Trying to touch the untouchables.
Sorry, Hillary. But your email scandal will not go away, especially as more batches of emails and reports show strong connections between mega Clinton Foundation donors and the State Department.
In fact, as more evidence piles up, 50 House Republicans have asked the Justice Department for a new probe into the Clinton Foundation over alleged “pay to play” from donors gain access to Hillary when she served as Secretary of State.
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) penned the letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch due to an Associated Press report that the majority of the people who met with Hillary during her term “gave money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation.” The AP reported:
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.
Ratcliffe told Lynch that the evidence in the AP report warrants a Special Counsel:
All of this makes it very unclear where the State Department ended and where the Clinton Foundation began. Official business of the United States government, the State Department most certainly included, should be conducted in a manner that prioritizes the best interests of the American people, not the special needs of the well-connected donors to a largely unaccountable foundation.
Judicial Watch’s investigation into Hillary’s private email server has brought the majority of these allegations to light. In one email, Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band asked Hillary’s aide Huma Abedin to schedule a meeting with the Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain, reminding her the man is a “good friend of ours.”
Band also asked Abedin and aide Cheryl Mills about a favor for a friend and reminded them “it is important to take care of [redacted].” Officials blacked out the name, but Abedin said “Personnel has been sending him options.” He also asked them to put the department’s “key guy” to Lebanon in touch with Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire and donor Gilbert Chagoury.
Clinton fundraiser Lana Moresky asked Clinton to provide a job for someone. Clinton herself told Abedin “to follow up and ‘help’ the applicant and told Abedin to ‘let me know’ about the job issue.”
The Clinton family tried to make the controversy go away by stating that they will stop accepting foreign and corporate donations if Hillary wins the presidency. This only brought more confusion to GOP lawmakers. Ratcliffe wrote:
Further casting a shadow of doubt over this arrangement is the recent announcement by the Clinton Foundation that it will stop accepting donations from foreign governments if Hillary Clinton is elected President of the United States. This begs the obvious question about why an inappropriately cozy relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the President of the United States is deemed unethical, but the same relationship between the foundation and the Secretary of State or candidate for president were not.
He has a valid point and others have raised the same doubts. The Boston Globe editorial board said the family should shut down if Hillary wins in November:
The inherent conflict of interest was obvious when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009. She promised to maintain a separation between her official work and the foundation, but recently released emails written by staffers during her State Department tenure make clear that the supposed partition was far from impregnable. That was bad enough at State; if the Clinton Foundation continues to cash checks from foreign governments and other individuals seeking to ingratiate themselves with a President Hillary Clinton, it would be unacceptable.
Winding down the foundation, and transferring its assets to some other established charity, doesn’t have to hurt charitable efforts. If the foundation’s donors are truly motivated by altruism, and not by the lure of access to the Clintons, then surely they can find other ways to support the foundation’s goals. And in four or eight years, the Clinton family could always form a new foundation and reestablish their charitable efforts.
Even The New York Times has urged the entire Clinton family to step away from the foundation even before the November election:
Mrs. Clinton has said she intends to give Mr. Clinton a role in her administration. Cutting his foundation ties would demonstrate that he is giving any role he would have in the administration the priority it deserves. It would also send a signal that Mrs. Clinton and her family have heard the concerns of critics and supporters and will end any further possibility for the foundation to become a conduit to the White House for powerful influence seekers.
The Clinton Foundation has become a symbol of the Clintons’ laudable ambitions, but also of their tangled alliances and operational opacity. If Mrs. Clinton wins, it could prove a target for her political adversaries. Achieving true distance from the foundation is not only necessary to ensure its effectiveness, it is an ethical imperative for Mrs. Clinton.
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