Time to investigate the Clintons for violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act

Now that Hillary Clinton has openly declared that Bill Clinton will be part of her campaign, it is time for the FBI to investigate the Clinton Foundation, of which Bill is the founder, for possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (22 USC 611 et seq).

Since 2008, according to numerous reliable reports, the Clinton Foundation has received hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions from as many as 19 foreign countries and many significant foreign corporations.  These include Algeria, Australia, Brunei, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Taiwan, and the UAE.  During the same period, former President Bill Clinton has personally received millions in speaking fees from a number of these same nations and corporations.

Common sense and an examination of the record indicate that there was no altruistic explanation for these contributions and fees.  On the contrary, these foreign donors were involved in projects or activities that could have benefited politically or commercially from favorable policy decisions by the secretary of state, or from the Clintons’ global contacts.  Therefore, the Foundation and the Clintons individually should be investigated for violating the Federal Agents Registration Act (FARA) for failing to register as agents of those foreign governments and failing to fully disclose these payments.

The issue of donations and fees from foreign governments to the Clintons received a great deal of media attention during March and April of this year, particularly after the publication of the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer.  Since then, Hillary’s email scandal has pre-empted the attention of the press.  However, we should not permit the likelihood of violations of FARA by the Clintons to fade from public scrutiny, and we should resume the demand for an investigation into what is prima facie a massive sale of influence that so far has been conducted with impunity.

In fact, there may be a direct connection between payments by foreign governments to the Foundation and the email scandal, since Mrs. Clinton may well have determined that her email correspondence involving the Foundation was “personal” and therefore would not be turned over to the State Department and would ultimately be “wiped.”

Well-publicized examples that suggest a direct connection between contributions to the Clinton Foundation and United States policy decisions include the sale of 20% of U.S. uranium reserves to a Russian company (2008-2010), the decision not to criticize Algeria’s human rights record (2010), changing its position on the Keystone Pipeline after the Canadian government made a major donation (2014), and a decision not to investigate a donor for violating the Iran sanctions law.

FARA requires anyone who receives a payment from a foreign country or foreign entity and represents its interests in the United States to register as an agent of that country and to file regular reports (sec. 612) and to identify himself as an agent of the foreign government (sec. 614).  Failure to do so is a criminal act (sec. 618).

Many of these donations were not reported by the Foundation, either in its tax returns or on its website.  In fact, in April 2015, the Foundation refiled five years of its 990 tax returns, an event termed “highly unusual” by experts in non-profit organizations.

The Clintons also failed to keep their explicit undertaking to President Obama to desist from accepting contributions from foreign countries while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, and they did not report such contributions.

While many commentators have concluded that these acts by the Clintons constitute conflict of interest, or ethical lapse, or appearance of fraud, none has pointed to a specific law they may have violated.  That law is the FARA, and public interest demands that Congress or the FBI commence an investigation into such possible violations immediately, both by the Foundation and by the Clintons as individuals, since the law provides that officers and directors are personally liable (sec. 617).  Bill Clinton is the founder of the Foundation and a member of the board.  Hillary resigned as a member of the board in 2014 but would remain liable for what occurred during her tenure as an officer.

Now that Hillary Clinton has openly declared that Bill Clinton will be part of her campaign, it is time for the FBI to investigate the Clinton Foundation, of which Bill is the founder, for possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (22 USC 611 et seq).

Since 2008, according to numerous reliable reports, the Clinton Foundation has received hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions from as many as 19 foreign countries and many significant foreign corporations.  These include Algeria, Australia, Brunei, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Taiwan, and the UAE.  During the same period, former President Bill Clinton has personally received millions in speaking fees from a number of these same nations and corporations.

Common sense and an examination of the record indicate that there was no altruistic explanation for these contributions and fees.  On the contrary, these foreign donors were involved in projects or activities that could have benefited politically or commercially from favorable policy decisions by the secretary of state, or from the Clintons’ global contacts.  Therefore, the Foundation and the Clintons individually should be investigated for violating the Federal Agents Registration Act (FARA) for failing to register as agents of those foreign governments and failing to fully disclose these payments.

The issue of donations and fees from foreign governments to the Clintons received a great deal of media attention during March and April of this year, particularly after the publication of the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer.  Since then, Hillary’s email scandal has pre-empted the attention of the press.  However, we should not permit the likelihood of violations of FARA by the Clintons to fade from public scrutiny, and we should resume the demand for an investigation into what is prima facie a massive sale of influence that so far has been conducted with impunity.

In fact, there may be a direct connection between payments by foreign governments to the Foundation and the email scandal, since Mrs. Clinton may well have determined that her email correspondence involving the Foundation was “personal” and therefore would not be turned over to the State Department and would ultimately be “wiped.”

Well-publicized examples that suggest a direct connection between contributions to the Clinton Foundation and United States policy decisions include the sale of 20% of U.S. uranium reserves to a Russian company (2008-2010), the decision not to criticize Algeria’s human rights record (2010), changing its position on the Keystone Pipeline after the Canadian government made a major donation (2014), and a decision not to investigate a donor for violating the Iran sanctions law.

FARA requires anyone who receives a payment from a foreign country or foreign entity and represents its interests in the United States to register as an agent of that country and to file regular reports (sec. 612) and to identify himself as an agent of the foreign government (sec. 614).  Failure to do so is a criminal act (sec. 618).

Many of these donations were not reported by the Foundation, either in its tax returns or on its website.  In fact, in April 2015, the Foundation refiled five years of its 990 tax returns, an event termed “highly unusual” by experts in non-profit organizations.

The Clintons also failed to keep their explicit undertaking to President Obama to desist from accepting contributions from foreign countries while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, and they did not report such contributions.

While many commentators have concluded that these acts by the Clintons constitute conflict of interest, or ethical lapse, or appearance of fraud, none has pointed to a specific law they may have violated.  That law is the FARA, and public interest demands that Congress or the FBI commence an investigation into such possible violations immediately, both by the Foundation and by the Clintons as individuals, since the law provides that officers and directors are personally liable (sec. 617).  Bill Clinton is the founder of the Foundation and a member of the board.  Hillary resigned as a member of the board in 2014 but would remain liable for what occurred during her tenure as an officer.