If you’ve followed American politics for the last quarter century or so, especially on the national level, you know that when you try to navigate your way through the labyrinth of Clinton scandals, you’d better have a good sense of direction because of the vast number of twists, turns and dead ends each particular scandal road leads. That said, it’s kind of fun to see mainstream media begin to chart out the dirt path that tees off of Clinton scandal road dealing with Haiti. Let me try and catch you up on the poor, devastated island nation that is turning from an asset into a liability very quickly for Team Clinton.
“Partners in Haiti’s Future – The Clinton Foundation works alongside the people of Haiti and in partnership with public, private, and philanthropic organizations to foster economic development in Haiti,” begins the sub-page on the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation website to outline their effort to provide relief and assistance to the tiny country that was poor to begin with, and virtually destroyed when hit with a 7.0 earthquake on January 10th, 2010. Just wait until you see what ‘partners in Haiti’ means to Hillary Clinton.
Immediately after the earthquake, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the Foundation began seeking donations from foreign governments to raise money for relief and infrastructure there. This is where the now-very controversial donation of $500,000 from the government of Algeria came from. As CNN reported on February 26, 2015 by Den Merica,
The Clinton Foundation admitted Thursday that a 2010 donation from the Algerian government was not properly approved under the guidelines the Obama administration put in place with the foundation when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State in 2009.
The “unsolicited” $500,000 donation was made by the Embassy of Algeria “immediately following the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010,” the Clinton foundation said in an unsigned statement.
“As the Clinton Foundation did with all donations it received for earthquake relief, the entire amount of Algeria’s contribution was distributed as aid in Haiti,” the statement said. “This donation was disclosed publicly on the Clinton Foundation website, however, the State Department should have also been formally informed.”
In 2008, before Hillary Clinton became Obama’s secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation and the Obama administration signed an agreement that outlined how the foundation would deal with conflict of interest questions but still be allowed to continue its philanthropic work.
One aspect of the agreement was that the Clinton Foundation would stop taking new foreign donations, except from those countries that had previously donated to the foundation and didn’t increase their contributions.
The Algerian government aid was a one-time donation to help Haiti, the statement said, and the government had not donated to the foundation before or since.
What made this donation controversial was that simultaneous to it being given to the Clinton Foundation, Algeria stepped up their State Department lobbying activity. Here’s a report filed the same day in the Washington Post by Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger.
That year, Algeria spent $422,097 lobbying U.S. government officials on human rights issues and U.S.-Algerian relations, according to filings made under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Data tracked by the Sunlight Foundation shows that while the Algerian government’s overall spending on lobbying in the United States remained steady, there was an increase in 2010 in State Department meetings held with lobbyists representing the country — with 12 visits to department officials that year, including some visits with top political appointees. In the years before and after, only a handful of State Department visits were recorded by Algeria lobbyists.
Just as an aside on the Algerian front, they seem to have had something of an increase on the terrorist attack front, with an attack on a BP facility in early 2013 being carried out using Libyan weapons, as Hillary Clinton herself was force to admit in Senate testimony. But I digress. We’re talking about Haiti.
You’d think with all this foreign money pouring into Haiti, thanks to the fundraising prowess of the Secretary of State of the United States and the former President, the Clintons wouldn’t have to pay for a meal the next time they visited Port-au-Prince. Well, you’d be wrong. From Fox News and Time Warner News, respectively, via the Washington Free Beacon.
So apparently, the vast right conspiracy is spreading faster than ISIS. But here’s where the story just gets fun. Remember how I said earlier that the Clinton Foundation said they were partnering with Haiti? When they say partner, they mean partner.
Drive down the rutted dirt road a couple of miles to the guardhouse, then hike 15 minutes up to the overgrown hilltop, and there it is: a piece of 3 1/2 -inch-wide PVC pipe sticking out of the ground.
This is what, at least for the time being, a gold mine looks like.
It also has become a potentially problematic issue for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers a second presidential run, after it was revealed this month that in 2013, one of her brothers was added to the advisory board of the company that owns the mine.
Tony Rodham’s involvement with the mine, which has become a source of controversy in Haiti because of concern about potential environmental damage and the belief that the project will primarily benefit foreign investors, was first revealed in publicity about an upcoming book on the Clintons by author Peter Schweizer.
In interviews with The Washington Post, both Rodham and the chief executive of Delaware-based VCS Mining said they were introduced at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative — an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation that critics have long alleged invites a blurring of its charitable mission with the business interests of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their corporate donors.
Asked whether he attends CGI meetings to explore personal business opportunities, Rodham responded, “No, I go to see old friends. But you never know what can happen.”
It is a fine piece of reporting by Kevin Sullivan and Rosalind Helderman, and at times, is laugh out loud funny. When describing Angelo Viard, the Democratic donor who also serves as the chief executive of VCS, Sullivan and Helderman write,
Viard said that he paid to become a member of CGI so he could attend two of the organization’s meetings, and that he met Rodham at a gathering in 2012. (Foundation officials said Viard paid a $20,000 membership fee in 2013.)
“You try to be a member so you can meet people in the same industry,” Viard said. He said he attended CGI as “a pure marketing operation.”
Meeting people in the same industry. Huh. You know, I do recall Tony Rodham being somewhat of a gold digger, but not technically with a lot of experience in the gold prospecting business. And I’m not the only one who recalls that. Sullivan and Helderman note,
Rodham, a former repo man, prison guard and private detective, has long been a source of controversy for the Clintons. Among other things, he and his brother, Hugh, caused consternation in the Clinton White House in 1999 for trying to operate a hazelnut-processing business in the Republic of Georgia with political opponents of the Georgian president, who was a U.S. ally at the time.
Yeah, that’s what I thought I remembered.
So to sum up, the foundation rifles money from the nefarious human rights violating Algerian regime through donations that were in beach of Hillary’s agreement with the Obama administration when she joined it, kept them secret while being lobbied more heavily than before on the human rights concerns at State, and when caught about the appearance of impropriety with the donations, pointed to the good work done in Haiti. Naturally, the ones protesting the loudest are the Haitians, who think the Clintons have used the island nation as their own personal front company to funnel money. One of the few natural resources the island apparently has is gold in them thar hills. One company gets the permit, and of the seven billion people who populate Earth who could possibly be chosen to join the advisory board, it’s Tony Rodham, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brother, and all apparently without Hillary Clinton’s knowledge. With the ability to beat the odds like this, you’d think Hillary would skip the presidential aspirations altogether and try and make some real money. I mean, she could totally make a killing betting on cattle futures or something.
Sure glad we can trust her. If she can run this shell game in Haiti for five years, she can totally decide which emails are public and which ones are private, right?