Don’t call it corruption. Call it … a confluence of interests. In other words, whatever interested the Clintons became what interested the State Department. A new series of e-mails emerging from FOIA lawsuits and reported by the Wall Street Journal show how Clinton Foundation interests took precedence over matters of state during Hillary Clinton’s tenure:
On Jan. 27, 2011, Clinton Foundation Chief Operating Officer Laura Graham sent an email to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills, voicing concern about a rumor. Ms. Graham had heard that Foggy Bottom was thinking about revoking the U.S. visa of Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive. “Wjc will be v unhappy if that’s the case,” Ms. Graham warned Ms. Mills, using the initials of the former president.
Ms. Graham, who was also chief of staff to Mr. Clinton at the foundation, had other reasons to worry: “I’m also staying at [Mr. Bellerive’s] house fyi so exposure in general and this weekend in particular for wjc on this.”
So Clinton Foundation staff was hobnobbing with a powerful Haitian politician and using connections at the State Department to try to influence U.S. policy decisions involving that same politician. That’s unethical and it is also contrary to what Mrs. Clinton promised when she went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 2009 as president-elect Barack Obama’s secretary of state nominee.
Just who is Jean Max Bellerive? Mary Anastasia O’Grady explains:
Mr. Bellerive was an important Bill Clinton ally. After the January 2010 earthquake, he worked with the State Department and inside the Haitian parliament to pass emergency legislation that created the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC). He and Mr. Clinton became its co-chairmen.
The IHRC handled the contracting of hundreds of millions of dollars from the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development and from international donors—with little to show for it as I explained in a May 2014 column. In a December 2010 letter to the IHRC co-chairmen, 12 IHRC commissioners complained that they were never consulted, or even informed about, hiring staff or consultants. Haitians whispered that the lucrative contracts went to the politically connected.
Bear in mind that none of these connections got disclosed — but plenty of people suspected that these types of influence-peddling connections were being made all along. Groups like Citizens United and Judicial Watch filed FOIA demands for e-mail records to find exactly this kind of evidence, as did media outlets like the Associated Press and others, and were repeatedly told that the State Department didn’t have any responsive communications records. That’s because Hillary Clinton used a secret e-mail system that didn’t come to light until well after she had left office.
O’Grady also notes that Bellerive had connections to VCS Mining, which won a permit for gold exploration in Haiti. Readers will recall that VCS Mining had another Clintonista connection — Tony Rodham, Hillary’s brother, who helped get that concession from the Haiti government in 2012. The Washington Post reported on these connections last year, but the new e-mails make a stronger suggestion of a quid pro quo. Clinton Foundation officials intervene on behalf of Bellerive in 2011, and Rodham ends up with a gold-mining concession in 2012 — and Bellerive joined the board of VCS Mining the following year, O’Grady notes.
If that seems like an improbable series of coincidences … you’d be correct. Now that some of the e-mails from State and Hillary’s secret server are finally coming to light, we’re getting a better picture of the culture of corruption that surrounds the Clintons, and which they have gone to great lengths to keep hidden.