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Clinton Foundation President: ‘Other Than Courtesy Appointments,’ No Evidence of Policy At State Dept Being Different for Fdn Donors

On Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Clinton Foundation President and CEO Donna Shalala “I don’t see any evidence that there was policy decisions made as a result of that, other than courtesy appointments,” and “there’s no question there were phone calls made to get appointments for people, but Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel laureate. Melinda Gates? I mean, these are people that any secretary of state would have seen, courtesy appointments.”

Shalala said, in response to a question on pay-for-play allegations from the Clinton Foundation that donors got favorable treatment from the State Department, “First of all, there’s no question there were phone calls made to get appointments for people, but Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel laureate. Melinda Gates? I mean, these are people that any secretary of state would have seen, courtesy appointments.”

After host Andrea Mitchell cut in to say, “There were also businesspeople.” Shalala responded, “There were also businesspeople. There’s no question about that, but I don’t see any evidence that there was policy decisions made as a result of that, other than courtesy appointments, and people in public life are used to doing that kind of — that is, making courtesy appointments for people. I certainly did it as secretary in request — with requests from Republicans in Congress, so I don’t find it unusual. I think we do have to be careful. We have to be careful that it’s not linked to policy decisions, as opposed to simply seeing prominent people that ask for appointments.”

Shalala was also asked if Clinton was “too protective?” She answered that Clinton is “very human. But let me talk about the foundation. There’s no secrecy as far as this foundation is concerned. We disclose all of our donors. We disclose all of our programs. We disclose our taxes. Our tax returns are on our website, so that we are totally transparent as far as the foundation is concerned.”

She later stated, “To eliminate any sense there’s a conflict of interest, in the future, if she’s elected, and so spinning off the programs, but making sure the work continues, he does not want to interrupt the work that helps millions of people around the world, whether it’s through getting AIDS — discounted AIDS drugs, or helping them to improve their agricultural products.”

When asked why Chelsea Clinton was staying on the board, Shalala answered that it was “Chelsea’s decision.” And that Chelsea is “an extraordinarily important leader on the board.”

Shalala added that keeping Chelsea on was “Keeping one person in the family on the board. And Chelsea has said she wants to make sure that we do the transition effectively. She’ll have to make the decision about her own future. But there’s no question that most of us would love to keep Chelsea on the board. She’s intelligent. She knows these programs. She has real management experience, and keeping her in in a leadership position on the board, I think, personally, is very important.”

(h/t GOP War Room)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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