Kazakhstan

April 29, 2015 – Clinton Foundation fails to disclose 1,100 foreign donations

Hillary Clinton (Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The co-founder of the Clinton Foundation’s Canadian affiliate is revealing new details about the charity’s donors in an effort to counter allegations in the New York Times and the new book “Clinton Cash.”

“Hillary Clinton’s presidential run is prompting new scrutiny of the Clintons’ financial and charitable affairs—something that’s already proved problematic for the Democratic frontrunner, given how closely these two worlds overlap. Last week, the New York Times examined Bill Clinton’s relationship with a Canadian mining financier, Frank Giustra, who has donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and sits on its board. Clinton, the story suggests, helped Giustra’s company secure a lucrative uranium-mining deal in Kazakhstan and in return received “a flow of cash” to the Clinton Foundation, including previously undisclosed donations from the company’s chairman totaling $2.35 million.

Giustra strenuously objects to how he was portrayed. “It’s frustrating,” he says. And because the donations came in through the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP)—a Canadian affiliate of the Clinton Foundation he established with the former president—he feels doubly implicated by the insinuation of a dark alliance.

“We’re not trying to hide anything,” he says. 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.  “All of the money that was raised by CGEP flowed through to the Clinton Foundation—every penny—and went to the [charitable] initiatives we identified,” he says.

The reason this is a politically explosive revelation is because the Clinton Foundation promised to disclose its donors as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state. Shortly after Barack Obama was elected president 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.”

December 17, 2008 – The Clinton Foundation reveals their donor list which includes foreign governments as well as business leaders.

Clinton pays an official visit to King Abdullah, in Saudi Arabia, on March 30, 2012. (Credit: Reuters)

“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)

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.”

Bill Clinton & Frank Giustra (Credit: C Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

[…]”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)