What’s behind the alleged ‘corruption’ at the Clinton Foundation?

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Clinton scandals are a lot like a desert mirage: From afar it might look real, but the closer you get, the less substantial it tends to get. The latest email “controversy,” with conservatives claiming that as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton “sold” access to donors to the Clinton Foundation, is an excellent example.

According to the anti-Clinton group Judicial Watch, the latest batch of released emails prove that in two cases, officials at the Clinton Foundation reached out to the secretary of state through her top aide, Huma Abedin, seeking favors for foundation donors. Let’s walk through the facts of those two cases:

1.) On behalf of a donor, Clinton Foundation director Doug Band did send Abedin an email seeking the State Department’s help in getting an accelerated visa interview for a British soccer player with a criminal record. Abedin responded by email that while she might be willing to ask, she was uncomfortable doing so.

“Then don’t,” Band responded. Apparently she didn’t, because no such expedited visa interview was granted. In the end, as far as anybody knows, nothing unethical, illegal or untoward occurred, and the foundation donor’s money bought nothing.

2.) As the emails reveal, Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain had tried to reach Clinton in 2010 both through the foundation and through official diplomatic channels, trying to set up a meeting while he was in town. When Abedin was contacted through the foundation, she responded that Clinton wasn’t ready yet to commit to a meeting and needed to see how her schedule looked. Two days later, Clinton agreed to the meeting, through the official diplomatic channels.

According to Judicial Watch, Salman has contributed $32 million to the Clinton Global Foundation, which supposedly clinches the claim that Clinton “sold” access to donors. Do the actual facts sustain that claim?

— Salman didn’t give the money to the Clinton Global Foundation; he made a commitment to the Clinton foundation to raise the money for his own charity, the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program, which he created in 1999 to give Bahrain’s top high school students full scholarships at the best universities in the world.  The Clinton Global Foundation serves as basically a clearinghouse or sponsor for CPISP, helping it to raise money from sponsors, just as it does for similar education charities around the globe. The idea is that if countries such as Bahrain are going to have a future beyond petroleum, it will need a well-educated population. So it’s hard to see how Salman was trying to buy influence with money used to benefit his own subjects.

cpisp

Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain poses with recipients of international college scholarships granted through the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program.

—  The crown prince is heir to the throne in Bahrain, a key U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf. He’s also deputy supreme commander of the Bahrain military.  In those roles, he had met previously with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and with then-secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. The concept that a man in such a high position had to pay a bribe — a bribe in the form of college scholarships to his own people, with no possible personal benefit to the Clintons– in order to get an audience is utterly beyond me.

Judicial Watch also waggles an accusing finger at meetings held between Clinton and people who were also Clinton Foundation donors, but who did not attempt to arrange those meetings through the foundation. The example it chose to highlight was S. Daniel Abraham, the billionaire founder of SlimFast, who had pledged between $5 million and $10 million. When Abraham requested a 15-minute meeting with Clinton, he got it the next day.

Judicial Watch did not mention that Abraham is the founder of the Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, which for more than 25 years has worked to find peaceful ways to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is also a major contributor to the U.S. Institute of Peace, a federal institution created under President Reagan that has worked in places such as the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan to train local officials and groups in non-violent ways to resolve conflict. Personally, I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable and certainly not corrupt for a secretary of state to give such a man a 15-minute meeting.

Two final points:

It’s pretty telling that after scrutinizing tens of thousands of Clinton internal emails, her critics have settled on the alleged granting of meetings as the worst scandal they can find. Given the freedom to go traipsing through the personal emails of a lot of other top political figures, I’m betting that you’d find problems that were much more substantial.

And finally, it’s more than a bit melodramatic to see Washington political figures clutch their pearls and collapse on a nearby fainting couch at the suspicion that charitable contributions might open a door or two. No senator or congressman in the entire town would refuse to meet with a major campaign contributor, and the same is true of politicians in every state capitol across the land.

In recent years, we have also been forced to tolerate a Citizens United world in which billionaires such as the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson shower politicians with unlimited amounts of money, investing tens of millions of dollars to elect the person of their choice, and it’s all perfectly legal as long as there’s no explicit “quid pro quo” agreement that the money will produce favors.

That system leaves politicians of both parties vulnerable to donor pressure and it has to change, but the same Republican Party demanding that a special prosecutor investigate their latest desert mirage refuses to even acknowledge that our current campaign-finance system has become a cesspool of accepted corruption right before our eyes. The hypocrisy of it is overwhelming.

Reader Comments 0

1827 comments
John Cheek
John Cheek

Because they are corrupt, and AJC is jst another in a long line of Clinton News Network affilates

Jan Marynowski
Jan Marynowski

This is to refresh your recollection... Bill Clinton was disbarred from practicing law in Arkansas and was also disbarred from practicing law in front of the Supreme Court over the Lewinski incident. He also paid a $25,000.00 fine over the Lewinski incident. And he also paid a $850,000.00 settlement over the Lewinski incident. He was also fined $90,000 for giving false testimony in the Paula Jones case. So Bill Clinton, a disbarred lawyer, a President who was fined for lying under oath, asks the American people to believe him when he says the best thing for our Country is 4 years for Hilary... Just wanted to make sure I had it right!

James Silvis III
James Silvis III

Ask about all the Haiti fund money and how come those victims still do not have the homes that we payed for? Where did all the money go that people donated?

T Lee Wade
T Lee Wade

it doing a good job helping people all over the world, does what it suppose to do so why the beef?

Bike Maize
Bike Maize

What have they done right here, in this country like say, Louisiana?

Dianne Moore
Dianne Moore

You believe that?? They are just getting rich at everyone's expense. Taking money from our enemies, promising them favors, like pay to play.

T Lee Wade
T Lee Wade

Bike Maize it just happen you done any thing?

Bike Maize
Bike Maize

T Lee Wade Unlike these frauds, I do not have the means, or the child care to make it out of state to help. Not that it matters, I have been working locally, with the homeless most of my adult life. So E.A.D Again.... I ask, what has this BS slush fund for this criminal family, their cronies, & leeches, done, to help? They are nothing but a bunch unethical hypocrites. This "foundation" is ripe to the point of rotten, with conflict of interests, foreign blood money, favors, & pay to play.

Richard A. Santo
Richard A. Santo

Two buddies in cahoots. Bannon and Trumpdick. How congenial.

Jay Smallwood
Jay Smallwood

I rekon bookman wants to be El Hillary's minister of Propagana

Jan Marynowski
Jan Marynowski

Clinton's daughter graduates from college and gets a $900,000.00 job. WOW she must be good. .....

Brit Will
Brit Will

You could always get a loan from your father to start a business. ;-)

Rose Sapphires
Rose Sapphires

Trump invents Clinton scandals, after the "Mexican" scandal, after the "McCain" scandal, after the "Muslim Kahn" scandal, just to change the subject and distract y'all so his "con" job will succeed. The Clinton Foundation has received donations from all over the world, to do its work.The Foundation and Charity have provided aids medicines, food and education for millions of children. What scandal or negative reflection on the United States comes from that? This is what Donald Trump has brought to our nation, disrespect and failure.Who considers that all the foreign donations have employed Americans, manufactured the medicines Stateside, and shipped to the world, by law, on American transport. The Clinton's have created American jobs. Trump claims he will create jobs, while he has worked to close up and destroy American jobs. Trump has always imported foreign workers to fill high paying jobs Stateside, at low pay.Plantation owners created jobs, but no pay, in the past. Slaver dictators deny any support for workers, the same as Republicans are against worker unions, against employment standards, job protected leave, pay on vacation, severance pay on layoff and unemployment insurance. They want economic slaves. Republican corporate owners have closed entire factories, as Ford has done, and moved to Mexico. Trump knows who caused the unemployment when he stated to American workers, "You are unemployed, you are poor, your children are not educated, etc. etc." And Republicans laugh, because they shut down the U.S. government, caused gridlock and voted down Democrat legislation to assist the poor and unemployed.Trump and Republican Congressmen and Senators, all of them, have to get out of the way Americans want this nation to advance. All Trump can say is to disrespect, devalue, close down, fire and shoot Americans.

Jan Marynowski
Jan Marynowski

Rose Sapphires, based on your comments we can safely say that you are not the sharpest tool in the shed. Typical hateful Liberal.

Daniel Wilson
Daniel Wilson

The constitution makes it very clear that foreign governments can't contribute to a u.s Presidential candidate. So the loophole is governments donate ridiculous amounts of money to the Clinton foundation which is funneled into her campaign. If you can't see that direct correlation then you're just willfully biased.

Suzi Lahey
Suzi Lahey

I just love it when a foreigner wants to preach to us how to run our country, who to vote for, and who to believe. Doesn't Canada have its own problems for you to worry about?

Gerald Bedgood
Gerald Bedgood

I wish Bookman would be seen from afar, does anyone really think, Bookman, like the Clintons, can be believed.

Ralph Haurin
Ralph Haurin

What's behind the"corruption"? Desperate conservatives trying to find some way, any way to give Drumph a shot at the white house. Meanwhile, in the time it took some republikkklan troll to spell "killery" TCF provided aids, cancer, and malaria medication for more than 1000 people.

Doug Rea
Doug Rea

Bookman is the easiest blog not to read.

Val Smith
Val Smith

How many of the hateful comments here have been made by those who have never bothered to check out the Clinton Foundation website? Or should I ask how many of you will admit you haven't a clue what you're talking about?

George Paul
George Paul

AJC, liberal biased, but the fish markets like it

Rob Thompson
Rob Thompson

What specific charitable role did Sidney Blumenthal serve for $10k per month from the Foundation?

William Carter
William Carter

Get a copy of the depo & we might have some insight.

John Fair
John Fair

The lengths that Jay goes through to defend the Clintons is amazing.. he is like a report for Der Sturmer

Peachs
Peachs

@DownInAlbany @Kamchak that is a poor use of words, for a man trying to compete for the minority vote, all of a sudden...

RantNRave
RantNRave

 " [louder] U-S-A!! U-S-A!!! U-S-A!!!! "


@Donnie The Pinko GENIUS


Folks, this is the AGONY of DEFEAT !


Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww


Cons have been GRUBERED!

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

So the Clintons had a nice little back door for all that cash they were gorging themselves on during Hillary's SOS tenure.

Firms Paid Bill Clinton Millions As They Lobbied Hillary Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton accepted more than $2.5 million in speaking fees from 13 major corporations and trade associations that lobbied the U.S. State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, an International Business Times investigation has found. The fees were paid directly to the former president, and not directed to his philanthropic foundation.

http://www.ibtimes.com/firms-paid-bill-clinton-millions-they-lobbied-hillary-clinton-1899107

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Donnie_Pinko 

Former President Bill Clinton accepted more than $2.5 million in speaking fees

He did?

Well, that tears it!

I will never vote for Bill Clinton!

Take. That. To. The. Bank!

rmitch788
rmitch788

@lvg Considering that Laura Bush isn't running for president, it doesn't really matter.

Peachs
Peachs

@rmitch788 @lvg wish she was, she was the only one I thought was not in a fantasy world. 

RantNRave
RantNRave

 "Remember Wimpy in the old Popeye cartoons? A lot like "Comprehensive Immigration Reform."

"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday (border control) for a hamburger (amnesty) today.""


@PhiLOW


HUH??


You cons have been CHUMPED  by The CHUMP


and you are sounding like idiots.


You can't DEFEND the INDEFENSIBLE!

lvg
lvg

News Flash - 

Hillary is  a Bigot!

She secretly hates the

Black Guy from Kenya  in the  White House!  

She sabotaged Huma to make all Muslims look bad!


Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@lvg 

She's plotting to allow the space aliens to pollute our precious bodily fluids!

Peachs
Peachs

@lvg Downs is already quoting you as a credible source!