Politics & Policy

The Clinton Foundation Reeks of Crooks, Thieves, and Hoods

(Andrew Burton/Getty)

Hillary Clinton “re-launched” her floundering campaign Saturday on Roosevelt Island, formerly and fittingly known as Welfare Island. Clinton’s desperate effort to associate herself with “everyday Americans” contrasts starkly with the crooked elites with whom she and Bill normally cavort.

In fact, the Clinton Foundation, Bill and Hillary’s elaborate slush fund, includes numerous donors and even one-time board members with dodgy backgrounds, shady dealings, and even criminal convictions that should repel rather than lure a once and perhaps future president of the United States. Peter Schweizer’s meticulously researched new best-seller Clinton Cash (complete with 635 endnotes) delineates this ultimate power couple’s sordid circle.


Bill Clinton and Vinod Gupta

‐The Securities and Exchange Commission charged former Clinton Foundation trustee Vinod Gupta with fraud in 2008. He misallocated $9.5 million from InfoUSA, the database company he chaired, in order to finance credit-card bills, a yacht, personal trips to Cancun and South Africa, and 20 cars. He and the SEC settled for $7.3 million. Meanwhile, InfoUSA’s shareholders sued Gupta for flying the Clintons in the company jet and paying Bill $3 million in corporate cash for consulting. InfoUSA settled with stockowners for $13 million.

 Bill Clinton and Victor Dahdaleh

‐Great Britain’s Serious Fraud Office accused Clinton Foundation ex-trustee Victor Dahdaleh of paying Bahraini officials £35 million (roughly $52 million) to win sales contracts for Alcoa, the U.S. aluminum giant, with which he was a “super-agent.” Dahdaleh was jailed twice before his trial, but ultimately acquitted when a key witness, Bruce Hall, pleaded guilty to conspiracy but then refused to testify against Dahdaleh. However, Alcoa pleaded guilty to its role in this skullduggery and settled with the Justice Department for $384 million.

Sant Chatwal and Hillary Clinton

‐Sikh Indian restaurateur and hotelier Sant Chatwal was a Clinton Foundation trustee. He donated to Hillary’s 2000 Senate and 2008 presidential campaigns, directed millions in speaking fees to the Clintons, and gave millions more to their foundation. During a May 2001 visit to India, Chatwal was arrested for allegedly defrauding the Bank of India of $9 million that he borrowed in 1994. He posted bail, “then fled India, boarding a flight to Vienna, despite an attempt by authorities to detain him,” according to the New York Daily News.

In April 2014, Chatwal appeared in Brooklyn’s U.S. District Courthouse and pleaded guilty to conspiracy, witness tampering, and having “funneled more than $180,000 in illegal contributions between 2007 and 2011 to three federal candidates,” including Hillary. “Attempting to buy elections through illegal campaign contributions is unacceptable,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos. “It is also illegal.” Chatwal was sentenced to three years’ probation, a $500,000 fine, and 1,000 hours of community service.

Sant Chatwal, Hillary Clinton, and Vikram Chatwal

‐Chatwal’s son Vikram bundled donations for Hillary’s 2008 campaign. Nicknamed the Turban Cowboy, Vikram counted Bill Clinton among the guests at his 2006 wedding in India. In April 2013, Schweizer explains, Vikram was arrested after Fort Lauderdale airport officials “found a half gram of cocaine and six grams of heroin in his underwear.” Vikram Chatwal avoided jail by completing a one-year drug rehabilitation program.

Gulnara Karimova and Bill Clinton

‐Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov’s eldest daughter, Gulnara Karimova, considered Bill Clinton “among her friends,” after she co-sponsored a June 2012 Clinton Foundation fundraiser in Monaco, NBC’s Today Show reported. According to a July 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, she was “hoping that a connection with him will allow her to establish good relations with the secretary of state” — Hillary Clinton. As another cable explained, “Most Uzbeks see Karimova as a greedy, power-hungry individual who uses her father to crush business people or anyone else who stands in her way . . . She remains the single most hated person in the country.” Alas for Gulnara, she evidently disappointed her father. According to Schweizer, “She is thought to be under house arrest in Uzbekistan.”

Amar Singh and Hillary Clinton

‐Indian legislator Amar Singh hosted Bill Clinton in Lucknow, India, in September 2005. Singh, in turn, sat at the head table at 2005’s Clinton Global Initiative gala and, soon thereafter, dined privately with the Clintons at their home. As the Times of India observed, Singh “seems to dote on the Clintons.” Indeed, he donated $1–5 million to the Clinton Foundation — “between 20 and 100 percent of his entire net worth,” Schweizer notes.

(Maddeningly, government-disclosure rules often permit powerful people and entities to report donations, assets, income, and expenses in vast ranges. This is totally unhelpful and obscures transparency. This absurd practice should be replaced with frequent and complete reporting, down to the penny.)

In September 2011, Schweizer writes, Singh “was arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act for bribing three members of parliament during a crucial 2008 vote” related to a U.S.-Indian nuclear-technology agreement. Singh never was tried. He was booted from the Samajwadi party, however, ending his political career.

Claudio Osorio and Bill Clinton

Claudio Osorio was CEO of Innovida, a Florida-based building-materials company on whose board Jeb Bush served. Osorio was a major fundraiser for Hillary’s 2008 campaign and financially supported the Clinton Global Initiative. While Hillary was at State, Innovida scored a $10 million federal loan to build 500 homes in Haiti after its severe 2010 earthquake. Alas, those residences never were constructed. Osorio was convicted of financial fraud, namely using humanitarian assistance “for his and his co-conspirators’ personal benefit,” prosecutors said. Osorio is currently serving twelve years in federal prison.

Bill Clinton and Gilbert Chagoury

‐Lebanese-British businessman Gilbert Chagoury operated as a front man for the commercial dealings of the late Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha. “You couldn’t investigate corruption without looking at Chagoury,” said Nigerian prosecutor Nuhu Ribadu. He accused Chagoury of funneling more than $4 billion from Nigeria into banks on the Isle of Jersey, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. In 1996, Chagoury donated $460,000 to a Miami-based Democratic voter-registration group. That year, he also attended the Clintons’ White House Christmas party. In 2000, Switzerland convicted Chagoury of money laundering and “aiding a criminal organization in connection with the billions of dollars stolen from Nigeria during the Abacha years,” as PBS’s Frontline reported. In 2010, Chagoury was on the federal terrorist no-fly list.

Whatever! The Clinton Foundation nonetheless accepted at least $1 million from Chagoury. Through his company, he also pledged $1 billion (with a B) to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009. That year, CGI gave the Chagoury Group a prize for “sustainable development.”

“Why do the Clintons put themselves again and again in positions that raise questions about their ethical conduct?” Schweizer wonders. While his critics say he has yet to unveil a smoking gun, Schweizer has identified enough smoke to asphyxiate the entire population of Chappaqua. Lacking subpoena power and arrest warrants, Schweizer and his forensic team have accomplished about all that they can with their phones, computer keyboards, and indisputable talent for analyzing documents and connecting dots.

“The pattern of behavior I have established is too blatant to ignore,” Schweizer writes, “and deserves legal scrutiny by those with investigative capabilities that go beyond journalism.”

For their part, Democrats should think long and hard about whether nominating the first woman for president is worth having these and other hoodlums dominate the headlines in a fall 2016 campaign that reeks of a RICO indictment.

UPDATE: Mr. Dahdaleh’s attorneys assert that his acquittal was based on the facts that “(i) Bruce Hall had pleaded guilty and gave evidence for the prosecution but the account he gave in Court on oath under cross examination did not provide evidence such that the prosecution had a realistic prospect of securing a conviction; and (ii) two key witnesses from the USA, the lawyers for the complainant company, Alba, were unwilling to attend trial in the UK and face cross-examination, which impacted on the fairness of the trial as well as the prospects of conviction.”

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.