Trouble in Clintonland
A report released today by the International Business Times suggests the Clinton Foundation was indeed a thoroughfare for trading influence and political favors.
Unless of course the timing was purely coincidental, IBT’s report indicates the Clinton Foundation accepted money from a Colombian oil company while Clinton was serving as Secretary of State. After procuring the donation, Secretary Clinton then decided to support a Colombian trade agreement, though she’d vocally opposed it during the 2008 election cycle.
The IBT report found:
For union organizers in Colombia, the dangers of their trade were intensifying. When workers at the country’s largest independent oil company staged a strike in 2011, the Colombian military rounded them up at gunpoint and threatened violence if they failed to disband, according to human rights organizations. Similar intimidation tactics against the workers, say labor leaders, amounted to an everyday feature of life.
…Yet as union leaders and human rights activists conveyed these harrowing reports of violence to then-Secretary of State Clinton in late 2011, urging her to pressure the Colombian government to protect labor organizers, she responded first with silence, these organizers say. The State Department publicly praised Colombia’s progress on human rights, thereby permitting hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to flow to the same Colombian military that labor activists say helped intimidate workers.
At the same time that Clinton’s State Department was lauding Colombia’s human rights record, her family was forging a financial relationship with Pacific Rubiales, the sprawling Canadian petroleum company at the center of Colombia’s labor strife. The Clintons were also developing commercial ties with the oil giant’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, who now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global philanthropic empire.
But it gets better:
The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it “strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.” The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.
Thus far, Clinton’s private email and mysteriously empty private server tales have dominated headlines, and for good reason. That the embattled former Secretary of State may have quite literally traded diplomatic favors in exchange for private donations is even more concerning.
If we’re to look at EmailGate and the Clinton Foundation allegations as layers, or strata of the same scandal, the facts that Clinton 1) used a personal email account and 2) that her private server was supposedly wiped clean, make more sense than if the two are separated into self-sustaining scandals. Further, if may provide context for why Mrs. Clinton opted to wander down the unprecedented path of being the sole proprietor of her official records.
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