Friday, August 26, 2016

Hillary Clinton vs. Associated Press

This blog previously reported that the Associated Press (AP) finally obtained some of Hillary Clinton's meeting schedules from when she had been Secretary of State.

The AP first requested (via Freedom of Information Act) Clinton's calendar and schedules three years ago.

They got nothing for years, and eventually sued the State Department last year in federal court for the materials.

AP's findings are the first attempt to describe the connection of Clinton Foundation donors and the private sector people who got to meet personally with Clinton, or spoke to her by phone, about their needs.

Its very likely Hillary's e-mails would have helped this AP investigation ... if she had not permanently destroyed more than half of them!

Hillary's calendars and emails describe many contacts she and her top aides had with Clinton Foundation donors.

"There's a lot of potential conflicts and a lot of potential problems," said Columbia University's Douglas White, an expert on nonprofits.

AP is now reporting at least 85 of 154 (55%) private sector people, who met or spoke to Hillary Clinton while she led the State Department, had donated to the Clinton Foundation or had pledged commitments.

That's a surprisingly large percentage.

Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million.

At least 40 of the 85 donated more than $100,000 each.

20 of the 85 gave more than $1 million each.

AP assumed 100% of meetings and phone calls with US government and foreign government employees were official State Department business.

For example, Hillary met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments, that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton Foundation.

The AP assumed those meetings to be official business ... but ... some of the meetings probably led to a "quid pro quo" deals, such as 'fast-tracking' weapons deliveries to countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Generous Clinton Foundation donors granted time with Hillary Clinton included:
(1) An internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran,

(2) A Wall Street executive who sought Clinton's help with a visa problem, and

(3) Estee Lauder executives who met with Clinton while her department worked with the firm's corporate charity.

Hillary Clinton's visitors and phone contacts were in her official calendar and in more-detailed planning schedules, that so far cover about half her four-year tenure.

Big Clinton Foundation donors, even those with no history of political donations to the Clintons, got to meet or talk by phone with Hillary Clinton and her top aides.

Example #1
Bangladeshi businessman Muhammad Yunus met with Clinton three times and talked with her by phone during a period when Bangladeshi government authorities were investigating his Grameen America, a bank's nonprofit US flagship, which Yunus chaired ... which had given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. 

The State Department did everything in its power to help Yunis, but Bangladesh ultimately seized control of his bank.
Yunus first met with Clinton in Washington in April 2009. 

That was followed six months later by an announcement by USAID, the State Department's foreign aid arm, that it would begin providing loans and grants to the Grameen Foundation ... totaling $2.2 million over Clinton's tenure.

Example #2
Blackstone Group donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Eight Blackstone executives also gave between $375,000 and $800,000 to the foundation. 

Blackstone's charitable arm has also pledged millions of dollars in commitments to three Clinton Global aid projects.

Hillary Clinton was host at a September 2009 breakfast meeting at the New York Stock Exchange that listed Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman as one of the attendees. 

Just one day after the breakfast, according to Clinton emails, the State Department was busy working on a visa issue at Schwarzman's request!