Clinton Foundation Timeline
In 2000, Bill and Hillary Clinton owed millions of dollars in legal debt. Since then, they’ve earned over $130 million. Where did the money come from?
In his New York Times bestselling books Extortion and Throw Them All Out, Schweizer detailed patterns of official corruption in Washington that led to congressional resignations and new ethics laws.
In Clinton Cash, he follows the Clinton money trail, revealing the connection between their personal fortune, their “close personal friends”, the Clinton Foundation, foreign nations, and some of the highest ranks of government.
Schweizer reveals the Clinton’s troubling dealings in Kazakhstan, Colombia, Haiti, and other places at the “wild west” fringe of the global economy. In this blockbuster exposé, Schweizer merely presents the troubling facts he’s uncovered. Meticulously researched and scrupulously sourced, filled with headline-making revelations, Clinton Cash raises serious questions of judgment, of possible indebtedness to an array of foreign interests, and ultimately, of fitness for high public office.” (Clinton Cash)
The Clinton Foundation was founded in 1997 as the William J. Clinton Foundation also known as the Clinton library and located in Little Rock, Arkansas. From 2013 to 2015 it was briefly renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
It is a non-profit organization with a stated mission to “improve lives across the United States and around the world to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement.”
According to the Clinton Foundation’s website, neither Bill Clinton nor his daughter, Chelsea Clinton draws any salary or receives any income from the Foundation. When Hillary Clinton was a board member she reportedly also received no income from the Foundation.
The Washington Post will note in 2015, “The foundation now includes 11 major initiatives, focused on issues as divergent as crop yields in Africa, earthquake relief in Haiti and the cost of AIDS drugs worldwide. In all, the Clintons’ constellation of related charities has raised $2 billion, employs more than 2,000 people and has a combined annual budget of more than $223 million.” (Read more: Washington Post, 6/02/2015)
1995 -1999: Clinton donors and a Russian mafia kingpin, launder money, bilk investors and make a fortune, all while Clinton is president
(…) “Clintons’ buddies from Canaccord Capital (Paul Reynolds) and GMP Securities (Eugene McBurney) have donated to both the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. But, what would really get everyone’s attention would be the YBM Magnex scandal. Not familiar? Here, let me help.
In the late 1990s, both Eugene McBurney (GMP Securities) and Canaccord Capital became involved with Russian mafia kingpin Semion Mogilevich’s company, YBM Magnex. According to GMP Securities’ documents they “acted as underwriters for, provided research coverage of, and traded in securities of, YBM Magnex International Inc” between May, 1995 through May, 1998. Canaccord Capital was another underwriter as was the “European arm of HSBC Asset Management,” James Capel.
YBM Magnex which was actually established in the United States and located in Newtown, Pennsylvania was eventually shut down by U.S. authorities and pulled off the Toronto stock exchange. However, in the four years that the company was in business they went from “an obscure penny stock to a multinational worth nearly $1 billion.” It was further reported that that their “net sales quadrupled, net income jumped nine-fold, earnings rose by a factor of five, and the future looked just as promising,”
If you want to run with the YBM Magnex story you could also throw in Semion Mogilevich’s ties to the Bank of New York money laundering scandal back in 1999. That was a doozy, you have to admit. And not only was Mogilevich tied to the scandal, so was Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch who was once worth $15 billion, was associated with Soros, and was represented by Kim Schmitz’s current attorney. You see, Mogilevich took control of Inkombank in 1994, but the bank (along with its attorney, former Federal Prosecutor Arthur Christy) was sued by its stockholders in 1999 for defrauding investors and laundering their money. At the same time, it was coming out in the wash that Mogilevich and Khodorkovsky had laundered over $7 billion (yes, billion) through the Bank of New York.
All of the accounts linked to the $7 billion had one common denominator: Benex. Benex was a company set up by Russian Peter Berlin who’s wife was the vice president of the Bank of New York. Benex would later be “publicly listed as a customer of YBM Magnex International” and remember Boris Berezevsky that I talked about earlier, the guy working with both Soros and the Chechen warlords? Yeah, that guy. He owned part of Sobinbank and Flamingo, both of which were used as fronts for Peter Berlin’s companies. The other cozy relationship in all of this was that Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s partner at Bank Menatep (which Khodorkosvsky owned), Kostantin Kagalovsky, was also married to Bank of New York employee, Natasha Gurfikel Kagalovsky.
During this time period Bill Clinton was still in office, his buddies who would later become major donors and involved in the uranium deal were in bed with a Russian mafia kingpin and making tons of money off of that by lying to investors while at the same time that very same Russia mafia figure and Soros’ friend, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, were money laundering billions of dollars through The Bank of New York. Huh.” (Read more: Jimmy’s Llama, 7/08/2017)
October 23, 2003 - The sordid history of Australia's deals to 'facilitate' the Clinton Foundation's access to Asia
23 October 2003 The Clinton Foundation announced that it had negotiated price reductions for the supply of HIV/Aids drugs with the following companies:
- Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., of Johannesburg, South Africa;
- Cipla Ltd., of Mumbai, India;
- Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., of Delhi, India; and
- Matrix Laboratories Ltd., of Hyderabad, India.
The agreement covered antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for delivery to African countries and the Caribbean through the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative. Business for those pharma companies went through the roof.
The deal with Clinton was very good for him.
He sold most of Matrix to the US pharma company Mylan and by 2006 had taken his initial investment of Indian Rs. 30Million ($500K AUD) to 5.7Billion ($110M AUD).
In 2012 he was charged with corruption and jailed for 17 months.
Ranbaxy’s history is worse. By 2004 Ranbaxy was on notice of a formal investigation by the World Health Organisation over the sale by Ranbaxy of adulterated and worthless drugs labelled as the genuine article. In May 2013 Ranbaxy paid a record fine of USD $5ooM to settle the US Department of Justice criminal complaints. As the final US DoJ details settling the long running and very public case against Ranbaxy were completed, Bill Clinton jetted off to India to give what he thought was a private paid speech praising Ranbaxy and its executives.
Australia is implicated in the Ranbaxy scandal. On 23 March 2013 a DFAT official wrote to me:
“Prior to 2013, a small amount of Australian aid money was expended on Ranbaxy pharmaceutical products in Papua New Guinea to support the PNG Government’s health programs.”
Media Liaison Officer
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
At least $100M of taxpayer funded Australian aid money has been used in the purchase of pharmaceuticals under a relationship established between the Clinton Foundation and the Australian Government in February 2006. That is in addition to amounts donated directly to the Clinton Foundation.
“Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them.
Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.”
“Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.
The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.
Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.” (Read more: The New York Times, 01/31/2008)
September 18, 2006 - Giustra says his chips are on Bill Clinton who is a "worldwide brand, and he can do things that no one else can."[…]”Several tables away, I was talking with Frank Giustra, a mining financier based in Vancouver, who started, ran, and sold Lions Gate Films. Giustra is in his late forties. He is short and trim and has close-cut white hair. The plane in which Clinton was touring Africa was Giustra’s, an MD-87 jet, complete with leather furniture and a stateroom. Giustra told me that he was still heavily involved in business—he travels frequently to Kazakhstan, to check on mining interests he has there—but that his wife had been pushing him to give away more of his money.
“All of my chips, almost, are on Bill Clinton,” he said. “He’s a brand, a worldwide brand, and he can do things and ask for things that no one else can.”
Clinton is the first post-President to tap into the newer generation of wealth—the hedge-fund and retail moguls, who have bigger planes to lend and more cash to burn than their upper-class predecessors ever had. Ronald Burkle, a supermarket tycoon, is another frequent travelling companion and airplane lender; Burkle made Clinton a partner in one of his investment funds. Clinton’s appeal for these tycoons is obvious: in exchange for giving money to a good cause—the Clinton Foundation’s budget last year was thirty million dollars—you not only have the usual tax break and the knowledge that you are doing good but also get to play Oh Hell until five in the morning with a two-term ex-President who knows how to have a good time. You become a certified Friend of Bill, which still has some currency, six years after one Clinton White House and, possibly, two years before another. Writing a check to the March of Dimes hardly provides the same multi-layered reward.” (Read more: The New Yorker, 09/18/2018)
2007 - The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Private Rooftop Garden: An Obscene Violation Of Charity Law & Principles
“At least as far back as the days of decadent Roman emperors such as Nero and Caligula, elaborate gardens have been notorious as an unseemly indulgence by those with wealth or power or both. It is easy to understand why, for though a small herbal garden adds charm to even a humble home, the notion that people who purport to care about the country they govern or have governed would squander public resources on an ornamental garden for personal pleasure can well be taken to epitomize the sort of arrogance that ultimately leads to revolution. Such is the case with the 14,000 square foot rooftop garden that the Clinton Foundation (the legal name of which is the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation) had installed on the rooftop of the Presidential library in Little Rock Arkansas (the “Rooftop Garden”).
Though there was some publicity about the Rooftop Garden when it was installed back in 2007, hardly anyone knows that it exists. That is because it is private. That should strike anyone — regardless of political persuasion — as being problematic if not disgusting given that it would appear to have been financed entirely by donations to what is ostensibly a charitable foundation. Exactly how it was financed is not known because the financial records of the Clinton Foundation are a joke. A serious professional audit of them began only a few years ago, but the firm hired to conduct the audit, Pricewaterhousecoopers (PWC), did not delve deeply into the past: its audit covered only 2010 and later. By stopping there PWC effectively implied that no “financial statement” of the Clinton Foundation prior to 2010 can be trusted.
Uncovering The Obscene Violation Of Charity Law & Principles The Rooftop Garden Constitutes
The fact that there is a private penthouse on top of the Presidential library in Little Rock is relatively well known. Even the New York Times admits to knowing about it:
July 6, 2007 - Jeffrey Epstein's plea deal touts his close friendship with Bill Clinton and a claim he helped conceive the Clinton Global Initiative program
“Attorneys for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein touted his close friendship with Bill Clinton and even claimed the billionaire helped start Clinton’s controversial family foundation in a 2007 letter aimed at boosting his image during plea negotiations, FoxNews.com has learned.
The 23-page letter, written by high-powered lawyers Alan Dershowitz and Gerald Lefcourt, was apparently part of an ultimately successful bid to negotiate a plea deal before Epstein could be tried for using underage girls in a sex ring based in Palm Beach, Fla., and his private island estate on the 72-acre Virgin Islands home dubbed “Orgy Island.” Epstein spent 13 months in prison and home detention after agreeing to a plea deal in which he admitted to soliciting an underage girl for prostitution.
“Mr. Epstein was part of the original group that conceived the Clinton Global Initiative, which is described as a project ‘bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” read the July 2007 letter to the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of Florida. “Focuses of this initiative include poverty, climate change, global health, and religious and ethnic conflicts.”
The hedge fund magnate’s true role in creating the foundation could not be confirmed. Whether Epstein was an actual founder of the foundation or exaggerated his role in a phony effort to appear altruistic is not clear.
Epstein is not cited in official paperwork filed by the Clinton Global Initiative as a founder or director. Neither The Clinton Foundation nor Dershowitz responded to FoxNews.com’s inquiry as to the extent of Epstein’s involvement. FoxNews.com first reported that flight logs show the former president flew on Epstein’s private plane dozens of times. But Clinton has publicly credited longtime assistant Doug Band, now counselor and director of the foundation, as conceiving of the idea.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/06/2016)
August, 2007 - The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership effectively shielded the identities of donors
“Aides to former President Bill Clinton helped start a Canadian charity that effectively shielded the identities of donors who gave more than $33 million that went to his foundation, despite a pledge of transparency when Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state.
The nonprofit, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada), operates in parallel to a Clinton Foundation project called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which is expressly covered by an agreement Mrs. Clinton signed to make all donors public while she led the State Department. However, the foundation maintains that the Canadian partnership is not bound by that agreement and that under Canadian law contributors’ names cannot be made public.
The foundation cited that restriction last weekend in explaining why it did not disclose $2.35 million in donations from the chairman of Uranium One, the subject of an article in The New York Times last week. The article examined how company executives and shareholders had sold a majority stake in the company — and with it a significant portion of American uranium reserves — to an arm of the Russian government in a deal that required the approval of the United States government.”
(…) “The partnership, established in 2007, effectively shielded the identities of its donors — and the amount they gave — by allowing them to bundle their money together in the offshoot Canadian partnership before it was passed along to Clinton Foundation programs. The foundation, in turn, names only the partnership as the source of those funds.” (Read more: New York Times, 4/29/2015) (Archive)
“Bill Clinton is showing no inclination to disclose the names of the people whose sizable donations helped construct his $165 million presidential library.
In a surreal moment during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked about the fact that her husband’s foundation and library refuse to disclose the names of the people who have chipped in, sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars — any of whom might want to curry favor with the family of the next president. Moderator Tim Russert asked why her husband had not voluntarily made the donor list public even if the law does not require it, given the potential for conflict.
“You’ll have to ask them,” said the senator from New York.
“What’s your recommendation?” Russert asked.
“Well, I don’t talk about my private conversations with my husband,” she responded.” (Read more: Washington Post, 09/28/2007)
Who was Eric Hoteham? And why did he have at least three different email domains — clintonemail.com, wjcoffice.com and presidentclinton.com — registered in his name even though the domains apparently were based in the former first couple’s home in suburban New York?[…]”There is, however, an Eric Hothem who is named as a Clinton aide in a Washington Post article from 2001. At the time, he reportedly dismissed concerns from the White House chief usher who believed that, when leaving the White House at the end of Clinton’s second term, the couple took pieces of furniture that should have remained in the White House.
Hothem was also mentioned in a House Government Reform Committee Report from 2002. In the report, he was identified as “an aide to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton” who sent a wire transfer of $15,000 to Roger Clinton, Bill Clinton’s brother. Hothem’s lawyer deferred to the first couple’s lawyer, David Kendall, who said that the account for which Hothem was the custodian was the personal Citibank account of the former president and his wife, then a U.S. senator. Kendall said the money was a loan to Roger Clinton to help him obtain legal counsel for the committee’s investigation.
On top of that, Hothem is thanked in Hillary Clinton’s 2003 memoir, “Living History.” (Read more: ABC News, 03/05/2015)
2008 - 2012: Hillary Clinton fails to reveal a foreign donation of two million shares of stock from a foreign executive with business before Hillary’s State Department
“Hillary Clinton’s State Department was part of a panel that approved the sale of one of America’s largest uranium mines at the same time a foundation controlled by the seller’s chairman was making donations to a Clinton family charity, records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show.
The $610 million sale of 51% of Uranium One to a unit of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear agency, was approved in 2010 by a U.S. federal committee that assesses the security implications of foreign investments. The State Department, which Mrs. Clinton then ran, is one of its members.
Between 2008 and 2012, the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, a project of the Clinton Foundation, received $2.35 million from the Fernwood Foundation, a family charity run by Ian Telfer, chairman of Uranium One before its sale, according to Canada Revenue Agency records.
The donations were first reported in “Clinton Cash,” a new book by Peter Schweizer, an editor-at-large at a conservative news website, about the financial dealings of Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton. A copy of the book, set to be released next month, was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The book is to be published by HarperCollins, a division of News Corp., which also publishes the Journal.”
(…) “The Fernwood contributions don’t appear on the Clinton Foundation website, as was required under an agreement between the foundation and the Obama administration. A Clinton Foundation spokesman referred questions to the Clinton-Giustra program spokeswoman in Canada, who didn’t respond.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 4/22/2015) (Clinton Foundation, 3/01/2008)
December 12, 2008 - The Clinton Foundation makes an agreement with the White House over conflict of interest issues
“In late 2008, when it becomes clear that newly elected President Obama will nominate Hillary Clinton to be his secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation presents a very large conflict of interest problem. There is a particular concern that foreign governments could use donations to the foundation to influence the Clinton-led State Department.
As a result, on December 12, 2008, the foundation’s CEO Bruce Lindsey signs a memorandum of understanding with Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of Obama’s transition team. It allows governments which had previously donated to the foundation to continue to do so, but only at existing yearly levels. It details an ethics review process for new donating countries or countries that want to “materially increase” their support. However, it does not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the US government from continuing to give money to the foundation.
The Washington Post will later report, “Some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military, and financial relationships with the US government, including Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. Other nations that donated included Australia, Norway, and the Dominican Republic.” The Post will also note, “Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to US political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.” (Read more: Washington Post, 12/08/2008)
December 17, 2008 - The Clinton Foundation reveals their donor list which includes foreign governments as well as business leaders.
“In 2015, the Washington Post will report that the 2008 list of donors “included foreign governments, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which could ask the State Department to take their side in international arguments. And it included a variety of other figures who might benefit from a relationship—or the appearance of a relationship—with the secretary. A businessman close to the ruler of Nigeria. Blackwater Training Center, a controversial military contractor. And dozens of powerful American business leaders, including some prominent conservatives, such as Rupert Murdoch.” Additionally, “It appeared that some wealthy donors—who traveled with [Bill] Clinton or attended his events—also had made valuable business connections at the same time.” For instance, Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra “attended Clinton-related events and met the leaders of Kazakhstan and Colombia, countries where he would later make significant business deals.” (The Washington Post, 6/2/2015) The New York Times, 12/18/2008)
“Former US Treasury Department official Matthew Levitt says donations from “countries where [the US has] particularly sensitive issues and relations” will invariably raise conflict of interest concerns. “The real question is to what extent you can really separate the activities and influence of any husband and wife, and certainly a husband and wife team that is such a powerhouse.”
Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson says the disclosure of donors should ensure that there would be “not even the appearance of a conflict of interest.” (The New York Times, 12/18/2008)
“Former President Bill Clinton has collected tens of millions of dollars for his foundation over the last 10 years from governments in the Middle East, tycoons from Canada, India, Nigeria and Ukraine, and other international figures with interests in American foreign policy.
Lifting a longstanding cloak of secrecy, Mr. Clinton on Thursday released a complete list of more than 200,000 donors to his foundation as part of an agreement to douse concerns about potential conflicts if Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state in the Obama administration.[…]”Saudi Arabia alone gave to the foundation $10 million to $25 million, as did government aid agencies in Australia and the Dominican Republic. Brunei, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar and Taiwan each gave more than $1 million. So did the ruling family of Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Foundation, both based in the United Arab Emirates, and the Friends of Saudi Arabia, founded by a Saudi prince.
In addition, the foundation accepted sizable contributions from several prominent figures from India, like a billionaire steel magnate and a politician who lobbied Mrs. Clinton this year on behalf of a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement between India and the United States, a deal that has rankled Pakistan, a key foreign policy focus of the incoming administration.” (Read more: New York Times, 12/18/2008)
(…)”As the foundation grew, so did the outside business ventures pursued by Mr. Clinton and several of his aides.
None have drawn more scrutiny in Clinton circles than Teneo, a firm co-founded in 2009 by Mr. Band, described by some as a kind of surrogate son to Mr. Clinton. Aspiring to merge corporate consulting, public relations and merchant banking in a single business, Mr. Band poached executives from Wall Street, recruited other Clinton aides to join as employees or advisers and set up shop in a Midtown office formerly belonging to one of the country’s top hedge funds.
By 2011, the firm had added a third partner, Declan Kelly, a former State Department envoy for Mrs. Clinton. And Mr. Clinton had signed up as a paid adviser to the firm.
Teneo worked on retainer, charging monthly fees as high as $250,000, according to current and former clients. The firm recruited clients who were also Clinton Foundation donors, while Mr. Band and Mr. Kelly encouraged others to become new foundation donors. Its marketing materials highlighted Mr. Band’s relationship with Mr. Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, where Mr. Band sat on the board of directors through 2011 and remains an adviser. Some Clinton aides and foundation employees began to wonder where the foundation ended and Teneo began.
Those worries intensified after the collapse of MF Global, the international brokerage firm led by Jon S. Corzine, a former governor of New Jersey, in the fall of 2011. The firm had been among Teneo’s earliest clients, and its collapse over bad European investments — while paying $125,000 a month for the firm’s public relations and financial advice — drew Teneo and the Clintons unwanted publicity.
Mr. Clinton ended his advisory role with Teneo in March 2012, after an article appeared in The New York Post suggesting that Mrs. Clinton was angry over the MF Global controversy. A spokesman for Mr. Clinton denied the report. But in a statement released afterward, Mr. Clinton announced that he would no longer be paid by Teneo.
(…) Mr. Band left his paid position with the foundation in late 2010, but has remained involved with C.G.I., as have a number of Teneo clients, like Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical and UBS Americas. Standard Chartered, a British financial services company that paid a $340 million fine to New York regulators last year to settle charges that it had laundered money from Iran, is a Teneo client and a sponsor of the 2012 global initiative.” (Read more: New York Times, 8/13/2013)
January 13, 2009 - Clinton assures transparency during her Senate confirmation hearing for Secretary of State
(…) “So the work of the foundation, the confidence that it has created with donors who know that it has an extremely low percentage that goes to any overhead, it has a very transparent way that it uses the money, were very persuasive to the transition team, that we had to work out something to keep the foundation in business while I did what I needed to do to be as transparent as possible.
So the kinds of concerns that were put forth were very carefully considered. And, you know, I do believe that the agreement provides the kind of transparency — under the Memorandum of Understanding, foreign government pledges will be submitted to the State Department for review. I don’t know who will be giving money. That will not influence; it will not be in the atmosphere. When the disclosure occurs, obviously it will be after the fact, so it will be hard to make an argument that it influenced anybody because we didn’t know about it. So I think that in the way the president-elect’s transition team saw it, the agreement that has been worked out is actually in the best interests of avoiding the appearance of conflict.” (Video and Transcript: CSpan, 1/13/2009)
“After his wife became Secretary of State, former President Bill Clinton began to collect speaking fees that often doubled or tripled what he had been charging earlier in his post White House years, bringing in millions of dollars from groups that included several with interests pending before the State Department, an ABC News review of financial disclosure records shows.
Where he once had drawn $150,000 for a typical address in the years following his presidency, Clinton saw a succession of staggering paydays for speeches in 2010 and 2011, including $500,000 paid by a Russian investment bank and $750,000 to address a telecom conference in China.
“It’s unusual to see a former president’s speaking fee go up over time,” said Richard Painter, who served as chief ethics lawyer in the White House Counsel’s office under President George W. Bush. “I must say I’m surprised that he raised his fees. There’s no prohibition on his raising it. But it does create some appearance problems if he raises his fee after she becomes Secretary of State.”
Public speaking became a natural and lucrative source of income for Clinton when he returned to private life in 2001. Records from disclosure forms filed by Hillary Clinton during her tenures in the U.S. Senate and then in the Obama Administration indicate he took in more than $105 million in speech fees during that 14 year period.” (Read more: ABC News, April 23, 2015)
The New York Times reports, “…the White House recently scuttled Mrs. Clinton’s effort to bring Sidney Blumenthal, a journalist and confidant of both her and former President Bill Clinton, into the State Department.” Read more: (New York Times, July 15, 2009)
Law professor Jonathan Turley reports, “The White House has reportedly blocked Hillary Clinton’s effort to bring controversial columnist Sidney Blumenthal into the State Department to advise her. Blumenthal has been long seen as a polarizing and, according to some, a vicious partisan — including allegations that he spread malicious rumors about Obama during the campaign.” (Read more: Jonathan Turley, July 17, 2009)
(…) “In hundreds of documents released to POLITICO under the Freedom of Information Act, not a single case appears where the State Department explicitly rejected a Bill Clinton speech. Instead, the records show State Department lawyers acted on sparse information about business proposals and speech requests and were under the gun to approve the proposals promptly. The ethics agreement did not require that Clinton provide the estimated income from his private arrangements, making it difficult for ethics officials to tell whether his services were properly valued.
The proposed China speech and one consulting deal with a major player in Middle East policy are the only examples in the released documents where serious concerns were registered. The records include requests to speak to investment groups, colleges and foreign entities.
The records also highlight a blind spot in the ethics deal the Clintons and the Obama transition team hammered out in 2008 with the involvement of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: While the pact subjected Bill Clinton’s moneymaking activities to official review, it imposed no vetting on donations to the Clinton Foundation by individuals or private companies in the U.S. or abroad.
Concerns about individuals seeking influence by dropping money in both buckets arose soon after the first few Bill Clinton speech proposals landed at Foggy Bottom. In a 2009 memo greenlighting those talks, a State Department ethics official specifically asked about possible links between President Clinton’s speaking engagements and donations to the Clinton Foundation. However, the released documents show no evidence that the question was addressed.
“In future requests, I would suggest including a statement listing whether or not any of the proposed sponsors of a speaking event have made a donation to the Clinton Foundation and, if so, the amount and date,” wrote Jim Thessin, then the State Department’s top ethics approver and No. 2 lawyer.”