Hillary Clinton may find herself behind bars sooner than anyone expects; however, it's not her private email server or much discussed "pay-to-play" scheme that is her main Achilles’ heel.
"Let's start from the very beginning," Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst who has been investigating the alleged charity fraud for about two years and publishes his findings on his website, says.
How It All Began
"The United States has precise rules governing how 'charities' spring into life legally and then operate. Most charities are organized in a given US state (or Washington, D.C.) as nonprofit corporations. After completing this step, they frequently apply for federal tax exemption – here, they must complete a detailed application truthfully that explains, among other things, the specific purposes they intend to carry out," Ortel explained in an interview with Sputnik.
"These 'purposes' must, in fact, be tax-exempt in line with statutory provisions that define which purposes serve the public, and which may not," he stressed.
"The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, Inc. is somewhat different in that it was organized to comply with the Presidential Libraries Act of 1955, as later amended, to house 'Presidential Records' (this is a statutorily defined term that means items created or received during Bill Clinton's presidential terms that ran from January 20, 1993, through January 20, 2001), to operate a research facility for those who wish to study these records, and to raise a capital endowment," Ortel clarified.
In addition, to operate a charity lawfully across the US or the whole world, one must comply with solicitation requirements in each of our 50 states and in certain other jurisdictions, which require charities to register and report before raising funds.
The analyst underscored that many states and places levy taxes on charities and their potential donors, who are not exempt unless state and local registrations are completed truthfully.
"Long before 2002, when Bill Clinton, Ira Magaziner and others illegally began soliciting funds, allegedly to 'fight HIV/AIDS internationally,' the original Clinton Foundation failed to register truthfully in numerous states and localities. In addition, the Clinton Foundation filed raise and materially misleading federal tax forms concerning the status of their state and local filings, and other matters," the analyst highlighted.
He emphasized that under applicable rules a "charity" must be organized lawfully and then operated lawfully at all times thereafter.
"So, material defects in public filings for the Clinton Foundation – which was founded on October 23, 1997, in Arkansas – began long before 2002, and have escalated right to the present," Ortel told Sputnik.
Yet another problem brought to light by the analyst is that the Clintons' charity has never been audited in full compliance with the law.
"Afterwards, from December 31, 2009, forward, no purported 'audit' prepared by any accounting firm for any part of the Clinton Foundation opens with a formal 'audit' of the starting position on December 31, 2009. This may be because no part of the Clinton Foundation was lawfully organized by December 2009," Ortel pointed out and added that, in his opinion, "the financial statements put into the public domain by Clinton Foundation trustees define reckless misconduct and seem actionable to me, on many levels."
Indeed, the charity's financial documents contain suspicious gaps and omissions.
Commenting on the foundation's international activities, Ortel noted that what is missing is "granular information required on the local currency results of the Clinton Foundation and currency translation rates into US dollars for each of these foreign operations."
"Also missing is proof that each of these foreign operations was registered lawfully in any foreign nation where the Clinton Foundation operated or solicited donations," he highlighted.
What Lies at the Root of the Gaps and Omissions in the Documents
The question then arises what lay behind these obvious discrepancies and negligence.
Is it ignorance of the law on the part of the Clintons? Unlikely.
According to the analyst, one could not exclude that these discrepancies point to potential fraud and mismanagement of funds.
This is big, the analyst notes, calling attention to the fact that "the penalties under the US state and federal law for charity fraud, particularly involving disaster relief, are incredibly stiff."
One of the shining examples is Rep. Corrine Brown's case: the 69-year-old Democrat has been recently indicted for a $800,000 charity fraud including mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, obstruction and filing of false tax returns. She is facing decades in jail.
"Normally, the IRS and Department of Justice look at the public filings to determine how much 'private benefit' may have been generated through the operation of a supposed 'charity' – this test is performed on a 'collective' basis. In other cases, a collective private benefit of $1,000 or more has been held to be disqualifying," the analyst explained.
What Prevents IRS, FBI From Catching the Clintons Red-Handed
So, what prevented the IRS and FBI from catching the Clintons given their suspicious charity record?
"Normally, the IRS holds enormous power when it chooses to investigate a charity whose public filings seem suspect," Ortel noted, adding that, similarly, the FBI has enough sophisticated resources to "scan" a charity.
There were reports that the Clinton Foundation had been investigated by the IRS and FBI but, surprisingly, these inquiries have not borne any fruit.
"The first investigation of the Clinton Foundation that I find mentioned in the public domain was conducted by the FBI from 2001 through 2005. … During this time, two gentlemen now in the news were involved: James Comey was US attorney and then deputy attorney general of the Justice Department, while Bob Mueller was head of the FBI," Ortel said.
Maybe here is the answer to the question.
"The Clintons have had decades to insert their allies into the IRS, the FBI and Justice, as well as into key state government positions," the analyst noted, "So, until now, the Clintons, the Obamas and others have been able to blunt comprehensive inquiries that likely will expose bipartisan wrongdoing."
That also means that the Clintons charity case could become especially explosive given the fact that so many operatives, trustees, donors, companies and even foreign government officials could have been involved in the suspected fraud.
How the International Community May Contribute to the Charity Probe
To tackle the issue and conclude an investigation into the Clintons' alleged charity fraud one needs to "clean the house" first, the analyst stressed. According to Ortel, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the best-qualified official to carry out this work.
Furthermore, the international community can also join the effort and contribute to the investigation.
"I am already in contact with certain governments concerning the apparent legal status of the Clinton Foundation and the nature/amount of sums solicited and received by Clinton interests, supposedly for charitable pursuits," the analyst said.
"Around the world, the Clintons claim to have operated their charities towards noble-sounding aims. I would be most grateful to receive any information concerning potential infractions," Ortel stressed.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.