Late last month we outlined an IBTimes report which showed that Goldman Sachs paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to Bill Clinton for a speech before lobbying the State Department (then run by Hillary Clinton) on legislation tied to the Export-Import Bank which would eventually approved a loan to a Chinese company that subsequently placed a $75 million purchase order with a Goldman-owned aircraft manufacturer. The implication, of course, was that the speaking engagement fee ultimately influenced the State Department’s decision making, a suggestion Goldman called “preposterous.”
The Clintons have also come under scrutiny for possible conflicts of interest arising from contributions to Clinton Foundation charities while Hillary Clinton served as the nation’s top diplomat. More specifically, a Reuters investigation revealed that the Foundation failed to report “tens of millions” of donations from foreign governments on three years’ worth of 990s, prompting the organization’s acting CEO Maura Pally to pen a lengthy blog post explaining the “mistake.” Shortly thereafter, Reuters found inaccuracies in Pally’s explanation, noting that in fact, Clinton broke transparency promises made to the Obama administration.
Now, the IBTimes is out with a new investigative piece that looks at the relationship between foreign government and corporate donors to Clinton charities and weapons deals negotiated under Hillary Clinton’s State Department which, as it turns out, approved $165 billion in arms deals to nations who had previously given money to the Clinton Foundation.
In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing -- the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 -- contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.
The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.
Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term…
The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House.
These deals benefited the usual Middle East suspects with whom the Obama administration is now coordinating for the ouster of Assad...
The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.
...and were consummated even as Clinton herself acknowledged an explicit link between some beneficiaries and funding for the very same terrorists who are now set to become a scapegoat for the very same Assad ouster…
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also accused some of these countries of failing to marshal a serious and sustained campaign to confront terrorism. In a December 2009 State Department cable published by Wikileaks, Clinton complained of “an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.” She declared that “Qatar's overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region.”
... and in case there was any doubt about Clinton's ability to influence weapons sales to foreign governments…
Questions about the nexus of arms sales and Clinton Foundation donors stem from the State Department’s role in reviewing the export of American-made weapons. The agency is charged with both licensing direct commercial sales by U.S. defense contractors to foreign governments and alsoapproving Pentagon-brokered sales to those governments. Those powers are enshrined in a federal law that specifically designates the secretary of state as “responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales” of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In that role, Hillary Clinton was empowered to approve or reject deals for a broad range of reasons, from national security considerations to human rights concerns.
The report doesn’t stop there. There are also links between the Clintons and the military-industrial complex with the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and United Technologies all donating money to the Foundation before being listed as contractors on more than 100 arms deals.
That group of arms manufacturers -- along with Clinton Foundation donors Boeing, Honeywell, Hawker Beechcraft and their affiliates -- were together listed as contractors in 114 such deals while Clinton was secretary of state...
Boeing was one of three companies that helped deliver money personally to Bill Clinton while benefiting from weapons authorizations issued by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The others were Lockheed and the financial giant Goldman Sachs.
In the end, this serves as further evidence that the person who is viewed, at least for the time being, as the likely next US Commander in Chief, has in the past been susceptible to the influence of foreign governments whose cash contributions to Clinton charities may have served to shape US weapons deals with Washington's Middle Eastern allies. We'll close with the following from Harvard professor Stephen Walt:
American foreign policy is better served if people responsible for it are not even remotely suspected of having these conflicts of interest.
We wish you the best of luck with that Mr. Walt.