Four Middle Eastern nations that have been criticized by the State Department for “the mistreatment of women” have donated nearly $40 million to the Clinton Foundation since 2001, raising questions about whether the Clintons are shaking down those nations.
According to a McClatchy report, the level of support from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates “fuels questions about the reasons for the donations. Were they solely to support the foundation’s causes, or were they designed to curry favor with the ex-president and with a potential future president?”
As McClatchy points out, the donations occurred “during the time Hillary Clinton was a U.S. senator, was seeking the Democratic nomination for president against Barack Obama, and was serving as secretary of state.”
Though the countries in question claim they were supporting the Clinton Foundation’s initiatives, the Middle Eastern nations donated just $6.82 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross during the same period while donating six times as much to the Clinton Foundation. In addition, McClatchy noted that other prominent international organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, World Vision International, Task Force for Global Health, Project Hope, and Doctors Without Borders did not receive any donations from the four Middle Eastern nations during that period.
Lawrence Jacobs, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, told McClatchy that, “the fundamental issue here is that you’ve got foreign businesses and foreign governments giving money to the Clinton Foundation partly because of the foundation’s work, but also because of the access to the upper echelons of power in America.”
“I think the people who know something about politics understand the wink and a nod that’s going on here: Give to Bill and become a friend of Hillary,” he added. “There’s kind of a political shakedown going on here.”
According to the Clinton Foundation, “Saudi Arabia has donated $10 million to $25 million between 2001 and 2014, while Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates each gave $1 million to $5 million. In addition, former longtime UAE President Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the driving force behind his country’s formation, and Nasser Al-Rashid, an adviser to the Saudi royal family, each has donated $1 million to $5 million.”
Clinton’s campaign and foundation brushed off suggestions that the foreign donations influenced Clinton’s foreign policy at the State Department. But as the Washington Post recently reported, Algeria, another nation with a terrible women’s rights record, donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation while the country was lobbying Clinton’s State Department in 2010. That donation, as the Post noted, violated an ethics agreement with the Obama administration because Algeria “was spending heavily” at the time “to lobby the State Department on human rights issues”
Jacobs, the University of Minnesota professor, also said that accepting donations from repressive Middle Eastern regimes after Bill Clinton’s presidency was embroiled in various scandals involving foreign donors reveals an “arrogance of power.”