This quid and quo seem awfully proximate to the pro here. A team from the International Business Times has worked on the movement of cash to the Clinton Foundation by nations benefiting from Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and while they don’t exactly find a smoking gun, they’ve come up with a stinkbomb or two. While the Obama administration tossed Hosni Mubarak under the bus during the early period of the Arab Spring, Hillary Clinton sold the regime chemical arms — while Mubarak-linked charities poured cash into the coffers of the foundation:
But behind the scenes, Clinton pursued contrasting aims. She cautioned the White House about backing the ouster of President Mubarak, whom she had previously described as a family friend. Her State Department cleared Egypt to continue purchasing arms the U.S. government classified as “toxicological agents,” a broad designation that included chemical and biological weapons, as well as vaccines — this, at the very moment Mubarak’s forces were unleashing one toxicological agent, tear gas, against protesters demanding his ouster.
The Clinton-run State Department’s approval of chemical and biological exports to the Egyptian government increased in volume just as dollars flowed from Mubarak-linked entities into the coffers of Clinton family concerns. A group closely associated with the Mubarak government paid Bill Clinton a $250,000 speaking fee in 2010, less than 4 months before the Egyptian revolution began. In 2012, a firm with an ownership stake in the company that manufactured the tear gas reportedly used by Egyptian security forces against the uprising paid $100,000 to $250,000 for another Bill Clinton speech.
The approvalof American chemical weapons sales to Egypt as Mubarak’s associates were stocking Clinton family interests with cash is but one example of a dynamic that prevailed though Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. During the roughly two years of Arab Spring protests that confronted authoritarian governments with popular uprisings, Clinton’s State Department approved $66 million worth of so-called Category 14 exports — defined as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment” — to nine Middle Eastern governments that either donated to the Clinton Foundation or whose affiliated groups paid Bill Clinton speaking fees.
The IBT team of David Sirota, Matthew Cunningham-Cook, and Andrew Perez offer up a few nifty calculations from their research. Category 14 sales rose 50% to these nine governments from the same period two years before the Arab Spring. At the same time, those same governments combined up for $54 million in contributions to the Clinton Foundation, not counting the “contributions” made to the Clinton’s favorite cause through speaking fees for Bill Clinton.
Now, it’s probably not surprising that these Middle Eastern governments wanted more small chemical arms to suppress protests during the Arab Spring. And interestingly, the biggest donor on the list — Saudi Arabia at $10M — actually bought slightly less during that time, but the rest made out pretty well. Qatar and Oman, two not entirely friendly or open-minded governments, both kicked a million into the kitty and saw approvals go up six- and seven-fold, respectively. Kuwait donated $5M and got a 71% boost in approved sales, even though as it turned out there wasn’t much going on in Kuwait to use these arms. Bahrain went from seven hundred dollars in sales to over $70,000 after giving the Clinton Foundation a mere $50,000, even though they did have riots to suppress during the Arab Spring.
Even if the motives of the buyers are understandable, the motives of Hillary’s State Department are much more murky. During this period of time, the public policy of the Obama administration — no matter how misguided it might have been — was to support the protesters and push for democratic reforms in Arab nations. Privately, it seems that Hillary was undercutting that policy and supplying these regimes with weapons to suppress demonstrations to these same regimes … as long as they kept putting cash into the foundation, and paid Bill Clinton to speak at their events.
How can Hillary Clinton explain these sales and the correlation with money coming into not just the foundation but the family’s pockets, especially given that conflict with the White House’s public policy? This looks closer to a smoking gun than a stinkbomb, actually, and Sirota et al hear the same from legal experts they consulted:
“The goal of conflicts-of-interest standards and government ethics standards is to set up a system where the public can be confident that officials are a making decisions on their merits, and not that there is a financial stake in the matter,” Clark told IBTimes. “Did these donations influence State Department decision-making? Why did they donate to the Clinton Foundation? Is it possible that they perceived that the donation would ingratiate themselves — or not — with policymakers?”
Here’s a better way to ask the question in relation to Hillary’s ethics: How could these governments not think they were buying influence with these donations? That’s precisely why we have those ethics and conflict-of-interest standards in the first place — to prevent even the possibility becoming reality. Hillary and Bill Clinton ran roughshod over those standards in order to enrich themselves financially and politically, undermining US policy to do so. It’s corruption, pure and simple, and the Clintons have drenched themselves in it.
How exactly will liberals and progressives rationalize Hillary’s sale of chemical arms to suppress supposed liberation movements abroad? That should be fun.
Update: It wasn’t just Arab Spring countries that benefited from having connections to the Clinton Foundation. The Washington Times reports that Sweden sweetened the pot in an attempt to avoid sanctions on sanction violations with Iran:
Bill Clinton’s foundation set up a fundraising arm in Sweden that collected $26 million in donations at the same time that country was lobbying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department to forgo sanctions that threatened its thriving business with Iran, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Times.
The Swedish entity, called the William J. Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse, was never disclosed to or cleared by State Department ethics officials, even though one of its largest sources of donations was a Swedish government-sanctioned lottery.
As the money flowed to the foundation from Sweden, Mrs. Clinton’s team in Washington declined to blacklist any Swedish firms despite warnings from career officials at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm that Sweden was growing its economic ties with Iran and potentially undercutting Western efforts to end Tehran’s rogue nuclear program, diplomatic cables show.
This one involves considerable personal enrichment, too:
Separately, U.S. intelligence was reporting that Sweden’s second-largest employer, telecommunications giant Ericsson AB, was pitching cellphone tracking technology to Iran that could be used by the country’s security services, officials told The Times.
By the time Mrs. Clinton left office in 2013, the Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse had collected millions of dollars inside Sweden for his global charitable efforts and Mr. Clinton personally pocketed a record $750,000 speech fee from Ericsson, one of the firms at the center of the sanctions debate.
In other words, not only was the State Department undercutting Obama administration policy on the Arab Spring, they were also making it easier for Iran to get around sanctions. By all means, let’s have the Clintons back in charge of national security, amirite?