The Clinton Foundation

May 14, 2010 – Emails show Clinton ties to Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, owner of Renova Group and head of the Skolkovo deal

Viktor Vekselberg (Credit: Dmitry Lovetsky/The Associated Press)

“New emails show Clinton Foundation staff pushed Hillary Clinton’s State Department to approve a meeting between Bill Clinton and a powerful Russian oligarch as her agency lined up investors for a project under his purview.

The Clintons’ relationship with Viktor Vekselberg, the billionaire whose name appears in the documents, has taken on new significance amid an expanding criminal investigation into his company. Last week, authorities raided the offices of Vekselberg’s firm, Renova Group, following allegations of bribery from several of Renova’s subsidiaries.

Vekselberg had been named head of a partnership dubbed the “Russian Silicon Valley” just three months before a Clinton Foundation employee began pushing the State Department to approve Bill Clinton’s proposed meeting with Vekselberg and a handful of other Russian executives.

(…) Vekselberg’s Renova Group has donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, donor records show. Another firm associated with Vekselberg, OC Oerlikon, donated $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Renova’s interests in mining, oil and telecommunications have helped Vekselberg become one of Russia’s wealthiest individuals and an influential figure within the Kremlin.

Beginning in May 2010, Amitabh Desai, a Clinton Foundation employee who acted as a frequent liaison to the State Department on behalf of Bill Clinton, asked agency officials if they had any objections to the former president’s plan to meet with a handful of Russian executives on an upcoming swing through the country.

“Would State have concerns about WJC seeing any of these folks?” Desai wrote on May 14, 2010, using Bill Clinton’s initials. Vekselberg’s name appeared on the list of Russian businessmen.

After receiving no reply, Desai asked senior members of Hillary Clinton’s staff again 10 days later for their thoughts on Bill Clinton’s proposed meetings. On June 3, 2010, Desai said he and the former president “urgently need feedback” about what he had described as a “possible trip to Russia.”

Finally, after Desai entreated the State Department for a response to the list of names for the fourth time on June 7, 2010, Jake Sullivan, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, forwarded the request to another State Department official and asked: “What’s the deal [with] this?”

In April of that year, Bill Clinton’s staff had submitted to the State Department ethics office a request for the former president to deliver a paid speech in Moscow on June 28, 2010, an engagement that necessitated the trip to Russia that Desai described.

Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank, paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for that speech, according to his wife’s financial disclosures from 2010. The State Department had given its approval for the trip just two days after Bill Clinton’s office filed its request.

The former president’s travel to Russia for the speech and potential meetings with Vekselberg and others came as Hillary Clinton’s State Department labored to drum up interest in a technology-sharing project, led by Vekselberg, called Skolkovo.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 9/12/2016)

1997 – President Bill Clinton creates the non-profit Clinton Foundation

The Clinton Foundation Logo (Credit: The Clinton Foundation)

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)