A Chinese conglomerate owned by a delegate to the Chinese parliament reportedly pledged millions to the Clinton Foundation, raising questions about whether the Chinese are once again trying to influence U.S. politics with donations to entities associated with the Clintons.
According a CBS report, Rilin Enterprises, which is owned by billionaire and parliament delegate Wang Wenliang, pledged $2 million to the foundation in 2013.
Rilin Enterprises was “one of the contractors that built the Chinese embassy in Washington,” and as author Jim Mann, an expert on the U.S.-China relationship, noted, the embassy contract shows how close Rilin Enterprises is to the Chinese government.
Mann told CBS that with “embassy construction, one of the most important tasks is making sure there are no bugs there… So you want to have the closest connection with the person or approval with the company.”
“If the point is you are not going to take money from foreign governments, then his construction company is as close to not just the Chinese government and as close to the Ministry of State Security as they could possibly be,” Mann added. “Indirectly the Clinton Foundation has political influence, that’s why people give to it. People give to the Clinton Foundation particularly because it is the Clintons and because they are prominent politicians in the United States.”
As CBS noted, “campaign finance laws prohibit foreign interests from investing in U.S. elections to prevent foreigners from buying political influence at home, but those rules don’t apply to the Clinton Foundation.”
Bill Allison, a “senior policy analyst at the Sunlight Foundation,” said, “If there is foreign money coming into the Clinton Foundation, it will raise the question of –is the president going to be doing favors for a foreign business, a foreign government, a foreign individual? And you just cannot have that in the American system of government, where the president is supposed to represent the American people.”
A Rilin spokesperson told CBS in a statement, “Mr. Wang has a long history of generous philanthropic giving to institutions of higher education and organizations that work on and promote global relations. The Clinton Foundation is one of the many organizations Mr. Wang has donated to.”
During Clinton’s presidency, the Chinese government was accused of trying to influence American politics with donations after it was tied to numerous fund-raising scandals involving the Democratic National Committee and Vice President Al Gore.
According to a CBS analysis, the Clinton Foundation “has raised at least $42 million from foreign governments” and “at least $170 million from foreign entities and individuals.” The foundation has come under fire for its hypocrisy after the New York Times reported that it took millions from repressive Middle Eastern regimes with downright awful records on women’s rights.
Last week, Hillary Clinton defended her family foundation’s acceptance of shady foreign donations by saying, “I think that to people who want to support the foundation, know full well what it is we stand for and what we’re working on.”
Her husband did as well during a recent Clinton Foundation event in Miami.
Do we agree with everything they do? No. But they’re helping us fight ISIS,” Bill Clinton reportedly said. “You’ve got to decide when you do this work whether it will do more good than harm if someone helps you from another country.”