Of the thousands of emails leaked from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, that were published by Wikileaks, one in particular stated that officials from the government of Qatar had pledged $1 million to the Clinton Foundation to celebrate Bill Clinton’s 65th birthday, funds which the foundation did not report to the State Department.
And that’s a HUGE problem, as it seems to violate an ethics agreement Hillary Clinton signed when she became Secretary of State in 2009, when she promised the foundation would notify the State Department’s ethics official if a new foreign government wanted to donate or “increase materially” its contributions.
According to Reuters:
If a new foreign government wished to donate or if an existing foreign-government donor, such as Qatar, wanted to “increase materially” its support of ongoing programs, Clinton promised that the State Department’s ethics official would be notified and given a chance to raise any concerns.
Clinton Foundation officials last month declined to confirm the Qatar donation. In response to additional questions, a foundation spokesman, Brian Cookstra, this week said that it accepted the $1 million gift from Qatar, but this did not amount to a “material increase” in the Gulf country’s support for the charity. Cookstra declined to say whether Qatari officials received their requested meeting with Bill Clinton.
Officials at Qatar’s embassy in Washington and in its Council of Ministers in the capital, Doha, declined to discuss the donation.
The State Department has said it has no record of the foundation submitting the Qatar gift for review, and that it was incumbent on the foundation to notify the department about donations that needed attention. A department spokeswoman did not respond to additional questions about the donation.
According to the foundation’s website, which lists donors in broad categories by cumulative amounts donated, Qatar’s government has directly given a total of between $1 million and $5 million over the years.
Additionally, even though Hillary Clinton promised she would offer an annual list of donors to the Clinton Health Access Initiative, in 2016, the Foundation admitted that it had not published a list of its donors since 2010.
As Reuters also noted, Clinton Foundation officials acknowledged they sometimes did not comply with the central provisions of the agreement with the Obama administration, and they blamed oversights in some of those cases.
However, at least eight other countries in addition to Qatar gave new or increased funding to the foundation, most often for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, without the state department being informed. Foundation officials have said some of those donations, were also oversights and should have been flagged, while others, did not qualify as “material increases.”