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Hillary Clinton’s fifteen biggest scandals

By Sarah Westwood     •     Washington Examiner

Hillary Clinton 2Hillary Clinton is set to launch her presidential campaign for the second time Saturday in New York amid a barrage of criticism that has marred her first weeks on the trail.

The Clintons have been no stranger to scandals, some dating back to when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas. But there are many scandals that originated in Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

The following 15 scandals are just a few to keep in mind as she launches her presidential campaign.

Boeing bucks

Boeing gave generously to the Clinton Foundation after Hillary Clinton personally intervened on its behalf to secure a lucrative contract with the Russian government.

The secretary of state made what she called a “shameless pitch” to the state-owned Russian carrier Rosavia in October 2009.

Russia struck a multi-billion dollar deal with Boeing in June 2010, after which the aerospace conglomerate cut a $900,000 check to the Clinton Foundation.

Speaker fees

Bill Clinton doubled the amount of money he earned from speaking engagements funded by foreign entities while his wife served as secretary of state.

The spike in foreign groups that became interested in hosting the former president raised questions as to whether their invitations were made in an effort to curry favor with the secretary of state.

For example, Bill Clinton earned $2.2 million from just six international speeches in 2014, but reportedly made $4.8 million from 13 speeches in foreign countries in 2010

Uranium One

Hillary Clinton’s role in approving a contentious uranium contract emerged in Peter Schweizer’s May book Clinton Cash.

In the deal, a state-owned Russian energy agency took over a Canadian company, Uranium One, that controlled such a large stake in America’s uranium deposits that the transaction required approval from Hillary Clinton and other cabinet-level officials.

Frank Giustra, a top Clinton Foundation donor and close friend of the former president, served as a financial adviser to Uranium One as the deal unfolded.

The charity failed to disclose other significant donations from individuals and entities involved in the transaction, including the $2.35 million Uranium One chair Ian Telfer funneled to the charity through another foundation under his control.

Airbrushing IG reports

The State Department’s acting inspector general, Harold Geisel, appears to have removed damaging passages from a report before publishing it in February 2013.

References to specific cases in which high-level State officials halted internal investigations and descriptions of the extent and frequency of those interventions appear in several early drafts but were later eliminated, the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday.

The unexplained gaps between the reports call into question Geisel’s independence as an interim inspector general.

Among the passages removed was an allegation that diplomatic security staff had covered up the solicitation of prostitutes by Hillary Clinton’s security team on official travel and that higher-ups had shielded an official with an alleged history of sexual assault from being investigated for attacking embassy staff.

Blumenthal’s back

Hillary Clinton’s reliance on an informal adviser whom she called an “old friend” sparked controversy when her published emails revealed him to be her main source of intelligence in the run-up to Benghazi.

Sidney Blumenthal’s brutal campaign against then-Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary made him an enemy of the administration even after Hillary Clinton was selected to join Obama’s cabinet. Her attempts to hire Blumenthal were reportedly nixed by Obama’s staff.

Blumenthal’s ties to a group of businessmen who were attempting to drum up contracts in the Libya — with the help of the State Department — raise questions about the motives behind the intelligence memos he sent Hillary Clinton.

Boko Haram

The State Department has ignored a lawsuit over its failure to comply with a FOIA request for records pertaining to a Nigerian businessman.

Gilbert Chagoury, who gave between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, was indicted in the Halliburton bribery scandal in 2010 alongside his brother. Chagoury is reportedly a close friend of Bill Clinton who spent time traveling with the former president through Europe.

Citizens United, a conservative nonprofit, sued the State Department after the agency stonewalled its request for records that would determine whether Hillary Clinton’s refusal to place Boko Haram on the terrorist watch list had anything to do with Chagoury’s support

Ambassadors investigated

Patrick Kennedy, the State Department’s undersecretary for management, allegedly stopped investigators from looking into whether an ambassador accused of soliciting “sexual favors” from “minor children” had committed a crime on Hillary Clinton’s watch, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.

An inspector general report published late last year concluded the Belgian ambassador had been summoned to Washington for a meeting with Kennedy, where the undersecretary permitted him to return to his post after the ambassador simply denied the charges in an interview.

Kennedy told the inspector general he didn’t open a criminal investigation because “solicitation of a prostitute … was not a crime in the host country.”

However, in testimony at the trial of Chelsea Manning more than a year earlier, Kennedy had told defense attorneys that their suggestion of his role in a cover-up of the Belgian ambassador scandal was “entirely false.”

Security struggles

An internal inspector general memo revealed allegations that at least five members of Hillary Clinton’s security detail solicited prostitutes in a number of countries while on official travel, including on trips to Russia and Colombia.

A diplomatic security guard was allowed to continue his oversight of Clinton’s hotel security operations after allegedly soliciting prostitutes in Moscow “despite obvious counterintelligence questions,” the memo said.

According to the document, a top official in the bureau of diplomatic security “reportedly told [an investigator] to shut down the four investigations” into the accused security guards, three of whom received suspensions that lasted just one day.

Hidden Iran waivers

The State Department has denied the existence of waivers granted to certain companies that would allow them to conduct business in Iran despite international sanctions against doing so.

But the waivers have surfaced in a number of reports, including Schweizer’s book and an article earlier this month by the Washington Times.

Agency officials claimed they had searched 11 different offices within the State Department and had failed to turn up any documents related to the Iran waivers.

Sweden was among the countries working to convince Hillary Clinton not to impose harsh sanctions against Iran ahead of high-stakes nuclear negotiations.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton established a separate arm of the Clinton Foundation in Sweden just as his wife was shoring up support for sanctions against Iran, the Times reported.

When the U.S. government released the sanctions list in 2011 and 2012, it included no Swedish companies.

Norway’s new embassy

The government of Norway donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation and was seemingly rewarded when the State Department shelled out $177.9 million for a new embassy in Oslo in 2011.

The agency forged ahead with plans to build the complex over the objections of diplomatic officials in Norway, who suggested the money be spent to strengthen embassies and consulates in countries that faced a higher terror risk.

A leaked diplomatic cable sent to Hillary Clinton in July 2009 shows plans for the embassy project, which were developed before she arrived at the agency, had been pushed from 2011 to 2020 to free up funding.

The cable mentions Patrick Kennedy, State’s undersecretary for management, as a major force in pushing the embassy project forward.

Huma’s side gigs

Huma Abedin, a longtime aide and present campaign staffer for Hillary Clinton, somehow managed to secure a rare designation as a special government employee in 2012, which allowed her to collect paychecks from Teneo Strategies and the Clinton Foundation, even as she received the $135,000 salary she drew from taxpayers as Hillary’s deputy chief of staff.

Teneo Strategies is a controversial consulting firm founded by a close personal friend of Bill Clinton’s. The former president served as a paid adviser to the company.

Abedin reportedly housed her communications on the same private server that shielded Hillary Clinton’s records from the public during that same time period.

The State Department inspector general launched an investigation into Abedin’s employment status in April.

Charity, Clinton-style

A charity watchdog claimed the Clinton Foundation tried to “strong-arm” its employees after the group placed the foundation on a watch list for philanthropies with potential problems.

The watchdog group claimed Hillary Clinton’s family charity had an “atypical business model” that required further review. The Clinton Foundation will stay on the list for a minimum of six months.

The group said staffers at the Clinton Foundation attempted to receive special treatment when they learned the massive philanthropy was about to be placed on the list.

Filling up at Chevron

Chevron Corporation had been embroiled in a legal battle over allegations that it polluted a stretch of Ecuador’s rainforest with toxic waste for years before Hillary Clinton joined the State Department.

But the oil conglomerate, which stood to lose billions of dollars from the lawsuit, funneled generous donations to the Clinton Foundation and a political pet project of Hillary Clinton’s while it lobbied the State Department to intervene in the case on its behalf.

Chevron executives have participated in Clinton Global Initiative events that placed them on the stage with Clinton insiders such as George Stephanopoulos.

Chevron’s CEO even made a personal appeal to Hillary Clinton at a State Department dinner in 2012.

The company’s chief executive “took the opportunity to express our concerns about developments in the Chevron Ecuador litigation” to Hillary Clinton at the banquet, emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show.

While a Chevron spokesperson denied a link between the donations and the environmental lawsuit, the corporation scored a major victory in the case last year when a Clinton-appointed judge in New York blocked the enforcement of a multi-billion dollar ruling against the oil company in the U.S.

Congo cash

As a New York senator, Hillary Clinton championed a law that would have cracked down on the illicit mineral trade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton seemingly flouted that law in favor of foundation donors that had financial stakes in the mineral industry.

The head of a Canadian company with an enormous interest in the Congo’s mining and oil sector, Lukas Lundin of Lundin Mining, announced a $100 million donation to the Clinton Foundation on the heels of Clinton’s first presidential campaign, according to Schweizer.

After the Congolese government attempted to regain control of its own mines, the State Department intervened on behalf of Lundin Mining and another mining company, Freeport, that also happened to be a foundation donor.

A round of talks in 2010, thought to be aided by the Clinton State Department, concluded with the pair of well-connected companies retaining their stakes in the mines and with the Congolese government being shut out of its own resources.

Pulling a Belfast one

Hillary Clinton’s final official trip as secretary of state highlighted conflicts of interest between her diplomatic post, the Clinton Foundation and Teneo Strategies.

The former secretary of state traveled to Belfast to claim an award from a major foundation donor at an event that was promoted by Teneo, the Washington Examiner reported last month.

Bill Clinton once served as a paid adviser to Teneo, which was co-founded by one of his top former aides.

The trip raised questions about whether Abedin, as the aide in charge of arranging the secretary’s schedule, steered Hillary Clinton to the event in a move that would have undoubtedly benefited her other employer, Teneo.