Critics of WikiLeaks claim its leaking of sleazy Clinton e-mails is serving the interests of Vladimir Putin, who wants Donald Trump to win the 2016 election. But, if Putin is in fact behind the WikiLeaks dumps, he may actually be making a safer bet. Should Trump lose, a weakened Hillary Clinton will take office with a big chunk of the American people viewing her as illegitimate and many others as untrustworthy in foreign affairs. That kind of geopolitical advantage could be priceless.
The latest WikiLeaks revelation is a 2011 memo from top Clinton aide Doug Band outlining conflicts of interest at the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was secretary of state. It essentially is a confession of massive charity fraud and corruption. As Politico reports: “The memo at one point refers bluntly to the money-making part of Clinton’s life as ‘Bill Clinton Inc.’ and notes that in at least one case a company — global education firm Laureate International Universities — began paying Clinton personally after first being a donor to the Clinton Foundation.”
While clear evidence of a quid pro quo between donors to the Clinton Foundation and State Department officials hasn’t surfaced yet, there are lots of warm pistols. Peter Schweizer, the author of the book Clinton Cash, wrote last August in the Wall Street Journal about large donations to the Clinton Foundation from the Kremlin-backed Stolknovo Foundation:
The (Clinton) State Department recruited and facilitated the commitment of billions of American dollars in the creation of a Russian “Silicon Valley” whose technological innovations include Russian hypersonic cruise-missile engines, radar surveillance equipment, and vehicles capable of delivering airborne Russian troops.
A Russian reset, indeed.
Moreover, the Clinton Foundation never was authorized by the IRS to engage in activities such as “fighting HIV/AIDS,” providing disaster relief, and tackling “climate change” internationally that are much more fruitful fundraising hooks than the Clinton complex in Little Rock.
The books and internal controls of the Clinton entities remain a shambles, and purposefully, so that the incoming streams of “donations” could be diverted to everything from keeping a retinue of Clinton sycophants in place until Hillary became president to other questionable activities.
The WikiLeaks e-mails reveal a disturbing pattern of international solicitation fraud on the part of Clinton Foundation.
According to investment analyst Charles Ortel, who follows charities closely, the Clinton Foundation hasn’t complied with New York laws that clearly require the identity and amounts of all government grants (domestic and foreign) be reported. New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has suspended the Donald J. Trump Foundation from operating in New York over its questionable activities. As Joe Scarborough noted on Thursday, “Why will Schneiderman not shut the Clinton Foundation down, given that its size dwarfs the Trump Foundation?”
I think we know why. An election in which Hillary Clinton is on the ballot is less than two weeks away. Once the details of the Foundation’s activities come to light, there will likely be evidence of it engaging in massive solicitation and operating frauds.
To solicit in most states and in many nations, charities and their fundraisers must register, making truthful declarations. Early registrations made by the Clinton Foundation in New York, Massachusetts, and Minnesota show it was raising money for limited purposes — namely, the creation of a presidential library and archive based in Little Rock. The IRS requires that money sought and spent should have solely been for these purposes.
E-mails revealed by WikiLeaks show the Foundation expanded into international and other activities without filing the required paperwork. This sloppiness — or deliberate concealment — soon had consequences. In 2008, for example, the Foundation diverted $23 million in an international endowment to another entity to avoid questions about how millions in donations had suddenly disappeared.
Ordinarily, the IRS and other government authorities take much smaller transgressions seriously. Democratic representative Corinne Brown (Fla.) is currently under federal indictment for far less serious transgressions involving a foundation she controlled.
Because of the failure of government authorities to act, Ortel is contacting large private donors to the Clinton Foundation and asking them if they will ask for their money back, given that the Clinton Foundation wasn’t operating lawfully as a tax-exempt organization.“Failures by top donors such as the Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation to attempt retrieving their past donations or to correct their public filings will eventually result in stiff financial and legal penalies,” Ortel warns.
Almost a decade ago, in 2007, Jonathan Rauch of The Atlantic magazine wrote a searching piece on how the then-nascent Clinton Foundation was stretching the envelope of philanthropy in new and sometimes disturbing ways. Rauch’s conclusion was simple: “This is not charity.”
Should Hillary Clinton become president, she will drag the country into yet another national nightmare over her ethics and the ethics of the Clinton Foundation. Who knows what else will be belatedly revealed should she win the White House? Whatever it is, it’s not likely to be pretty or enable her to command the respect of the American people or leaders abroad when she makes tough decisions.
— John Fund is NRO’s national-affairs correspondent.