FBI Investigating Clinton Foundation Pay to Play?
According to unconfirmed reports, the FBI is now investigating the possibility that donors were directed to the Clinton Foundation in return for favors from the State Department when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. This would be in addition to the ongoing investigation into Hillary’s use of a private email account for official business.
We hope the FBI is reviewing the circumstances described below that we uncovered and have already made public:
New York University (NYU) and the United Arab Emirates UAE)- We documented that Cheryl Mills, Hillary’s longtime aide and confidant, worked as State Department chief of staff while at the same time she was NYU general counsel from January to May 2009. She collected $198,000 from NYU during that period, while she also received a government paycheck.
Mills also continued to serve on the board of the Clinton Foundation for over a month after joining the State Department. Even worse, Mills also at the time sat on the board of something called the “NYU in Abu Dhabi Corporation.” NYU has a satellite campus in Abu Dhabi, bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi government. Abu Dhabi is one of seven monarchies comprising the UAE.
Mills' double-dipping was first reported by Alana Goodman in the Washington Free Beacon on June 24, 2015, and was the basis for a front-page Washington Post story on October 12, 2015 by Rosalind S. Helderman.
The Clinton/NYU/UAE relationship appears to have been a lucrative one for the Clintons, and offered an Arab nation unparalleled influence on and access to in the State Department.
Hillary gave the NYU commencement address in May, 2009. Bill received $600,000 for a UAE government event in 2011, and $175,000 in November 2009 for a speech in Abu Dhabi. Bill has given additional paid speeches in the UAE, including a 2013 address at NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus.
The Clinton Foundation has also received between $1 million and $5 million from the UAE government.
Fraudster Claudio Osorio- The second Clinton/State Department scheme uncovered by NLPC involves Clinton Foundation donor Claudio Osorio, who now sits in a federal penitentiary, serving a 12-year term for fraud. In 2013, he was convicted of bilking 10 investors out of $40 million and the federal government out of $10 million.
In 2010, both Clintons pushed for a $10 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to a company owned by Osorio called InnoVida. The loan was supposedly for building houses in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, but Osorio instead used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and to buy off politicians.
The loan was rushed through and Osorio was never required to provide an audited financial statement. Documents uncovered by NLPC show that Bill Clinton lined up a well-connected law firm to represent Osorio with OPIC, and Hillary Clinton went to bat for the project within the State Department. OPIC is technically an independent agency but submits its budget through the State Department.
InnoVida also hired Clinton insider Jonathan Mantz to lobby for the loan, paying his firm $300,000 in 2009 and 2010. Mantz was Hillary’s 2008 finance director and currently is a key figure in Priorities USA, a pro-Hillary super PAC.
Whereas Osorio’s Ponzi-like scams have generated headlines, and even an “American Greed” episode on CNBC, the Clintons' direct involvement in the OPIC loan had not been previously reported. It was discovered by NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm and Tom Anderson, director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, while sifting through documents at state and federal courthouses in Miami.
InnoVida went bankrupt in 2011. A court-appointed investigator found that over $30 million had been diverted to foreign bank accounts and had disappeared.
R. Allen Stanford Associate Gonzalo Tirado- The third scheme uncovered by NLPC involves another Mantz client, Gonzalo Tirado, who sought political asylum in the United States. Tirado was the longtime head of a Venezuelan bank owned by R. Allen Stanford, the Ponzi-scheme billionaire.
In response to Mantz’ efforts on behalf of Osorio, NLPC undertook an examination of Mantz’ other clients, and discovered his attempt to win asylum for Tirado.
Tirado paid Mantz $350,000 in 2011 to lobby the State Department to grant him asylum. Tirado also made substantial donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Although never charged with a crime in the United States, Tirado was an extremely dubious candidate for asylum. It is unclear whether he was granted asylum, but Tirado now lives openly in Miami, even as a score of Stanford victims still struggle to recover a portion of their investments.
The obvious question is why the FBI would seek indictments, or even investigate in the first place, any major Democratic party figure in light of the politicization of the Justice Department under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. After all, no one is going to be prosecuted for the IRS scandal, and Congressional lawbreakers like Charles Rangel, Alan Mollohan and Gregory Meeks have escaped prosecution.
Reportedly, the FBI has assigned 150 agents to the Clinton case, so what is going on here?
The director of the FBI is James Comey, a Republican. He was appointed by President Obama in June 2013 to a ten-year term.
From 2003 to 2005 Comey served as Deputy Attorney General, running the Justice Department on a day-to-day basis, under Attorney General John Ashcroft. From 2002 to 2003, he served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, appointed to both positions by President George W. Bush.
As Deputy Attorney General, he demonstrated an independent streak on at least one occasion. According to reporters Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, writing in the New York Times on January 1, 2006, Comey:
“…objected in 2004 to aspects of the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program and refused to sign on to its continued use amid concerns about its legality and oversight, according to officials with knowledge of the tense internal debate.”
The concerns prompted two of President Bush's most senior aides - Andrew H. Card Jr., his chief of staff, and Alberto R. Gonzales, then White House counsel and now attorney general - to make an emergency visit to a Washington hospital in March 2004 to discuss the program's future and try to win the needed approval from Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was hospitalized for gallbladder surgery, the officials said.
The unusual meeting was prompted because Mr. Ashcroft's top deputy, James B. Comey, who was acting as attorney general in his absence, had indicated he was unwilling to give his approval to certifying central aspects of the program, as required under the White House procedures set up to oversee it.
If the FBI probe of the Clinton Foundation is actually taking place and Comey were to recommend indictments against Bill, Hillary and/or their operatives, what would happen?
Attorney General Loretta Lynch could accept their recommendations, but that is unlikely. As we found out the hard way over past five years, Lynch is soft on political corruption.
Our own investigations have led to the prosecutions of a score of New York politicians while Lynch was the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Most of the indictments, however, came from from Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the neighboring Southern District of New York, Comey’s old district. Lynch is a product of the Queens political machine, on whose behalf she pulled her punches as a U.S. Attorney. If she can’t even go after low-level crooks, how can she go after her party’s prospective standard-bearer?
If Lynch declines to indict, Comey and other officials could resign, setting up a modern-day “Saturday Night Massacre.” In 1973, President Nixon doomed his fate by dismissing Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, prompting the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus.
Either way, it would not be very good for Hillary.