Published time: 5 Nov, 2016 14:42
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton
© Brian Snyder / Reuters
On the heels of damning WikiLeaks revelations, the Clinton Foundation has confirmed allegations that it received a $1 million ‘gift’ from Qatar without telling the State Department, breaking a signed agreement requiring it to reveal all foreign donations.
The payment, which was first revealed in an email exchange with Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta a month ago, has just been officially confirmed by the Foundation. The check was reportedly a gift to former President Bill Clinton in 2011 for his 65h birthday. A meeting was to take place between him and Qatari officials at some point, according to an email published last month. It is not clear if this ever took place, however.
Earlier in 2009, when Clinton became Secretary of State, she had to sign an agreement to prevent any conflicts of interest which stipulated that her influential global foundation could not receive any support from foreign sources without her notifying the State Department, according to Reuters. This was intended to ensure transparency and combat public perception that US foreign policy could be dictated by foreign money.
The agreement was also designed to give the State Department time to examine donations and raise any concerns in cases when a foreign entity wanted to “increase materially”the funding for any of the Foundation’s programs.
However, Clinton kept the $1 million check from Qatar a secret. While Foundation officials declined to confirm its existence last month, with just days to go before the election, the daily WikiLeaks revelations, and the FBI’s relaunched investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server gaining momentum, its spokesman, Brian Cookstra, finally admitted to receiving the money, though he insisted that the sum did not qualify as a “material increase” in Qatari support of the foundation.
When Cookstra was asked by Reuters what the Foundation considered an increase in funding, he refused to specify, only saying that the Qatar donations were intended for “overall humanitarian work.”
For additional comments, Reuters tried to contact the Qatari embassy, the Clinton presidential campaign and Bill Clinton personally, but received no response from any.
Although Cookstra said the sum did not constitute an increase in funding, there is evidence of at least eight other countries besides Qatar whose donations can clearly be construed as an ‘increase in funding.’ This includes the UK, which tripled the sum slated for the Foundation’s health project to $11.2 million in the years 2009-2012.
When questioned by Reuters last year, Cookstra admitted that a complete list of donors hadn’t been published since 2010. In other cases, the Foundation said that there was either no increase in funding, or that a particular donation had simply slipped past unnoticed, and should have been caught earlier.
The only thing that’s certain, and spelled out on the Foundation’s website, is that it received up to $5 million from the Gulf Kingdom over the years. However, the Foundation appears to want all of this to be relegated to the past. It promised in August that, if Hillary becomes president, it will stop accepting money from all foreign governments and close down any ongoing programs sustained by those funds.
According to Foundation records and testimony, the Qatar money continued to come in at “equal or lower” levels after 2009, but it declined to specify the differences in the funding before and after that period, or if it had changed significantly after Clinton took on the post of secretary of state.
A former Foundation fundraiser details some $21 million raised for Bill Clinton’s birthday in another email.
The Foundation’s somewhat forced admission that it had received Qatari money comes shortly after a recently leaked email exchange between Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, from 2014 startlingly
The WikiLeaks founder points to clear evidence that Clinton knew about her donors’ questionable dealings as early as several years back. The 2014 email from Clinton to Podesta says “that ISIL, ISIS is funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar – the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” according to Assange.
Assange admitted to Pilger, “I actually think this is the most significant email in the whole collection.”
“And perhaps because Saudi and Qatari money is spread all over the place, including into many media institutions, all serious analysts know, even the US government has mentioned or agreed with that some Saudi figures have been supporting ISIS, funding ISIS. But the dodge has always been, that’s… what… it’s just some rogue princes using their cut of the oil money to do what they like, but actually the government disapproves. But that email says that – no, it is the governments of Saudi and the government of Qatar that have been funding ISIS.”
Pilger and Assange go on to discuss Clinton as a “cog” in a greater machine involving big business, banks, and “a network of relationships with particular states.”According to Assange, she is “the centralizer that interconnects all these different cogs.”