A new review of records reveals that companies that gave as much as $16 million to the Bill and Hillary Clinton Foundation used Foundation fundraisers as cover to lobby the U.S. Department of State while Hillary was Secretary of State.
At least a dozen of these companies used lobbyists who doubled as major fundraisers for the Clinton Foundation to approach the State Department for government permission to make financial and business deals, USA Today reports.
The paper found that four of these lobbyists earned the title of “Hillblazer” for raising at least $100,000 for Hillary’s current bid for the White House and two others were fundraisers for Hillary’s failed 2008 campaign.
USA Today reported that it made the connection by reviewing lobbying data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which was then compared to donor lists as reported by the Clinton campaign to the federal government.
To queries on the cozy relationship between the lobbyists, the Clinton Foundation, and the favors approved by the Dept. of State, most of these lobbyists and companies insisted that nothing illegal transpired.
Clinton’s campaign also added that there were “no records” showing that any meetings took place between these companies and Clinton when she was Secretary of State.
Companies involved in this intertwining of business, Clinton charities, and State Department largesse include Mexican TV Network Azteca, D.C. area high speed rail company Northeast Maglev, and international corporations such as Microsoft, Pfizer, and ExxonMobil.
But the companies mentioned above are among many that have donated to the Clinton Foundation at the same time as lobbying the Clinton State Department. One report found that as many as 181 companies were both donors to the Foundation and seekers of special deals from the Dept. of State.
This is on top of the billions the Clinton Foundation received from such nations as Russia, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and many others.
Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, a nonpartisan government watchdog, told the paper that the whole scheme looked “unseemly.”
When you couple all of these activities together, it gives an unseemly appearance that this was another way for Clinton foundation donors to try to get what they wanted. I don’t see any quid pro quos. But I do think these are sophisticated lobbying operations by Clinton foundation donors trying to leverage Department of State support for whatever their pet projects are.
Many of these entangled relations were revealed and dissected in the blockbuster book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, released in May of 2015. The exposé of the Clinton Foundation and Bill and Hillary’s shady financial dealings quickly became a New York Times bestseller.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.