid an excessive sum for stock donated to the Clinton Foundation:
“Former President Bill Clinton’s foundation, despite identifying more than 200,000 of its donors in recent weeks, will not say who paid it windfall prices for stock in a struggling Internet firm with links to the Chinese government.... Mrs. Clinton’s office and the foundation have declined to answer questions about a lucrative 2006 stock transaction, details of which were reported by The Washington Times in March 2008.
“The Accoona Corp. donated between $250,001 and $500,000 to [the Clinton Foundation] after [Mr. Clinton] spoke at the company’s launch in New York in 2004, according to donor information released by the foundation in December. The foundation sold its Accoona stock for $700,000 two years later, according to the charity’s tax return for 2006.
“Despite what the tax return suggests, Accoona struggled mightily to turn a profit. In 2007, Accoona filed a prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission reporting more than $60 million in losses during three years. In the same prospectus, it listed the China Daily Information Corp., a subsidiary of China Daily, the official English-language newspaper of the Chinese government, as an official partner and 6.9 percent owner of the company.... While the Clinton Foundation voluntarily disclosed the original donation of the stock, it still is unwilling to say who was willing to pay so much for its holdings in the struggling company.”
Financial Mismanagement and Lucrative Sponsorships
In 2007-2008, the Clinton Foundation found itself competing against Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign for donors amid an economic recession. As a result, the Foundation ran a $40 million deficit during those two years. An August 2013 New York Times story provided numerous details about the Foundation's financial dealings and mismanagement:
It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in. And concern was rising inside and outside the organization about Douglas J. Band, a onetime personal assistant to Mr. Clinton who had started a lucrative corporate consulting firm — which Mr. Clinton joined as a paid adviser — while overseeing the Clinton Global Initiative, the foundation’s glitzy annual gathering ... that draws hundreds of business leaders and heads of state to New York City where attendees are pushed to make specific philanthropic commitments. Today, big-name companies vie to buy sponsorships at prices of $250,000 and up, money that has helped subsidize the foundation’s annual operating costs.
In 2012 the Clinton Foundation and two subsidiaries had revenues of more than $214 million, but still ran a deficit of over $8 million.
Muslim Brotherhood Connection
In the latter half of 2012, a Clinton Foundation employee named Gehad el-Haddad left his job there to take a full-time position with the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the Washington Free Beacon, Haddad’s tenure at the Clinton Foundation actually “overlapped with his official work for the Muslim Brotherhood, which began in Cairo in February 2011 when he assumed control of the Renaissance Project, a Brotherhood-backed economic recovery program.” Egyptian media describe the Renaissance Project as a program designed to implement the radical Islamization of Egyptian society. As the Egypt Independent reported in 2012:
“Renaissance is far more than the electoral program of [Egyptian] President Mohamed Morsi or the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party. It is a 25-year project to reform state, business and civil society, rooted in the Brotherhood’s Islamic values but conditioned by the experiences of the project’s founders in the modern economy.... [Haddad] officially became a senior adviser for foreign affairs in Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party in May 2011, when he was still claiming to be employed by the Clinton Foundation.”
In Egyptian media during Morsi's tenure as president, Haddad was a frequent apologist for the Brotherhood’s violent crackdowns on civil liberties throughout the country. In September 2013 Haddad was arrested by Egyptian authorities in an ongoing roundup of seditious Islamist militants. Eric Trager, a Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an expert on Egyptian affairs, said:
“It was only a matter of time before Gehad el-Haddad was arrested. Many of the other Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen have been apprehended, and in addition to decapitating the organization, the military-backed government has been specifically targeting the Brotherhood’s media wing, including by shutting down its TV stations at the time of [Egyptian President Mohammed] Morsi’s ouster on July 3. It has also gone after those connected to Morsi’s presidential office, and Gehad’s father is Morsi adviser and Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Office member Essam el-Haddad.”
In an effort to prevent foreign governments, organizations, and individuals from influencing the policy decisions of American national leaders, campaign-finance laws prohibit U.S. political candidates from accepting money from such sources. But as the Washington Post noted in February 2015, the Clinton Foundation “has given donors a way [i.e., an avenue by which] to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political [donation] limits.” As of February 2015, the Foundation had raised at least $42 million from foreign governments and $170 million from other foreign entities and individuals. Moreover, foreign sources accounted for about one third of all donors who had given the Clinton Foundation more than $1 million, and over half of those who had contributed more than $5 million to the Foundation. Some noteworthy facts:
* In 2002 the government of Brunei gave between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, to help finance the construction of the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas.
* As of December 2008, the Clinton Foundation had received between $1 million and $5 million from Issam Fares, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who once served as deputy prime minister of Lebanon. In the United States, Fares is best known as the CEO of the Wedge Foundation, a Houston-based investment firm. But in his native Lebanon, he is better known as an outspoken supporter of Hezbollah and an apologist for the Syrian dictatorship’s previous military occupation of his country:
- In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Fares insisted that “it is a mistake to make a comparison between the al-Qaeda network” and Hezbollah. The latter was actually a “resistance party fighting the Israeli occupation,” Fares said, explaining that “Hezbollah did not carry out any resistance operation against American interests in Lebanon or abroad and did not target civilians in its resistance activities as happened on Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center.”
- During a September 2004 address to the United Nations, Fares again described Hezbollah in positive terms as a “national resistance movement” that “has played an important role in forcing Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon.” In the same speech, Fares condemned “Israeli forces” for their presence on the Lebanon’s border with the Golan Heights, while excusing Syria’s far more brutal occupation of Lebanon. The Syrian forces in Lebanon, he said, “are on our territory upon the request of the Lebanese government.”
* The United Arab Emirates has been another rich source of revenue for the Clinton Foundation:
- As of December 2008, the Clinton Foundation had received between $1 million and $5 million from the Dubai Foundation (DF), which was headed by Dubai’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Previously, DF had donated at least 1 million United Arab Emirate (UAE) dirhams (approximately $270,000 U.S.) to “the families of the Palestinian martyrs”—that is, Palestinian terrorists killed in action. And in November of 2006, the sheikh sponsored a concert by Lebanese songstress Julia Bourtos in honor of “Lebanese Martyrs” in Hezbollah.
- Also as of December 2008, the Clinton Foundation had received between $1 million and $5 million from the royal family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who served as president of the United Arab Emirates from 1971-2004. In 1999, this same family established the (now-defunct) Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-Up, which became a notorious platform for anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and supporters of terrorism.
* Another of the Clinton Foundation’s leading donors is the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which, as of 2008, had contributed between $10 million and $25 million to the Foundation.
- In addition to direct contributions from the Saudi government, the Clinton Foundation had also received between $1 million and $5 million from the pro-Saudi advocacy group, Friends of Saudi Arabia (FSA). Launched in 2005 and supported by the Saudi royal family, this group acts as a kind of public-relations agency, protesting what it views as the U.S. media's unfair portrayal of the Saudi nation. Prior the release of the 2007 film The Kingdom, for example, FSA executive director Michael Saba wrote a letter to the chairman of Universal Studios expressing his concern “that the movie might present negative stereotypes about the people of Saudi Arabia.” Notably, Saba himself is an anti-Israel zealot and conspiracy theorist. His 1984 book, The Armageddon Network, alleges widespread Israeli espionage at the highest levels of the U.S. government, complete with a Justice Department cover-up. In 2004 he claimed—on the basis of no evidence whatsoever—that Israeli interrogators had played a role in the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003.
* In 2013, Rilin Enterprises—a privately-held Chinese construction and trade conglomerate headed by the Chinese parliament delegate Wang Wenliang—pledged $2 million to the Clinton Foundation's endowment. According to CBS News: "Public records show the firm has spent $1.4 million since 2012, lobbying Congress and the State Department. The firm owns a strategic port along the border with North Korea and was also one of the contractors that built the Chinese embassy in Washington. That contract is a direct tie to the Chinese government, according to Jim Mann, who has written several books on China's relationship with the U.S."
* In 2014 the government of Germany—as a first-time donor—gave the Clinton Foundation between $100,000 and $250,000.
* In 2014 the government of the United Arab Emirates—also a first-time donor—gave the Foundation between $1 million and $5 million.
* In 2013-14 the government of Australia gave the Foundation several million dollars.
* In 2014 a Qatari government committee gave the Foundation between $250,000 and $500,000. Previously, Qatar’s government had donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Foundation.
While all of these donations from foreign sources raise a host of ethical red flags, contributions that were made during Hillary Clinton's tenure (2009-13) as Secretary of State (SOS) may be even more significant, given the possibility that such funds could be used to buy immediate political influence. During that period, the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in donations from seven foreign governments: Australia, Norway, the Dominican Republic, Algeria, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar (the latter of which spent more than $5.3 million on registered lobbyists while Clinton was SOS).
The government of Saudi Arabia suspended its contributions to the Foundation during Mrs. Clinton's years as SOS, and then resumed its giving after she stepped down in 2013.
Overlap of Domestic Donors to the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton's Political Campaigns
A Washington Post review of Clinton Foundation data through 2014, found “substantial overlap between the Clinton political machinery and the [F]oundation.” For example, almost half of the major donors who were supporting Ready for Hillary, an organization promoting Mrs. Clinton's anticipated 2016 presidential run, and nearly half of the bundlers from Hillary's 2008 campaign, had given $10,000 or more to the Clinton Foundation, either personally or through foundations or businesses which they themselves headed. As of early 2015, for instance, Clinton friend and fundraiser Susie Tompkins Buell had given the Clinton Foundation some $10 million from her eponymous charitable fund. Another leading Clinton supporter, billionaire Haim Saban, had given an estimated $25 million to the Foundation.
Overlap of Key Personnel Involved with the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Political Campaigns
* The Washington Post noted on February 15, 2015: “The overlap between the Clintons’ political network and their charitable work was apparent [on February 13], when Dennis Cheng stepped down as the [F]oundation’s chief development officer ahead of his expected role as a key fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.”
* Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe — who served as manager and chief fundraiser of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign — sits on the Clinton Foundation's board of directors and is one of its leading fundraisers.
* Clinton Foundation chief executive officer Bruce Lindsey was a senior advisor in the Bill Clinton White House.
* Clinton Foundation board member Cheryl Mills served not only as deputy White House counsel in the Clinton administration, but also as general counsel for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
In 2011, John Podesta, who served as chief of staff in Bill Clinton’s White House, stepped in for several months as the Clinton Foundation's temporary chief executive. Also in 2011, Chelsea Clinton formally joined the Foundation’s board.
In 2013 the Clinton Foundation, with its 350 employees in 180 countries, adopted its new name and relocated its headquarters to Midtown Manhattan, occupying two floors of the Time-Life Building. Moreover, the New York Times reported: “Worried that the foundation’s operating revenues depend too heavily on Mr. Clinton’s nonstop fund-raising, the three Clintons are embarking on a drive to raise an endowment of as much as $250 million.”
Donors to the Clinton Foundation Receive Prestigious State Department Awards
During Hillary Clinton's tenure (2009-13) as Secretary of State, 22 of the 37 corporations nominated for the State Department's prestigious Award for Corporate Excellence—and 6 of the 8 ultimate winners of that award—were also donors to the Clinton Foundation. As the Washington Examiner reports:
- “Silicon Valley giant Cisco was the biggest foundation contributor nominated in 2009, giving the Clinton charity between $1 million and $5 million. The company then won the award in 2010 when eight of the 12 finalists and two of the three winners had donated to the foundation.”
- “The other Clinton contributor to win that year, candy-maker Mars, Inc., had given between $25,000 and $50,000. Coca-Cola was the most generous foundation donor to be honored as a finalist in 2010, giving a $5-10 million donation.”
- “TOM's Shoes, a 2009 winner for its work in Argentina, donated between $100,000 and $250,000. The other 2009 winner, Trilogy International Partners, gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Overall, seven of the 10 finalists in 2009 were foundation donors.”
- “Seven of the 12 finalists for the award in 2011 gave to the charity. One of the winners, Procter & Gamble, had contributed $1-5 million.”
- “Tiger Machinery, a 2011 finalist, is the Russian dealer of Caterpillar, Inc. tractors and other heavy equipment. Caterpillar gave between $1,000 and $5,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
- “Intel, another Silicon Valley giant, was nominated for an award each year of Clinton's time in office, winning the award in 2012. The technology company donated between $250,000 and $500,000.”
- “Five of the eight finalists and one of the two winners were foundation donors in 2012. A finalist that year, Esso Angola, is an international subsidiary of Exxon-Mobil, a prolific contributor to the Clinton Foundation. Exxon-Mobil gave between $1 million and $5 million.”
Clinton Foundation Spends Little of Its Revenues on Direct Aid
According to a review of IRS documents by The Federalist, between 2009-12 the Clinton Foundation raised over $500 million in total. A mere 15% of that, or $75 million, went towards programmatic grants. The other $425 million was allocated as follows: more than $25 million went for travel expenses; almost $110 million for employee salaries and benefits; and $290 million for “other expenses.”
In 2013 the Clinton Foundation took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges, and spent $84.6 million on “functional expenses” including payroll. A mere $9 million went to direct aid. According to the Sunlight Foundation's Bill Allison, “It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons.” Charity Navigator, an independent nonprofit corporation that evaluates the financial health, accountability, and transparency of charities in the United States, refused to rate the Clinton Foundation, citing an inability to gauge its “atypical business model.”
The Clinton Foundation Misreports Tens of Millions of Dollars It Received from Foreign Governments
When it was revealed in early 2015 that the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative had misreported (on the form 990s that all non-profit organizations must file annually with the IRS to maintain their tax-exempt status) tens of millions of dollars in donations they had received from governments around the world, both charities announced that they would refile at least five years of tax returns.
According to the Daily Mail: “For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years. Those entries were errors, according to the foundation: several foreign governments continued to give tens of millions of dollars toward the foundation's work on climate change and economic development through this three-year period.”
Hillary Resigns from the Clinton Foundation Board
Hillary Clinton resigned from the Clinton Foundation's board when she announced her presidential candidacy in April 2015.
Quid Pro Quo: Donations to the Clinton Foundation, in Exchange for Policy Favors
In his 2015 book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, author Peter Schweizer writes: “During Hillary’s years of public service, the Clintons have conducted or facilitated hundreds of large transaction. Some of these transactions have put millions in their own pockets.”
From 2001-13, Bill Clinton earned a total of $105 million from appearance and speaking fees, foreign and domestic. Approximately $48 million of that total came during his wife’s four-year (2009-13) stint as Secretary of State (SOS). More than half of the $48 million was paid by foreign companies, including some based in China, Japan, Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Cayman Islands. “Of the 13 Clinton speeches that fetched $500,000 or more,” writes Schweizer, “only two occurred during the years his wife was not secretary of state.”
Schweizer says he found a clear “pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds.”
One such transaction involved the State Department’s backing of a 2010 free-trade agreement with Colombia that benefited Pacific Rubiales, a Canadian-based petroleum exploration and production company founded by Clinton Foundation donor and board member Frank Giustra. During her presidential campaign just two years earlier, Hillary Clinton had opposed the trade deal because of Colombia's poor record on workers’ rights. But then Giustra and his company donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and by 2010 the State Department under Mrs. Clinton was heaping praise upon Colombia’s human rights record. This allowed Pacific Rubiales, whose operations were centered in Colombia and Peru, to reap huge profits.
Also noteworthy is the fact that in the aftermath of the devastating Haitian earthquake of 2010, the U.S. government awarded some highly lucrative development contracts to Clinton Foundation donors. Moreover, Hillary’s brother, Tony Rodham, was a board member of a small North Carolina mining company, VCS Mining, that in 2012 received one of only two highly coveted “gold exploitation permits” from the government of Haiti; it was the first such permit that had been issued in more than half a century.
The Clinton Foundation Rakes in Millions of Dollars, While Helping Russia Gain Control of 20% of U.S. Uranium Reserves
American political campaigns are prohibited from accepting foreign donations, but charitable foundations based in the U.S. are under no such restriction. Nevertheless, before Hillary Clinton could assume her post as President Barack Obama's Secretary of State in 2013, the White House—in an effort avoid the appearance of any conflicts of interest—demanded that she sign a memorandum-of-understanding that not only barred the Clinton Foundation from accepting any foreign government donations while Mrs. Clinton was in the State Department, but also required the Foundation to publicly disclose the identity of all its contributors during that time.
But the Clinton Foundation, as well as Bill and Hillary Clinton, egregiously and repeatedly violated these agreements while enriching themselves and compromising American national security. They were assisted in their malfeasance by the Obama administration. The details of what occurred were first uncovered by author Peter Schweizer in his 2015 book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.
The roots of this particular matter go back to 2005, when Clinton Foundation donor and board member Frank Giustra—owner of the Canadian-based uranium mining and development company UrAsia Energy Ltd.—flew aboard his own private jet along with Bill Clinton to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the pair dined with that nation's authoritarian president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. In a move that contradicted and undermined American foreign policy and U.S. criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human-rights record at that time, Mr. Clinton publicly expressed support for Nazarbayev’s bid to head an international elections monitoring group. Nazarbayev was greatly pleased by the propaganda that Clinton issued on his behalf.
Clinton's appearance in Kazakhstan also proved extremely profitable for Frank Giustra. Just days after he and Clinton met with President Nazarbayev, UrAsia Energy Ltd. signed a preliminary deal that gave it stakes in three uranium mines controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-run uranium agency, Kazatomprom. The Kazakhstan mines have long been among the most lucrative in the world.
And Giustra's good fortune, in turn, proved to be beneficial for Bill Clinton as well. Indeed, within a few months Giustra donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Fast-forward to 2007, when UrAsia merged with a South African uranium-mining company named Uranium One, which had assets in Africa and Australia. The newly formed entity kept the name Uranium One and was controlled by a number of UrAsia investors. One of those investors was a Canadian named Ian Telfer, who became Uranium One's chairman.
Meanwhile, Frank Giustra—whose personal stake in the $3.5 billion merger was approximately $45 million—sold his stake in 2007.
Also in 2007, Uranium One—in a bid to become “a powerhouse in the United States uranium sector with the potential to become the domestic supplier of choice for U.S. utilities”—began to purchase mining companies with uranium assets in America. In April 2007, for instance, Uranium One acquired a uranium mill in Utah, as well as 38,000+ acres of uranium exploration properties in four Western states. Soon thereafter, Uranium One purchased the Energy Metals Corporation and its uranium holdings in Wyoming, Texas and Utah.
In 2007 as well, Uranium One chairman Ian Telfer gave the Clinton Foundation a donation in an amount that did not exceed $250,000, though the exact sum is unknown.
Even after Frank Giustra's involvement with Uranium One was finished, he maintained his close relationship with the Clinton Foundation. In the spring of 2008, Giustra pledged $100 million to the the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI), a Clinton Foundation project promoting leftist environmental and labor practices in the natural resources industry. To help reach that goal, Giustra on CGSGI's behalf held a fundraiser that generated $16 million in pledges. Ian Telfer was one of those in attendance at the fundraiser, along with such luminaries as Elton John, Shakira, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Robin Williams.
Through his Canadian-based family charity known as the Fernwood Foundation, Telfer also gave the Clinton Foundation millions of additional dollars in donations.
By June 2009, Uranium One had fallen on hard times. Its stock value had declined by some 40% in a year. And Moukhtar Dzhakishev, the head of Kazatomprom, had recently been arrested on charges that he had illegally sold uranium deposits to foreign companies, including some of those belonging to Uranium One. Thus, there were questions as to whether Uranium One's licenses for the Kazakh mines were even valid anymore. Company officials were afraid that they might lose their rights to mine in Kazakhstan.
American diplomatic cables that were later made public by WikiLeaks indicated concerns that Dzhakishev’s arrest may actually have been part of a Russian scheme to seize control of the Kazakh uranium assets. Those concerns were later buttressed by documents belonging to Rosatom, the Russian atomic energy agency, indicating that Russia was indeed intent on acquiring a stake in Uranium One, given that Russia's domestic reserves of uranium were insufficient to meet its own industry needs.
On June 10, 2009, Uranium One pressed the American Embassy in Kazakhstan, as well as Canadian diplomats, to provide Kazakh officials with official written confirmation that its mining licenses were still valid. The American Embassy made Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to whom it ultimately reported, aware of the matter. And on June 10 and 11, the American Embassy's energy officer met with Kazakh officials to discuss the issue.
A few days later, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rosatom completed a deal in which it acquired 17% ownership of Uranium One.
A year later, in June 2010, the Russian government made an extremely generous offer to Uranium One's shareholders. If the offer were to be accepted, Russia would have a 51% controlling stake in Uranium One. But because Uranium One now controlled some 20% of all U.S. uranium reserves—and uranium is considered a strategic asset with implications for American national security—the deal with Russia could not be permitted without the approval of the American government. Specifically, that approval could be granted only by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is composed of several of the most powerful members of the cabinet—the Attorney General as well as the Secretaries of the Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce, Energy, and State. The seven Obama cabinet members who constituted the CFIUS at that time were Attorney General Eric Holder as well as the Secretaries of the Treasury (Timothy Geithner), Defense (Robert Gates), Homeland Security (Janet Napolitano), Commerce (Gary Locke), Energy (Steven Chu), and State (Hillary Clinton). Without the approval of these seven Obama administration officials, Russia's acquisition of Uranium One could not have taken place.
The seriousness of the matter was heightened even further by the fact that the U.S. produces only about one-fifth of all the uranium it needs to run its nuclear energy plants, and most of those plants have only 18 to 36 months of uranium reserves.
Notwithstanding the enormous implications of the proposed Russian acquisition of Uranium One, the CFIUS wasted no time in approving the deal in June 2010.
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation were collecting millions of dollars from people associated with Uranium One. They had begun collecting these millions a few years earlier, and would continue to collect them for at least another two years thereafter. For example, Uranium One chairman Telfer used his Canadian-based family charity, the Fernwood Foundation, to make four donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling $2.35 million. These included donations of $1 million in 2009; $250,000 in 2010; $600,000 in 2011; and $500,000 in 2012. Notwithstanding Hillary Clinton's aforementioned pledge that all donors to the Clinton Foundation would be publicly identified, these contributions from Telfer were never disclosed by the Clintons.
Moreover, a number of additional people with ties to Uranium One and the former UrAsia gave the Clinton Foundation between $1.3 million and $5.6 million in contributions.
In June 2010—the very month in which the Russian acquisition of Uranium One was approved by the CFIUS—Bill Clinton was invited to speak in Moscow for the astronomical sum of $500,000. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin personally thanked Mr. Clinton for speaking. Clinton's half-million-dollar fee was paid by Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin. According to The New York Times: “Renaissance Capital analysts talked up Uranium One’s stock, assigning it a 'buy' rating and saying in a July 2010 research report that it was 'the best play' in the uranium markets. In addition, Renaissance Capital turned up that same year as a major donor, along with Mr. Telfer and Mr. Giustra, to a small medical charity in Colorado run by a friend of Mr. Giustra’s. In a newsletter to supporters, the friend credited Mr. Giustra with helping get donations from 'businesses around the world.'”
Uranium One’s shareholders were alarmed by the Russian acquisition of majority control over their company. As Uranium One spokesman Sergei Novikov put it, they were “afraid of Rosatom as a Russian state giant.” In an effort to calm those investors, Rosatom chief executive Sergei Kiriyenko promised that Rosatom would not break up the company and would keep in place the same management team, including Chairman Telfer. Another Rosatom official stated publicly that the agency had no intention of increasing its investment beyond the 51% level, and that Uranium One would remain a public company. But this pledge was soon broken. Uranium One was delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and taken private.
In short, the Russian government—with the blessing of the Obama administration and its Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States—now controlled fully 20% of all uranium production capacity in the United States.
Four members of the House of Representatives signed a letter expressing concern about this development. Two additional House members pushed legislation designed to invalidate the deal. In a letter to President Obama, Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming said the transaction “would give the Russian government control over a sizable portion of America’s uranium production capacity.” “Equally alarming,” Mr. Barrasso added, “this sale gives ARMZ”—a Russian uranium mining company that is wholly owned by Atomenergoprom, a part of Rosatom—“a significant stake in uranium mines in Kazakhstan.”
In January 2013, a Pravda headline proclaimed: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.” As The New York Times puts it, the accompanying article The article “detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had … [become] one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.”
Michael McFaul, who served under Hillary Clinton as the American ambassador to Russia, says of the Russian acquisition of Uranium One: “Should we be concerned? Absolutely. Do we want Putin to have a monopoly on this? Of course we don’t. We don’t want to be dependent on Putin for anything in this climate.”
Marin Katusa, author of The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped From America’s Grasp, has warned: “The Russians are easily winning the uranium war, and nobody’s talking about it. It’s not just a domestic issue but a foreign policy issue, too.”
Criminals on the Clinton Foundation's Board of Trustees
According to Peter Schweizer's 2015 book, Clinton Cash, at least four members of the Clinton Foundation's Board of Trustees have either been charged with or convicted of serious crimes, including bribery and fraud. Following is a discussion of each of these four individuals and their transgressions.
(A) The most prominent of the four is former Clinton Foundation board member Vinod Gupta, founder and chairman of the database firm InfoUSA. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Gupta "improperly used" such things as: "corporate funds for over $3 million of personal jet travel for Gupta and his family and friends to such destinations as South Africa, Italy, and Cancun; $2.8 million of costs associated with Gupta’s yacht; $1.3 million of personal credit card expenses; and costs associated with 28 club memberships, 20 automobiles, his homes around the country, and premiums for three personal life insurance policies." Further, the Commission charges that Gupta "failed to inform Info’s other board members of the material fact that he had purchased shares of an Info acquisition target for his own benefit from which he obtained realized and unrealized ill-gotten gains."
In addition, Gupta paid Bill Clinton a $3 million “consulting fee,” which constituted an abuse of corporate funds that led to a shareholder lawsuit against Gupta. Eventually the company settled, agreeing to give some $13 million to shareholders. Gupta settled the civil charges without admitting or denying wrongdoing. According to an SEC press release, he agreed to pay $4,045,000 plus prejudgment interest of $1,145,400, along with a $2,240,700 civil money penalty. He was also barred “from serving as an officer or director of a public company,” and restrictions were placed “on Gupta’s voting of his Info common stock.”
(B) Another former board member, the wealthy hotelier and Democratic fundraiser Sant Singh Chatwal, is a longtime friend of the Clintons who in 2014 was convicted of illegal campaign financing (including contributions to a Hillary Clinton campaign), obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. As part of his plea bargain, Chatwal agreed to pay the U.S. government $1 million.
(C) Still another former board member, the Jordanian-born billionaire Victor Dahdaleh, “was charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in Great Britain with paying more than 35 million pounds in bribes to executives in Bahrain to win contracts of more than 2 billion pounds,” according to Clinton Cash. The SFO’s case against Dahdaleh, who worked for the U.S. company Alcoa as a “super-agent,” fell apart when a key witness refused to testify. Alcoa entered a guilty plea in a U.S. case related to the bribery saga and agreed to pay the Department of Justice $384 million.
(D) Current Clinton Foundation board member (and energy tycoon) Rolando Gonzalez Bunster has been named in a fraud case in the Dominican Republic involving his power-generation/fuel-distribution company InterEnergy. In 2013, an anti-corruption agency within the Dominican government charged Bunster and others in relation to allegations about "ballooned" fees that they had charged to the government.
Donations from George Stephanopoulos, Longtime Clinton Ally-Turned-Newsman
In May 2015, it was learned that ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, who formerly served as communications director and senior adviser for policy and strategy to President Bill Clinton, had donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation during 2012-14. As Politico.com reported in May 2015, "Stephanopoulos never disclosed this information to viewers, even when interviewing author Peter Schweizer last month about his book Clinton Cash, which alleges that donations to the foundation may have influenced some of Hillary Clinton's actions as secretary of state."
A few days after the aforementioned interview, Schweizer reported that Stephanopoulos had been "a featured attendee and panel moderator at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)" in 2006; "a featured attendee at the CGI annual meeting" in 2007; a panelist at the CGI annual meeting in 2008; "a panel moderator at CGI's annual meeting" in 2009; "an official CGI member" in 2010 and 2011; and a CGI contest judge in 2013 and 2014.
Donations from Numerous Media Organizations and Individuals
On May 15, 2015, Politico.com reported that more than a dozen media organizations had made charitable contributions to the Clinton Foundation in recent years. Among them were NBC Universal, News Corporation, Turner Broadcasting, Thomson Reuters, Comcast, HBO, The Washington Post Company, Newsmax Media, Time Warner, Viacom, PBS, and the AOL Huffington Post Media Group.
Several notable individuals from the media industry also, like the aforementioned George Stephanopoulos, had given money to the Clinton Foundation. These included Carlos Slim (Mexican telecom magnate and the largest shareholder of The New York Times Company), James Murdoch (chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox), Mort Zuckerman (owner of the New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report), Robert Allbritton (owner of Politico), Abigail Disney (documentary filmmaker), Judy Woodruff (co-anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour), and Richard Mellon Scaife (owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).
$26 Million in Previously Undisclosed Income
Amid questions over whether it had fully complied with a 2008 ethics agreement to reveal all of its donors -- and whether any of those donors might present conflicts of interest for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton -- the Clinton Foundation reported on May 21, 2015 that it had received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed speaking fees collected by Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton. According to The Washington Post: "Foundation officials said the funds were tallied internally as 'revenue' rather than donations, which is why they had not been included in the public listings of its contributors published as part of the 2008 agreement."
 It appears that two of Gupta’s projects in India that were to be named after Hillary Clinton, failed to materialize: (a) According to the Clinton Foundation’s website, Gupta’s charity, the Vinod Gupta Charitable Foundation, committed to underwrite the “Hillary Clinton School of Journalism” with a $6 million pledge in 2007. The school was to be established in India, but web searches conducted in May 2015 by investigative journalist Matthew Vadum failed to locate the educational institution. (b) While it was unclear whether the school project had ever gone forward, another project bearing Mrs. Clinton’s name was now referenced on the Gupta charity’s website: the “Hillary Rodham Clinton Nursing School,” slated for construction in “Rampur Maniharan, Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh).” However, the link which the website provided to the “Hillary Rodham Clinton Nursing School,” led to a placeholder page of an Internet domain name broker that read, “Click here to buy womenspolytechnic.in for your website name!”
(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)