As Hillary Clinton’s bid for The White House ramps up, contributions to The Clinton Foundation charities have come under increased scrutiny.
First, a Reuters investigation revealed that contributions from foreign governments had inexplicably disappeared from tax documents starting in 2010, prompting the charity to refile five years worth of returns. The ‘omission’ was characterized as a “mistake” by the foundation’s acting CEO who, in a lengthy blog post, promised that the organization had been careful to avoid conflicts of interest when Clinton was Secretary of State. It later turned out that Clinton may not have kept all of her promises to the Obama administration when it came to avoiding such conflicts.
Further investigative reports from the IBTimes outlined two particularly interesting cases where payments to the Clintons and/or their charities may have influenced policy decisions.
In one case, Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton $200,000 for a speech before lobbying the Clinton-led State Department on Export-Import Bank legislation and on multiple occasions, foreign government donors to the Clinton Foundation were awarded arms deals which, when taken together, were worth more than $150 billion.
Now, the IBTimes is back at it, with a look at the Clinton State Departments’ chemical arms sales to Middle Eastern governments who gave to Clinton family charities. Here’s more via IBTimes:
The Clinton-run State Department’s approval of chemical and biological exports to the Egyptian government increased in volume just as dollars flowed from Mubarak-linked entities into the coffers of Clinton family concerns. A group closely associated with the Mubarak government paid Bill Clinton a $250,000 speaking fee in 2010, less than 4 months before the Egyptian revolution began. In 2012, a firm with an ownership stake in the company that manufactured the tear gas reportedly used by Egyptian security forces against the uprising paid $100,000 to $250,000 for another Bill Clinton speech.
The approval of American chemical weapons sales to Egypt as Mubarak’s associates were stocking Clinton family interests with cash is but one example of a dynamic that prevailed though Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
(Clinton with Mubarak)
During the roughly two years of Arab Spring protests that confronted authoritarian governments with popular uprisings, Clinton’s State Department approved $66 million worth of so-called Category 14 exports -- defined as "toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment" -- to nine Middle Eastern governments that either donated to the Clinton Foundation or whose affiliated groups paid Bill Clinton speaking fees.
That represented a 50 percent overall increase in such export approvals to the same countries over the two years prior to the Arab Spring, according to an International Business Times review of State Department documents. In the same time period, Arab countries that did not donate to the Clinton Foundation saw an overall decrease in their State Department approvals to purchase chemical and biological materials.
The reports released by Clinton's state department since 2010 disclose overall export numbers. For instance, in 2010, export authorizations to Egypt’s government for chemical and biological agents saw a one-year, 38 percent increase in the lead-up to the revolution against Mubarak’s government. That year, the Mubarak-aligned American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt paid Bill Clinton $250,000. Two close Mubarak allies were past presidents of the group, one of whom reportedly was sent to lobby Washington against a proposed resolution that would call on Mubarak to have free and fair elections.
In all, in the two years after Bill Clinton was paid by the Mubarak-aligned group -- and as uprisings against the Egyptian government swept the country -- the Clinton-led State Department backed a 12 percent increase in exports to Egypt in the biological and chemical agents category.
As discussed at length in these pages over the past several years, US foreign policy in Egypt has been a miserable failure. Washington — and Clinton specifically — were forced to reverse course on their support for Mubarak after the country "democratically" elected the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi. Egypt's honeymoon with democracy was short-lived however and Morsi, after an ill-fated attempt to grant himself "special" powers, was overthrown in a military coup. He was sentenced to death last month.
(Clinton with Morsi)
Here's a bit more color from the IBTimes report...
Some Clinton Foundation donors from the Middle East did not see an increase in authorizations for toxicological agents during the Arab Spring, but did see big increases earlier, soon after Clinton came into office in 2009.
Algeria received just $2,110 worth of State Department authorizations in the chemical and biological weapons category in fiscal 2008. But the next fiscal year -- 80 percent of which was under Clinton’s tenure -- the country received more than $6 million worth of such Category 14 authorizations. Five-point-eight million dollars of the authorizations were for items classified as “tear gases and riot control agents.” The next year, the Algerian government gave the Clinton Foundation $500,000. Amid the Arab Spring revolts in 2011, Algerian security forces used tear gas on protesters in the capital.
...and here's a look at the numbers...
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Do not be surprised to see further revelations surface as the Presidential race heats up.
US foreign policy in the Middle East is notoriously fraught as Washington routinely seeks to support whichever regime seems most likely to advance America's narrowly construed, short-term interests. This dynamic is complicated further when the nation's top diplomat is also effectively in charge of an organization that accepts tens of millions in donations from the same governments with which the State Department conducts business.