In the horde of emails concerning U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton exposed by Wikileaks last month, it was revealed that yet another abysmally high donation from a foreign donor was made to the Clinton Foundation. This week the foundation confirmed it accepted a US$1 million gift from Qatar while Clinton was U.S. secretary of state — without informing the State Department.
The acceptance was made despite her promise to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interests.
Qatar, with its malevolent record on human rights, pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband, and sought to meet the former U.S. president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman John Podesta.
Clinton had signed an ethics agreement governing her family’s globe-straddling foundation in order to become secretary of state in 2009. The agreement was designed to increase transparency to avoid appearances that U.S. foreign policy could be swayed by wealthy donors.
The ethics agreement had ironically been hashed out by top aides for both U.S. President Barack Obama and Clinton Foundation officials. It stipulated that if a new foreign government wished to donate or if an existing foreign government donor, such as Qatar, wanted to “increase materially” its support of ongoing programs, the State Department’s ethics official should be notified and be given the chance to raise any concerns.
Just last month, Clinton Foundation officials declined to confirm the Qatar donation. But in response to increased provocation, a foundation spokesman, Brian Cookstra, this week said that it accepted the US$1 million gift from Qatar.
The State Department has said it has no record of the foundation submitting the Qatar gift for review, and that it was incumbent on the foundation to notify the department about donations that needed attention.
According to the foundation’s website, which lists donors in broad categories by cumulative amounts donated, Qatar’s government has directly given a total of between US$1 million and US$5 million over the years. However, it’s not the only foreign donor that the foundation has accepted funds from. Saudi Arabia, Morocco Algeria, Kuwait and Oman are the others.
The spate of emails has also revealed Clinton’s amicable support of Wall Street, her vision of unfettered international trade, and her praise for a budget-balancing plan that would have required cuts to Social Security.
The Clinton Foundation has said it would no longer accept money from foreign governments if Clinton is elected president and would spin off those programs that are dependent on foreign governments.