In line with President Vladimir Putin’s vision for the future, between 2009 and 2013, Russian investors acquired a Canadian mining company. That company, later known as Uranium One, traded in the material needed for nuclear weapons and power plants. It also controlled 20% of the total US uranium production.
It was Hillary Clinton, at the time serving under President Obama as Secretary of State, and now running to be the first woman President of the United States, who had personally approved of the uranium deal with the Russians.
During that same time frame, the CEO of Uranium One, through his family foundation, had donated $2.35 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation founded by her husband Bill Clinton. Before the take-over, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin invited Bill to give a short speech—he earned $500,000 dollar in one day.
Pay to Play
This is just one of the many examples of what Peter Schweizer, author of the book Clinton Cash (2015), calls the Clintons’ pay-to-play scheme, “Give money to Bill, get favors from Hill.” The book quickly became a New York Times bestseller. Pirated copies included, the documentary of the same name has already drawn over 3 million viewers (here and here).
Bil Clinton founded his Foundation in 2001. Because his wife HIllary would serve under Obama, the President ordered the Clinton Foundation make public its list of donors. This should help Hillary avoid a conflict of interest. However, in the meantime it has for example become clear that at least one aid of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Cheryl Mills, at the same time had also done work for the Clinton Foundation.
The Clinton Foundation and the Dutch Government
Aside from big corporations, foundations and philanthropists, the list of donors also names a number of national governments, among others The Netherlands. They have donated large amounts of taxpayer money.
Australia, Norway and Saudi-Arabia each gave the Foundation between $10 and 25 million dollar. They are followed by The Netherlands and Kuwait, with each $5 to 10 million in donations, and subsequently by Qatar, Brunei and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with each between $1 and 5 million dollars worth of gifts.
Why would foreign governments want to give their tax payers’ money to an American charity? Why didn’t they invest in their own development aid programs directly? Why did they pass charities in their own countries?
Perhaps they too received a favor from Hill in exchange for money to Bill, because what stands out is that these donor countries have something in common. They can all be found high on the list of oil exporting nations. Saudi-Arabia tops the list as #1, followed by Kuwait as #3, UAE as #7, Norway #10, Qatar #14, Australia #25, and Brunei in 35th place. The Netherlands may come in last at number 48, but on the other hand, the country serves as the tax home of the sixth largest energy corporation in the world, Royal Dutch Shell.
The National Postcode Lottery
The Netherlands plays a role in the Clinton Foundation for another reason. The National Postcode Lottery, the second largest lottery in The Netherlands, has donated over $25 million dollar to the Clinton Foundation.
But that’s not all. The Postcode Lottery is managed by Novamedia BV, a company founded by businessman Boudewijn Poelman. Novamedia has expanded its lottery franchise to other countries such as Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom.
And indeed, its franchises the People’s Postcode Trust and the Postcode African Trust have also given between a half and a whole million dollar to the Foundation. The Swedish Postcode Foundation gave between $1-5 million, as well as the Swedish Postcode Lottery, which donated between $10 and 25 million dollar. Together, the Poelman lotteries donated between at least $36 and 52 million dollar.
Here we must ask the same questions. Why didn’t the Lotteries spend such amounts directly on their own affiliated charities? What’s so special about the Clinton Foundation? It is not the case that the Clinton Foundation knows how to spend its money better. This fact check shows that the Clinton Foundation spent nearly 81% of its donations to organization costs, travel costs, trainings and salaries. No more than 19% actually reached the designated charities.
Blind Idealism, or Borderless Corruption?
On the basis of his research, Peter Schweizer therefore concludes that the Clinton Foundation is a front for global corruption. In exchange for gifts to the Clinton Foundation, as well as speaking fees for Bill Clinton, corporations and governments have bought a stake in the global Clinton network.
Thanks to this loophole, Schweizer claims, the Clintons were able to bribe African dictators. In turn, they have provided friends of the Clintons with lucrative oil and mining contracts. For example, in exchange for a well-paid speech, Bill Clinton called the dictator of Rwanda Paul Kagame “one of the greatest leaders of our time”.
Everything is for sale. What once began out of idealism has become borderless corruption. The Clinton scheme can perhaps best be summarized in the job title of The Netherlands’ Lilianne Ploumen: Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Aid. To big players in global trade, both matters are one and the same thing.