Clinton Foundation Donors Got Access to Secretary of State Clinton
A majority of her non-government visitors coincidentally donated to her nonprofit.
A majority of non-government persons granted a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were donors to the Clinton Foundation.
More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation. It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem; and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.
The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.
In a world where the Republican nominee weren’t a dangerous lunatic, this would be much bigger news.
There’s no evidence that Clinton changed policy in the aftermath of these meetings, which would potentially be a criminal act. But, rather clearly, she used the power of her high government office to entice donors to her family’s foundation. It’s a continuation of the Clinton business model, in which the interests of the not-in-office member of the team reaps tremendous benefits from the station of the in-office member. It’s extremely unseemly and quite often unethical as well.