On Sunday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper, where the self-described Democratic socialist said that he has a problem with the millions flowing into the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments, and that it could represent a conflict of interest.
JAKE TAPPER: You have not been critical of the Clinton Foundation, but there are those who say that there’s something inherently wrong with an Americans charity, especially one with ties to a secretary of state, taking money from the Saudis and other foreign governments that don’t represent our values. Is that a fair criticism?
BERNIE SANDERS: Yes, it is. If you asked me about the Clinton Foundation, do I have a problem when a sitting secretary of state, and a foundation run by her husband, collects many millions of dollars from foreign governments—governments which are dictatorships. You don’t have a lot of civil liberties or democratic rights in Saudi Arabia. You don’t have a lot of respect there for divergent…for opposition points of view for gay rights, for women’s rights. Yeah, do I have a problem with that? Yeah, I do.
TAPPER: Do you think it creates an appearance of conflict of interest?
SANDERS: I do.
Sen. Sanders has given Hillary Clinton quite the primary fight that has fractured the Democratic Party. Even with Clinton expected to officially clinch the umber of delegates needed to win the nomination tomorrow, Sanders’ army vows to fight on until the convention in Philadelphia.
So far, the media has been focusing on Clinton’s totally avoidable self-inflicted wound regarding her private email system, which she used to conduct official business while serving as secretary of state. It’s a fiasco that’s plagued her for over a year. To make matters worse, we now know—based on the latest inspector general report—that she did not seek approval from State about her email system, and if she did, it would not have been approved. Clinton had said this setup was “absolutely permitted.” That’s not true, and Tapper ripped that claim apart in a fact check segment for the news network.
Is Sanders trying to bring up the Foundation prior to the convention? Reporters are surely going to look into it since he’s been mostly quiet about ethical issues revolving the Clinton Foundation—and there are quite a bit of them. For starters, let’s look into how the Clinton State Department signed off on a business agreement that pushed Russia closer to controlling most of the world’s uranium supply. The Russian Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation wanted to buy the Canadian-based Uranium One mining company, which had sites in the United States. The dates of the negotiations for the sale were between 2009-2013. The Committee on Foreign Investment, of which Clinton’s State Department is a part of, had to sign off on the deal since they “are charged with reviewing any deal that could result in foreign control of an American business or asset deemed important to national security.” During that period, the chairman for Uranium One would give the Clintons Foundation $2.35 million in donations through his respective family charity. Bill Clinton would receive $500,000 to give a speech at a bank that was selling Uranium One stock options. The committee eventually signed off on the deal.
Additionally, the Clinton State Department approved millions of dollars in arms deals to governments who gave to the family charity. Her opposition to the Colombia Free Trade Agreement seemed to have done a 180-degree turn when Frank Giustra signed off on some checks to the Foundation. Giustra is a Canadian-financer who founded the oil company Pacific Rubiales, which was operating in Colombia. The company was at the center of the controversy concerning the abuse of labor union rights, where union organizers were being intimidated. This formed one the main reasons why Democrats opposed the free trade agreement, until Rubiales and Giustra himself pledged millions to the Foundation. The Colombian Free Trade Agreement was eventually approved, and Giustra (who certainly benefitted from the agreement) now sits on the Foundation’s board of directors.
Concerning just former Bill Clinton, he raked in millions from entities that had matters before Clinton’s State Department. In the United Arab Emirates, the former president sought approval by State to deliver two speeches in 2011 and 2012 for $500,000 a piece in the capital of Abu Dhabi, one on the environment and the other on the importance of tourism. They were approved, but not before the UAE was trying to establish a pre-screening facility in order to streamline travel to the United States. In December 2012, one week after Bill delivered his tourism speech, a screening facility was agreed upon for Etihad Airlines.
There are other issues with the Clinton Foundation. The fact that they aren’t transparent, that they haven’t disclosed all of their foreign donors, that they have given money to for-profit companies part-owned by friends of the family, and that some have called it a slush fund. Whenever you give money to the Clinton Foundation the pattern usually goes that some socioeconomic (or political) reward is reaped. It’s a bank to deposit favors it would seem. A financial analyst noted that the Foundation’s books are fraught with inconsistencies to the point where it could “rise to the level of fraud.” Last fall, the State Department slapped the Foundation with a subpoena for all documents related to deals that went through the charity that might have required State Department approval.
The emails, the foundation—yeah, no wonder why “crooked Hillary” is a fitting moniker.