"Clinton Cash" Spurred the Press to Action. How About the FBI?
By Peter Schweizer, Government Accountability Institute
In early 2015, with the release of my new book “Clinton Cash” imminent, I reached out to major news organizations with an offer: Take a look at the book’s investigation into the overlap of interests among Clinton Foundation donors, sponsors of speeches by Bill Clinton, and entities with business before the State Department, and do your own reporting. The New York Times, Washington Post and ABC News, among others, took me up on my proposal.
The results: The Times ran a 4,000-word front-page story on how Canadian mining investors who bought and then sold a uranium-mining company to the Russian government had donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while the sensitive sale was pending approval by the U.S. State Department. The Post and Bloomberg uncovered more than 1,000 undisclosed donors to the Foundation, a direct violation of the “memorandum of understanding” the Clintons signed with the Obama administration. And ABC News confirmed that Bill Clinton gave speeches sponsored by the Irish telecom billionaire Denis O’Brien around the same time as key events that helped O’Brien’s company Digicel receive American tax dollars and increase market share in Haiti after its 2010 earthquake.
Those reports were only some of those that confirmed facts in the book and built on them through independent reporting. In the 18 months since “Clinton Cash” was released, several of the story lines and fact-patterns the book outlined have been not only validated but amplified.
“Clinton Cash” documented the sad reality of Haiti’s efforts to recover from the earthquake as well as the role both Clintons played in the process, with those in and around the Clinton orbit seeming to benefit more than the Haitians themselves. No example better illustrates this than Hillary’s brother Tony Rodham, who joined the board of little-known VCS Mining only months after it was awarded a very rare gold mining permit in Haiti.
What the book didn’t say, but the Washington Post did in its independent reporting after reviewing an advance copy, was that the Chief Executive Officer of VCS Mining, Angelo Viard, and Tony Rodham met at a Clinton Global Initiative event in September 2012, just months before VCS would be awarded the permit.
“Clinton Cash” also documented how the State Department dedicated over $170 million in taxpayer dollars to build an industrial park in a northern Haitian town called Caracol. The main tenant of that industrial park was a Korean garment company called Sae-A. “Clinton Cash” documented how the companies that would be able to import the clothes from Caracol tariff-free had all donated to the Foundation or to various Clinton campaigns in years past.
And ABC News, in a three-part series on Haiti and the role the Clinton Foundation played in its recovery, noted how Woong-ki Kim, the Chief Executive Officer of Sae-A, would also become an initial investor in BlackIvy, the new consulting firm of Cheryl Mills, a top Hillary Clinton aide and lawyer.
ABC would also report that during the reconstruction effort in Haiti, “Friends of Bill” got special access to contracts in Haiti.
Because of unauthorized email disclosures by WikiLeaks, we now know that the Clinton campaign was alerted to the existence of “Clinton Cash” on March 21, 2015, which a Harper Collins press release revealed would include revelations on, among other things, the sale of American uranium interests to the Russian government.
According to the Clintons, Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernandez was the State Department figure who oversaw the approval of the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom, the Russian owned nuclear agency.
What we didn’t know when the book came out was that Fernandez was looking to secure a future role through John Podesta, who was heading up Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President. On March 30,, Fernandez wrote Podesta to thank him for a recommendation that helped Fernandez to join the board of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank close to the Clintons and the Obama Administration. Fernandez asked Podesta if he would be able to meet the following week.
On April 17, 2015, six days before the Uranium One story appeared in the New York Times, Fernandez wrote Podesta again, thanking him for taking the time to meet with him and saying, “I would like to do all I can to support Secretary Clinton, and would welcome your advice and help in steering me to the right persons in the campaign.”
On April 22, the day before the Times story on Uranium One ran, Time magazine ran a story quoting Fernandez as calling the book’s reporting “absurd conspiracy theories.” He added that “Secretary Clinton never intervened with me” on any matter before the inter-agency review board with authority over such matters.
But subsequent reporting by ABC News, the Washington Post, Bloomberg and others further suggests that Clinton supporters appeared to have more than just benevolent intentions.
Thanks to reporting by the Wall Street Journal and others, we now know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has undertaken an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, and has based part of its initial approach on the reporting in the book. If so many other media outlets have been able to build upon the book’s reporting, doesn’t it stand to reason that federal law enforcement officials might be able to as well?
Even the Clinton Foundation’s own internal audit revealed that some donors “may have an expectation of quid pro quo benefits in return for gifts.” That hasn’t stopped some from trying to smear the FBI investigation as a partisan witch hunt. But to do so ignores serious, independent reporting by major media outlets, publicly available documents, and, it seems, the truth.
Peter Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute and the author of "Clinton Cash."