Credit to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for asking about a thorny issue that has largely receded to the back burner for Hillary -- perhaps rightfully so, given the fact that she's reportedly about to be questioned by the FBI over a separate scandal, about which she's lied constantly. Nevertheless, the heart of the Clinton Foundation controversy sits at the intersection of big money and power politics. It represents exactly the sort of unholy, influence-peddling and -purchasing system that Hillary's primary opponent has railed against, to great electoral effect. Watch as Mrs. Clinton assures viewers that any concerns about her family foundation serving as a giant dodgy political "slush fund" (as one good government watchdog called it) should be allayed by her...commitment to transparency. Via the Free Beacon:
First off, if you haven't already, go back and read my 12-point summary of a devastating Washington Post expose of how Hillary's email scheme came to exist and explode into a national security scandal. The story makes very clear that a major motivating factor for Mrs. Clinton to break the rules and compromise classified material was her near-pathological desire for secrecy, in violation of her own "transparency" rhetoric. She has no respect for the concept. Invoking it here simply isn't credible. Secondly, we know that nearly 200 Clinton Foundation donors actively lobbied the State Department while Hillary was running the place (sometimes resulting in extremely questionable outcomes), and that Bill Clinton raked in millions in speaking fees from entities and corporations that were doing the same. Under Hillary's explanation, none of this should be an issue, thanks to their meticulous transparency efforts. Got that? Okay. Now please allow me to share a few headlines, plus a flashback New York Times excerpt:
(1) Clinton Foundation Failed to Disclose 1,100 Foreign Donations (Bloomberg): "There are in fact 1,100 undisclosed donors to the Clinton Foundation, Giustra says, most of them non-U.S. residents who donated to CGEP... in 2008, the Clinton Foundation signed a 'memorandum of understanding' with the Obama White House agreeing to reveal its contributors every year. The agreement stipulates that the 'Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative' (as the charity was then known) is part of the Clinton Foundation and must follow 'the same protocols.' It hasn’t."
(2) Clinton charity never provided foreign donor data (Boston Globe): "An unprecedented ethics promise that played a pivotal role in helping Hillary Rodham Clinton win confirmation as secretary of state, soothing senators’ concerns about conflicts of interests with Clinton family charities, was uniformly bypassed by the biggest of the philanthropies involved. The Clinton Health Access Initiative never submitted information on any foreign donations to State Department lawyers for review during Clinton’s tenure from 2009 to 2013...During that time, grants from foreign governments increased by tens of millions of dollars to the Boston-based organization."
(3) Clinton charities will refile tax returns, audit for other errors (Reuters): "Hillary Clinton's family's charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors...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...Some experts in charity law and taxes said it was not remarkable for a charity to refile an erroneous return once in a while, but for a large, global charity to refile three or four years in a row was highly unusual."
(4) And here are some serious reported details on a highly controversial and suspect uranium deal involving the Russians, approved by Hillary's State Department (New York Times):
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well. And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock. At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.
In light of these four pieces of evidence alone, go back and watch the clip above and determine whether Hillary's "this is much ado about nothing because we're hyper-transparent" attitude is sufficient. It's almost as if we've heard it all before from this woman:
"Very transparent...all contributors will be disclosed." They weren't. "Foreign government pledges will be submitted to the State Department for review." They weren't. And that "extremely low percentage" of funds going to overhead? Very dubious, which is why the Clintons' "charities" (click through for an explanation of the scare quotes) have been flagged by oversight groups. Charity Navigator removed the Clinton Foundation from its 'Watch List' late last year, under what we know to be immense political pressure. Hillary Clinton: She is who we think she is.