Is Hillary Clinton a victim of negative campaigning orchestrated by her Republican opponents? Since making her candidacy for the White House official on April 12, the ex-first lady has been the subject of a series of embarrassing revelations. After email-gate — Hillary Clinton, who used her personal mailbox when she was secretary of state in the Obama administration, is suspected of having deleted certain compromising emails — it is now the Clinton Foundation’s turn to give rise to controversy.
For several weeks now, the American media — and her Republican opponents — have been questioning the relationship between the Clinton couple and the foundation’s donors. This nonprofit organization, founded by former Democratic President Bill Clinton, enables the Clinton clan to maintain links with an impressive network of top bosses, multimillionaire philanthropists and political leaders throughout the world.
The increase in donations from foreign companies and governments is currently being questioned. Did Hillary Clinton use her position as secretary of state between 2009 and 2013 to her advantage in order to favor the foundation’s donors? That is what Peter Schweizer, former member of the conservative think tank, the Hoover Institution, is suggesting in a book to be published on May 5 entitled “Clinton Cash” — and which is already in the hands of the American press.
And so on Thursday, The New York Times published information on the links between Uranium One — a Canadian company with shares in American uranium mines — and the Clinton Foundation. According to the American daily newspaper, Ian Telfer, president of Uranium One, made four sizable donations to the Clinton Foundation — via his own charitable organization — amounting to a total of $2.35 million.
Now, 2010 saw the start of the takeover of Uranium One by Rosatom, the Russian atomic energy agency. This sale of strategic assets, completed in 2013, required the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a panel notably tasked with preventing the takeover of certain American companies in the event of national security issues. As a member of this committee, the Department of State, led by Hillary Clinton at the time, had one vote along with several federal agencies. There is, however, no indication that the former secretary of state intervened in this decision.
“Distractions,” According to Hillary
Ian Telfer assures The New York Times that his donations have nothing to do with this financial operation. In the Republican camp, however, they are pointing the finger at potential conflicts of interest. The facts revealed by Peter Schweizer’s book will be “alarming and mind-boggling,” warned Kentucky senator Rand Paul, a candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination, on Fox News on Monday. The Clinton camp is shrugging off these accusations, alluding to “absurd conspiracy theories.” “Well, we’re back into the political season and therefore we will be subjected to all kinds of distractions and attacks, and I’m ready for that,” Hillary Clinton herself declared.
It remains that the links between the presidential candidate and the foundation raise serious ethical questions that could become a hindrance for her campaign just as Hillary Clinton — accused of being too close to the world of business — is seeking to give the image of a woman who is closer to the average American.
According to The Washington Post, Bill Clinton received at least $26 million for speeches given at the invitation of a few major donors to the Clinton Foundation. “The amount, about one-quarter of Clinton’s overall speaking income between 2001 and 2013, demonstrates how closely intertwined Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charitable work has become with their growing personal wealth,” the American newspaper wrote on Thursday.