The Clintons are facing a new scandal that will no doubt be deemed, “Foundationgate.” A new book, authored by Peter Schweitzer, raises questions about Clinton Foundation finances and favor-for-funding. The book is entitled, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” and it is turning more than just conservative heads. The New York Times and The Washington Post each reported that they have exclusive rights to pursue certain story lines within the release.
Peter Schweitzer currently works for the conservative Hoover Institute and earned his GOP credentials as a speechwriter for the George W. Bush administration. However, having worked for legitimate investigative news organizations like CBS’s “60 Minutes,” it is hard to dismiss Schweitzer as just another Republican mouthpiece. Industry insiders who have had advance access to the book point to Schweitzer’s matter-of-fact perspective in reporting as adding credibility to the book versus an opinion or commentary approach to the presentation of the material.
The Clintons have been the focus of criticism for the acceptance of donations by their foundation from the same foreign governments that Hillary was working with during her tenure as Secretary of State. During this period of time, the former president, on behalf of the foundation, received over $48 million in speaking fees. Many countries like Saudi Arabia, who has given literally millions, have horrible human rights and women’s rights records. However, this book goes much farther with specificity that many are saying represents the “smoking gun” of corruption. It raises questions about what official actions Clinton might have taken in exchange for donations to the foundation and it spotlights a new scandal that will undoubted be labeled, “Foundationgate,” by the media.
Schweitzer reports of a free-trade agreement for the country of Columbia that directly benefitted a huge South American donor’s natural resource investments. When running for president in 2008, prior to the donation and her Secretary of State appointment, Hillary had opposed the trade agreement because of the country’s workers-rights history. Yet in 2010, the State Department lauded Columbia’s record, approved the free-trade agreement and allowed Frank Guistra, and his Canadian-based company, Pacific Ribiales, to rake in millions. Interestingly, Guistra serves as a board member of the Clinton Foundation.
Schweitzer also looked at huge development contracts that were awarded to foundation members after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Hillary Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, who is a board member of a tiny North Carolina mining company, received one of two “gold exploitation permits” from the Haitian government. These permits were the first issued by that government in over 50 years. According to Schweitzer, Bill Clinton was also paid $1 million by a Canadian interest that is a major shareholder in the Keystone XL pipeline project while the U.S. Department of State, under Hillary’s leadership, was reviewing the project.
Perhaps one of the most alarming points in the book, Schweitzer points out that of the 13 speeches for which Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 or more, only two occurred when his wife was not Secretary of State. Regardless of these allegations, there is no denying that the Clintons have amassed incredible wealth since they left the White House “broke,” as Hillary claimed in her autobiography. Estimates now put the couple’s combined net worth at $200 million.
Peter Schweitzer’s book goes on sale May 5. It raises new questions and leaves the Clintons facing a scandal that will undoubtedly be deemed “Foundationgate.”
Opinion by Chris Marion
Photo by Karen Murphy – Flickr License