Hillary supported trade deal after pledges of $100 million to Clinton Foundation

A report in the International Business Times adds to the woes of the soon-to-be-announced Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.  Matthew Cunningham-Cook writes a long and interesting account of the dealings between the Clinton Foundation and an oil magnate named Frank Giustra and his company, Pacific Rubiales, with major operations in Colombia.  Those pledges may have had something to do with remarkable changes from the then-secretary of state.

It sure looks a lot as though money bought silence over labor strife and its armed suppression at a Pacific Rubiales refinery in Colombia.

… as union leaders and human rights activists conveyed these harrowing reports of violence to then-Secretary of State Clinton in late 2011, urging her to pressure the Colombian government to protect labor organizers, she responded first with silence, these organizers say. The State Department publicly praised Colombia’s progress on human rights, thereby permitting hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to flow to the same Colombian military that labor activists say helped intimidate workers.

He notes:

… these were precisely the sorts of discomfiting accounts that were supposed to be prevented in Colombia under a labor agreement that accompanied a recently signed free trade pact liberalizing the exchange of goods between the countries.

The clincher:

At the same time that Clinton's State Department was lauding Colombia’s human rights record, her family was forging a financial relationship with Pacific Rubiales, the sprawling Canadian petroleum company at the center of Colombia’s labor strife. The Clintons were also developing commercial ties with the oil giant’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, who now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global philanthropic empire.

The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation -- supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself -- Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it “strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.” The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra. (snip)

“The Colombian government continued to make progress on improving respect for human rights, both within the Armed Forces and in Colombia at large,” the State Department declared in 2012, despite the allegations of collusion between the Colombian military and Pacific Rubiales to intimidate workers. By that time, Pacific Rubiales and its international financial partners had committed $4.4 million to the Clinton Foundation’s initiative with Giustra, and Giustra had pledged to donate more than $100 million to the joint venture.

Hillary Clinton with Frank Giustra (far left), Louise Arbour, and U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering (right).  Via Flickr and IBT.

The campaign commercials practically write themselves for any Republican candidate.  Labor unions that contribute scores of millions of dollars to Democrat presidential campaigns will have a few questions to ask about this as well.

… the AFL-CIO cited persistent violence against Colombian union organizers in its push to block a new 12-nation trade deal that Clinton has championed.

And the Elizabeth Warren/progressive faction of the Democrats will not be happy, either.

Run, Hillary, run! Use that "insane amount of money" you raise to bludgeon all Demcorat rivals, and then go into the general election season with a party that resents you bitterly. 

I like the way this election is shaping up.

A report in the International Business Times adds to the woes of the soon-to-be-announced Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.  Matthew Cunningham-Cook writes a long and interesting account of the dealings between the Clinton Foundation and an oil magnate named Frank Giustra and his company, Pacific Rubiales, with major operations in Colombia.  Those pledges may have had something to do with remarkable changes from the then-secretary of state.

It sure looks a lot as though money bought silence over labor strife and its armed suppression at a Pacific Rubiales refinery in Colombia.

… as union leaders and human rights activists conveyed these harrowing reports of violence to then-Secretary of State Clinton in late 2011, urging her to pressure the Colombian government to protect labor organizers, she responded first with silence, these organizers say. The State Department publicly praised Colombia’s progress on human rights, thereby permitting hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to flow to the same Colombian military that labor activists say helped intimidate workers.

He notes:

… these were precisely the sorts of discomfiting accounts that were supposed to be prevented in Colombia under a labor agreement that accompanied a recently signed free trade pact liberalizing the exchange of goods between the countries.

The clincher:

At the same time that Clinton's State Department was lauding Colombia’s human rights record, her family was forging a financial relationship with Pacific Rubiales, the sprawling Canadian petroleum company at the center of Colombia’s labor strife. The Clintons were also developing commercial ties with the oil giant’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, who now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global philanthropic empire.

The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation -- supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself -- Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it “strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.” The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra. (snip)

“The Colombian government continued to make progress on improving respect for human rights, both within the Armed Forces and in Colombia at large,” the State Department declared in 2012, despite the allegations of collusion between the Colombian military and Pacific Rubiales to intimidate workers. By that time, Pacific Rubiales and its international financial partners had committed $4.4 million to the Clinton Foundation’s initiative with Giustra, and Giustra had pledged to donate more than $100 million to the joint venture.

Hillary Clinton with Frank Giustra (far left), Louise Arbour, and U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering (right).  Via Flickr and IBT.

The campaign commercials practically write themselves for any Republican candidate.  Labor unions that contribute scores of millions of dollars to Democrat presidential campaigns will have a few questions to ask about this as well.

… the AFL-CIO cited persistent violence against Colombian union organizers in its push to block a new 12-nation trade deal that Clinton has championed.

And the Elizabeth Warren/progressive faction of the Democrats will not be happy, either.

Run, Hillary, run! Use that "insane amount of money" you raise to bludgeon all Demcorat rivals, and then go into the general election season with a party that resents you bitterly. 

I like the way this election is shaping up.