January 2011

January 2011 – Clinton Foundation brokers a deal with donor Denis O’Brien who receives millions in taxpayer funds, Clintons are personally enriched in return

Denis O’Brien (Credit: Digicel)

In January 2011, the Clinton Foundation brokered a deal with Digicel, a cell-phone-service provider seeking to gain access to the Haitian market. The Clintons arranged to have Digicel receive millions in U.S. taxpayer money to provide mobile phones. The USAID Food for Peace program, which the State Department administered through Hillary aide Cheryl Mills, distributed Digicel phones free to Haitians.

Digicel didn’t just make money off the U.S. taxpayer; it also made money off the Haitians. When Haitians used the phones, either to make calls or transfer money, they paid Digicel for the service. Haitians using Digicel’s phones also became automatically enrolled in Digicel’s mobile program. By 2012, Digicel had taken over three-quarters of the cell-phone market in Haiti.

Digicel is owned by Denis O’Brien, a close friend of the Clintons. O’Brien secured three speaking engagements in his native Ireland that paid $200,000 apiece. These engagements occurred right at the time that Digicel was making its deal with the U.S. State Department. O’Brien has also donated lavishly to the Clinton Foundation, giving between $1 million and $5 million sometime in 2010–2011.

Coincidentally the United States government paid Digicel $45 million to open a hotel in Port-au-Prince. Now perhaps it could be argued that Haitians could use a high-priced hotel to attract foreign investors and provide jobs for locals. Thus far, however, this particular hotel seems to employ only a few dozen locals, which hardly justifies the sizable investment that went into building it. Moreover, there are virtually no foreign investors; the rooms are mostly unoccupied; the ones that are taken seem mainly for the benefit of Digicel’s visiting teams.” (National Review, 7/18/2016)