Empty Promises About the Clinton Foundation

In response to a recent op-ed written by the editorial board of the Boston Globe, Hillary Clinton promised the Clinton Foundation would stop accepting foreign and corporate donations if she becomes President. This move provides her campaign with positive publicity, yet it remains unclear as to what extent these donations would not be allowed, and how past donations bought influence and favors when she served as Secretary of State.

The Clinton Foundation is an unprecedented abomination to American democracy. Under the pretenses of charitable work, the foundation has furthered the interests of the Clintons and their corporate and wealthy donors across the globe. It has also blurred the lines between donations and off-the-record political favors, while providing the Clintons with plausible deniability of auctioning off access to the most politically powerful couple in modern U.S. history.

The Clinton Foundation has accepted large contributions from foreign dictatorships and corporations which have never shown any other interest in supporting the charitable causes the foundation cites as its focus. As a means to obscure its list of donors, the foundation has created branches of initiatives, such as the Clinton Global Initiative, and a Canadian affiliate, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. These subsidiaries failed to disclose over 1,000 foreign donations, violating Hillary Clinton’s promise to the White House Administration to annually disclose contributors to the Clinton Foundation. Despite this promise, Hillary Clinton appointed a Clinton Foundation donor to an intelligence board upon his request when he had no qualifications for the position. She abided instructions from one of her prominent donors, billionaire George Soros, to intervene in Albanian politics.

During her tenure as Secretary of State, donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation correlated to large increases in weapons exports from the U.S. to the countries which donated. With Hillary Clinton’s help, Clinton Foundation donor Claudio Osorio won a $10 million loan in 2010 from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation meant to be used to build houses in Haiti. Corrupt Venezuelan Banker Gonzalo Tirado hired Jonathan Mantz, a Clinton fundraiser, and made a donation to the Clinton Foundation in order to avoid being extradited to Venezuela whileClinton served as Secretary of State.

As more e-mails are released from Hillary Clinton’s service at the State Department, new revelations debunking claims the Clinton Foundation and State Department remained independent of one another. On August 9th, of 44 e-mailsreleased to Judicial Watch in response to a FOIA request revealed a Clinton Foundation executive connecting a billionaire Clinton Foundation donor with the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon because they had business interests in the country. One of Clinton’s top aides at the State Department, Cheryl Mills, was also exposed in the e-mails to have conducted interviews with job candidates for the Clinton Foundation.

Before accepting her position as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, Hillary Clinton signed a promise to keep the Clinton Foundation apart from her work at the State Department, and to exercise transparency so no conflicts of interest were present. This promise was violated on a regular basis, suggesting Clinton never had an intention of keeping it. Based on her record, it is safe to suggest this new promise as a reaction to recent Clinton Foundation revelations and sharp criticism from the editorial board of a major newspaper publication, is virtually meaningless.

“The foundation should remove a political — and actual — distraction and stop accepting funding,” wrote the Boston Globe editorial board on August 16th. “If Clinton is elected, the foundation should be shut down.” The foundation should have been shut down before Clinton began serving as Senator of New York. As long as either Bill or Hillary Clinton serve or attempt to serve as political servants to either elected or appointed offices, they should not be operating  an entity that thrives off of donations from the very same foreign governments, corporations, and wealthy influences these elected offices are meant to regulate and maintain diplomatic relations with in the public interest.

Michael Sainato’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Buffalo News, the Hill, Alternet, and several other publications . Follow him on twitter: @MSainat1