The repercussions from Peter Schweizer’s bombshell book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich are reaching far beyond the shores of the United States.
The congress of India has called for investigation of the book’s allegations that a former Indian party leader made huge donations to the Clinton Foundation in 2008, at a time when then-Senator Hillary Clinton just happened to support a nuclear deal between the U.S. and India.
One of the lingering questions surrounding former Samajwadi Party head Amar Singh’s alleged donations to the Clinton Foundation is precisely where he got the money. As the New York Post observed this week, the contribution was between $1 million and $5 million dollars, “which would have amounted to nearly his entire net worth,” as reported in the financial disclosure he filed with the Indian government.
Singh’s account of this donation has been “cryptic and conflicting,” according to the Post. He has, at various times, flatly denied the donation was made; described himself as facilitating donations made by others; and even claimed some thoughtful anonymous soul in India might have slipped the Clinton Foundation a few million in his name.
That appears to be the ground Singh is standing on at the moment, as he told Economic Times on Wednesday, “That is not my donation. I have never given that money to the Clinton Foundation. If any friend has done that on my behalf, I am grateful to them, but it’s not mine.”
He went on to accuse his “corporate rivals” of seeking to make legal trouble for him, so apparently slipping a few million to the Clintons can be either a lovely gesture on behalf of a treasured friend, or a vicious backstabbing attack.
The New York Post notes that Singh got his invitation to Clintonworld through Bill, who was introduced to him by Sant Chantal, “an Indian-American businessman who generated millions of dollars for the foundation, in speaking fees for the ex-president, and for Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign.” Singh ended up with a seat of honor at one of those glitzy Clinton Global Initiative soirees that consumed so much of the “charity” money.
As for Hillary, she has taken so much Indian money that one of Barack Obama’s campaign aids mocked her as the senator from Punjab during the 2008 campaign.
The Indian Congress requested an inquiry into the Clinton Cash allegations against Singh on Friday, motivated in part by concern that public funds might have been involved, according to the Press Trust of India. Samajwadi Party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters that if public money was funneled to the Clinton Foundation, the matter would become “serious” indeed.
He also suggested that the “U.S. political scene is hotting up because of Presidential elections,” as the PTI put it, making this a good time to investigate the allegations against Singh and the Clintons thoroughly.
The Indian nuclear deal in question eventually passed the Senate. There has been a great deal of sniping back and forth between the Clinton camp and Schweizer over whether the indisputably large amount of money sent her way by Indian-American donors affected her stance on the issue. The Clinton camp says she was always in favor of the deal, which lifted restrictions on nuclear technology exports imposed by her husband in 1998, but Schweizer argues she had “killer amendments” in place that she could have used to kill the bill, if she so desired.
As Politico observes, the man who introduced Amar Singh to the Clintons, hotel mogul Sant Chantal, certainly seems to think Hillary was initially opposed to the deal, and credits himself with changing her mind– a process that he describes as involving big donations. “In politics, nothing comes free,” Chantal observed. “You have to write checks in the American political system.” The Indian government seems to agree he was instrumental in getting her on board, as they gave him a medal for it.