How The Clinton Campaign Decided To Accept Foreign Government Lobbyist Cash
- New emails reveal how an influential Clinton Foundation official changed the minds of Clinton’s inner circle and convince them to accept big money raised by lobbyists representing foreign governments.
- Originally, the Clinton campaign’s inner circle planned to refuse campaign donations bundled by lobbyists representing foreign governments.
- But all it took was the fear of “leaving money on the table” to inspire team Clinton to do a complete U-Turn and, as a senior official put it, “take the money!!”
- The Clintons decided to literally operate their campaign like their Foundation, letting foreign money flow, opening the door for more and more conflicts of interest.
NEW EMAILS SHOW HOW THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN DECIDED TO ACCEPT MONEY BUNDLED BY LOBBYISTS REPPING FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS
On April 13th 2015, Dennis Cheng Sent An Email Saying That The Campaign Had To Decide Whether They Would Allow Those Lobbying On Behalf Of Foreign Governments To Be Campaign Bundlers. “We really need make a policy decision on this soon - whether we are allowing those lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to raise $ for the campaign. Or case by case” (Dennis Cheng, Email To John Podesta Et. Al., “Re: Foreign Registered Agents,” John Podesta Wikileaks, 4/17/15)
- Karuna Seshasai Pointed Out That The Group Included “Those Who Lobbied While HRC Was At State And Those Who Are Currently Registered.” “+ Nick and Beth. Want to add that these folks can also be divided into two categories - those who lobbied while HRC was at State and those who are currently registered.” (Karuna Seshasai, Email To John Podesta Et. Al., “Re: Foreign Registered Agents,” John Podesta Wikileaks, 4/17/15)
Jesse Ferguson Asked “How Much Money We’re Throwing Away” If These Donors Were Not Allowed To Raise Money. “Is there anyway to ballpark what percent of our donor base this would apply to (aka how much money we're throwing away) Cost benefits are easier to analyze with the costs. :)” (Jesse Ferguson, Email To John Podesta Et. Al., “Re: Foreign Registered Agents,” John Podesta Wikileaks, 4/17/15)
- Karuna Seshasai Responded That 27 Out Of 370 Prospective Bundlers Were FARA Registrants, Specifically Pointing To Tony Podesta, Ben Barnes, John Merrigan, Wyeth Weidman, And Mike Driver. “Wanted to follow back up on this. We're consistently flagging more FARA registrants daily. In terms of # - we're at 27 out of 370 prospective bundlers - but to Jesse's question - that does not represent the costs of how much these folks would likely raise. If we were looking at these folks below on a case by case basis, I'd want to specifically raise: Tony Podesta (Iraq, Azerbaijan, Egypt), Ben Barnes (Libya), John Merrigan (UAE), Wyeth Weidman (Libya), and Mike Driver (UAE connections)” (Karuna Seshasai, Email To John Podesta Et. Al., “Re: Foreign Registered Agents,” John Podesta Wikileaks, 4/17/15)
A Phone Call Involving John Podesta, Robby Mook, And Huma Abedin Occurred In Which The Decision Was Made To Not Allow FARA Registered Lobbyists To Contribute Or Raise For The Campaign. “Following up on the call from 9:30. The policy would be to not allow any currently registered foreign agents (those who register with FARA) to contribute or raise for the campaign. If someone terminates their registration, they would be allowed to contribute or raise for the campaign.” (Karuna Seshasai, Email To John Podesta Et. Al., “Re: Foreign Registered Agents,” John Podesta Wikileaks, 4/17/15)
- Dennis Cheng Pushed Back On This Decision, Point Out “How Do We Explain To People… That The Foundation Takes $ From Foreign Govts But We Now Won’t.” “Hi all – we do need to make a decision on this ASAP as our friends who happen to be registered with FARA are already donating and raising. I do want to push back a bit (it’s my job!): I feel like we are leaving a good amount of money on the table (both for primary and general, and then DNC and state parties)… and how do we explain to people that we’ll take money from a corporate lobbyist but not them; that the Foundation takes $ from foreign govts but we now won’t. Either way, we need to make a decision soon.” (Dennis Cheng, Email To John Podesta Et. Al., “Re: Foreign Registered Agents,” John Podesta Wikileaks, 4/17/15)
Robby Mook Changed His Opinion, Saying “In A Complete U-Turn, I’m’ Ok Just Taking The Money And Dealing With Any Attacks.” “Marc made a convincing case to me this am that these sorts of restrictions don't really get you anything...that Obama actually got judged MORE harshly as a result. He convinced me. So...in a complete U-turn, I'm ok just taking the money and dealing with any attacks. Are you guys ok with that?” (Robby Mook, Email To John Podesta Et. Al., “Re: Foreign Registered Agents,” John Podesta Wikileaks, 4/17/15)
- Jennifer Palmieri Supported The Decision To “Take The Money!” From FARA Lobbyists. “Take the money!!” (Jennifer Palmieri, Email To John Podesta Et. Al., “Re: Foreign Registered Agents,” John Podesta Wikileaks, 4/17/15)
THE REVERSAL ON TEAM CLINTON’S DECISION CAME AFTER DISCOVERING THE CLINTONS HAD ALREADY ACCEPTING MILLIONS IN FOREIGN GOVERNMENT MONEY
The Clinton Foundation Has Raised At Least $2 Billion, Becoming “One Of The World’s Fastest-Growing Charities.” “The majority of the money — $2 billion — has gone to the Clinton Foundation, one of the world’s fastest-growing charities, which supports health, education and economic development initiatives around the globe.” (Matea Gold, Tom Hamburger, and Anu Narayanswamy, “Inside The Clinton Donor Network,” The Washington Post, 11/19/15)
The Money For The Foundation Has Come From “Corporate Titans, Foreign Governments, Political Donors And Other Wealthy Entities…” “Over the past 15 years, the Clinton Foundation has raised a staggering sum, close to $2 billion, from corporate titans, foreign governments, political donors and other wealthy entities, according to an investigation by the Washington Post.” (“Why The Clinton Foundation Is So Controversial,” The Economist, 2/7/16)
“One Of The Reasons That The Clinton Foundation Has Become Such A Formidable Fund-Raising Machine Is That Donors Appear To Hope To Gain Access To The Corridors Of Political Power With Their Gifts.” (“Why The Clinton Foundation Is So Controversial,” The Economist, 2/7/16)
- The Wall Street Journal Headline: “Foreign Government Gifts To Clinton Foundation On The Rise: Donations Raise Ethical Questions As Hillary Clinton Ramps Up Expected 2016 Bid” (James Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Foreign Government Gifts To Clinton Foundation On The Rise: Donations Raise Ethical Questions As Hillary Clinton Ramps Up Expected 2016 Bid,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/17/15)
“Rarely, If Ever, Has A Potential Commander In Chief Been So Closely Associated With An Organization That Has Solicited Financial Support From Foreign Governments.” “Rarely, if ever, has a potential commander in chief been so closely associated with an organization that has solicited financial support from foreign governments. Clinton formally joined the foundation in 2013 after leaving the State Department, and the organization was renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.” (Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, “Foreign Governments Gave Millions To Foundation While Clinton Was At State Dept.,” The Washington Post, 2/25/15)
- Contributions “May Spur Questions About The Independence Of A Potential Commander In Chief Who Has Solicited Money From Foreign Donors With A Stake In The Actions Of The U.S. Government.” “The role of interests located in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Argentina may spur questions about the independence of a potential commander in chief who has solicited money from foreign donors with a stake in the actions of the U.S. government.” (Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Steven Rich, “Clinton Foundation’s Global Network Overlaps With Family’s Political Base,” The Washington Post, 2/19/15)
“More Than 40 Percent Of The Top Donors To The Clinton Foundation Are Based In Foreign Countries.” “More than 40 percent of the top donors to the Clinton Foundation are based in foreign countries, according to an analysis by McClatchy.” (Anita Kumar, “Clinton Foundation Limits Foreign Donations,” McClatchy, 4/15/15)
- The Donors Have Personal, Familial, And Business Ties To Foreign Governments. “Some donors have direct ties to foreign governments. One is a member of the Saudi royal family. Another is a Ukrainian oligarch and former parliamentarian. Others are individuals with close connections to foreign governments that stem from their business activities. Their professed policy interests range from human rights to U.S.-Cuba relations.” (James Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/19/15)
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