Schweizer points out in Clinton Cash that the timing of the speeches raises questions about a possible quid pro quo. On September 29, 2010—just weeks after Digicel applied to receive millions of dollars worth of grants from a State Department-controlled agency to provide mobile payment services in Haiti—Clinton gave a speech in Dublin sponsored by O’Brien. Clinton was not paid, a Clinton spokesman told BuzzFeed, but acknowledged that the Clinton Foundation did received a donation after the speech. Clinton Foundation records show that O’Brien personally donated between $5 million and $10 million sometime between 2010 and 2011.
A few weeks after the September 2010 speech in Ireland, Clinton was paid $225,000 for a Digicel-sponsored speech in Kingston, Jamaica. Two months later, Digicel received its first installment of USAID grant money.
As Schweizer notes, the mobile money system was likely a worthwhile project, but like most things involving the Clintons, it was tainted by the appearance of corruption and greed. “The trouble was not in the idea itself,” he writes. “Rather, it was the fact that it was helping make [Denis] O’Brien lots of money.”
But Denis O’Brien seems like a nice guy who’s just trying to make a difference in the world. Right?