An Associated Press review of Hillary Clinton calendar as Secretary of State reveals that more than half the people she met with from outside government were Clinton Foundation donors:
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.
The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton.
The AP notes that its review did not include 16 foreign government leaders who had donated $170 million to the Foundation because she would arguably have met with those leaders anyway.
This may not have been illegal but the fact that 55% of Clinton’s meetings and calls with private interests were with major Clinton Foundation donors does more than fuel “perceptions.” The numbers the Associated Press has assembled represent proof of Clinton’s favoritism toward donors on the macro scale. Meanwhile, recently published emails have shown the same favoritism on the micro scale, i.e. Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band interceding for Foundation donors with the State Department to arrange meetings or other favors.
An email chain published Monday by Judicial Watch showed Band requesting a meeting with Clinton on behalf of the Crown Prince of Bahrain, a major donor to Foundation projects. Band’s email to Clinton aide Huma Abedin described the prince as a, “Good friend of ours.” Abedin replied that Clinton had already said no to the request for a meeting through officials channels but two days later Clinton changed her mind and agreed to the meeting.
Another set of emails published earlier this month by Judicial Watch showed Band asking Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin to “take care of” an unnamed associate. Abedin responded to that request saying, “Personnel has been sending him options.”
Ethicists contacted by Politico earlier this month said Clinton had violated the spirit of her ethics pledge by allowing her top aides to coordinate with the Clinton Foundation, even if she had not violated the letter of the pledge by doing so herself.