Did Hillary provide favors to big time donors?
President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a new investigation into the Clinton Foundation over “pay to play” allegations.
Over the past year or so, Judicial Watch has dumped numerous emails when failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state under President Barack Obama and quite a few showed connections between Clinton Foundation donors and Hillary.
The Hill reported:
FBI agents from Little Rock, Ark., where the Foundation was started, have taken the lead in the investigation and have interviewed at least one witness in the last month, and law enforcement officials said additional activities are expected in coming weeks.
The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.
The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the Foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said.
The witness told The Hill that the interview was “extremely professional and unquestionably thorough.” The FBI mainly asked questions “about whether donors to Clinton charitable efforts received any favorable treatment from the Obama administration on a policy decision previously highlighted in media reports.”
Clinton Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian told Fox News that the foundation has not done anything wrong. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill insists the investigation is just a way for Trump “to distract the public.”
We at Legal Insurrection have blogged about the allegations as they came out. In September 2016, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) asked then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to start an investigation into the “pay to play” allegations after 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.
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.
Band went back to Abedin about visas for the members of Wolverhampton Football Club from the UK. Apparently the team had a hard time receiving visas due to one member’s “criminal charge.” Band asked this favor on behalf “of Casey Wasserman, a millionaire Hollywood sports entertainment executive and President of the Wasserman Foundation.” Wasserman donated “between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation through the Wasserman Foundation.”
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.”
U2 frontman Bono even tried to receive favors:
The Abedin emails reveal that even U2’s Bono got into the act when former Bill Clinton aide Ben Schwerin, who helped set up the Clinton Foundation, urged Abedin to help the aging rock star broadcast from the international space station. In a May 27, 2009, email with the subject line “Bono/NASA,” Schwerin wrote, “Bono wants to do linkup with the international space station on every show during the tour this year.… Any ideas? Thks.” Bono has been a donor to the Clinton Global Initiative. And in 2011, he gathered top entertainers for “A Decade of Difference: A Concert Celebrating 10 Years of the William J. Clinton Foundation.” According to USA Today, “Some tickets were sold to the public for $50 to $550, and premium seats went for $1,000 to $5,000 on the Foundation website.”
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