Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Clinton cash raises questions
Pot, meet kettle. For all the gleeful squeals from Hillary and her minions, one would think the putative Democrat nominee for president has no scandals to haunt her. That would be wrong.
I do not refer to violations of State Department regulations or various portions of the U.S. code dealing with protection of classified information. I refer instead to a plausible reason Hillary wanted to keep her emails private. Something simple: avarice and fear of getting caught selling favors while in office.
Consider: When the Clintons left the White House in 2000, they were “broke,” according to Hillary. Now their net worth is estimated to be around $40 million, although this seems a bit low; the two have recorded roughly $230 million in earnings since 2001, $153 million of it in speaking fees, an average of over $15 million a year, although most of it has piled in since 2009. Which gives us a clue about the controversy.
Let’s take education. Sure, we’ve heard about “Trump University,” that juiced-up real estate training program. But how about “Laureate International Universities,” an educational conglomerate that paid Bill Clinton $16.5 million as “honorary chairman” between 2009 and 2014. Why?
In 2009, Laureate received 11 grants from the Department of State and USAID for a total of $11 million. In 2010, they received $15.1 million. By 2012, it was $25.5 million, including “directed” non-competitive grants. All told, $55 million in taxpayer dollars paid, despite a class-action lawsuit — “Travis et. al. vs Walden International LLC” — dismissed at District Court in 2015 without explanation. Good work if one can get it.
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Contacts help. Case in point is Anthony Podesta: longtime friend, donor and fund bundler for Hillary, whose brother John is former Chief-of-Staff for Bill Clinton and currently his lobbying partner/bagman for Saudi Arabia, as well as Clinton’s Campaign Chairman. For the past few years the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been channeling large sums of money into the Clinton Foundation; between $10 and $25 million, no one is certain. Another group called the “Friends of Saudi Arabia” has given $1 and $5 million. Concurrently, legislation harmful to Saudi Arabia was kept at bay.
This was only one instance of pay-to-play. All told, the Foundation took in more than $100 million from Middle East leaders alone in the past 10-12 years. According to “Charity Navigator” and other reliable evaluators of charities, some of it went to do good. How much, exactly, no one can say. But a substantial percentage, perhaps as much as 80 percent, was diverted to “administrative expenses,” one reason Charity Navigator no longer recommends the Foundation.
Probably the worst example of malfeasance involved “Uranium One,” now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear power and uranium-mining conglomerate. Between 2009 and 2013, Rosatom bought a controlling interest in Canadian company Uranium One, who in turn had been negotiating to buy large in-ground reserves of uranium in the US. Since uranium is a strategic material this purchase required approval by the State Department.
Between 2009 and 2013, large sums of money flowed into the Clinton Foundation from Canada. Uranium One’s chairman used his family’s foundation to fork over $2.35 million, its ultimate origin untraceable. None of this was reported to either the State Department, as required by regulations, nor to the White House as Hillary agreed when she became Barack Obama’s Secretary of State. To better grease the skids, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 directly for a one-hour speech to a Kremlin cutout: a Russian investment bank with a large position in Rosatom.
Uranium One now controls 25 percent of known U.S. uranium reserves. Rosatom controls Uranium One. And according to Hillary Clinton’s State Department, everything about the deal was legit.
On a more intimate scale there is Rajiv K. Fernando, whose donations to the Clinton Foundation of between $100,000 and $250,000 bought the high-frequency trader and Clinton bundler a seat on the International Security Advisory Board, where he was perfectly placed to personally profit from insider knowledge about the security posture of the United States. Recently-released emails show that in the ensuing kerfuffle, only two worries existed: that the good name of the Secretary be preserved, and that the public perception of a well-run vetting process be “protected.”
Thus, Hillary Clinton, the Cabinet Secretary who has most profited from her position since Albert Fall. She says we’re “stronger together,” but it’s clear the only strength she’s interest in is that of her bottom line.
It’s still not too late.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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