13:48 GMT +330 March 2017
    US Sen. John McCain

    Bought and Sold? John McCain’s Foundation Took $1 Million from Saudi Arabia

    © AP Photo/ Matt York
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    The contribution came as President Obama attempted to negotiate the nuclear agreement with Iran, Saudi’s regional adversary, raising concerns that a foreign government influenced internal US policy.

    A new scandal has erupted involving US Senator John McCain of Arizona — his nonprofit organization, the McCain Institute for International Leadership, received a $1 million donation from the repressive government of Saudi Arabia in 2014. The news is likely to impact his closely contested US Senate race against Arizona Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, a race that pollsters say is within the margin of error.


    US federal law strictly bans foreign contributions to electoral campaigns, but the restriction does not apply to nonprofits engaged in policy even those organizations bearing the name of a sitting lawmaker. Although likely not a technical violation of the law, McCain’s foundation is interconnected with his reelection campaign, the candidate’s fundraiser is listed as the contact person for the foundation.

    Campaign ethics organizations argue that this contribution is merely an end around allowing the Saudi government to make a large contribution in hopes of influencing policy. 

    "Foreign governments are prohibited from financing candidate campaigns and political parties," Craig Holman of the watchdog organization Public Citizen, said. "Funding the lawmakers’ nonprofit organizations is the next best thing."

    Is This Truly a Scandal or is this Politics as Usual in Washington? 

    The connection of John McCain’s foundation to the repressive House of Saud is not really atypical for foundations in the name of well-established politicians. The Clinton Foundation, for instance, includes among its top donors several foreign governments including Saudi Arabia.


    The Clinton Foundation, founded in 1998, has accepted tens of millions from foreign governments in recent years, including while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State to President Barack Obama. The Clinton Foundation challenges that Hillary was not involved in the organization’s work when she served with the Obama administration and that the massive amounts of Saudi contributions had no bearing on US foreign policy towards Riyadh. 

    The contribution to McCain’s foundation does, however, set a new precedent as the first time that a foreign government has contributed to the foundation of a sitting US elected official. 

    More concerning is that the McCain Institute for International Leadership did not originally disclose the 2014 donation from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and only updated the website following an inquiry from Bloomberg News.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the war academy in Istanbul, Turkey March 28, 2016, in this handout photo provided by the Presidential Palace
    © REUTERS/ Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace

    Some now question whether the timing of the donation impacted John McCain’s posturing towards the Obama administration’s growing coldness towards the Saudi regime. The donation came while President Obama negotiated with Iran, a regional adversary of the Saudis, which Riyadh staunchly opposed. John McCain sided with Tea Party legislators, who McCain is typically critical of, in blasting the President’s move towards diplomacy.  


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    campaign finance, Iran nuclear deal, US foreign policy, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, foreign agent, foreign affairs, foreign donations, Arizona State University, The Clinton Foundation, House of Saud, John McCain Institute for International Leadership, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Ann Kirkpatrick, Barack Obama, John McCain, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Arizona, United States
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    • Skevin
      This guy is a crook he did not stop lying about the period when he was a war prisonner in Vietnam after beeing captured when bombing civilians in North Vietnam. He made his carrer on these lies.
    • avatar
      John McCain says he has never met with a terrorist he didn't like. *sarcasm*
    • avatar
      You have to love US politics......
    • avatar
      business as usual it seems. washington politics is as the inmates of bedlam putting on a play penned by machiavelli.
    • Sam Handwich
      bought and paied for
    • avatar
      Well, the Saudis and McCain have so much in common! They both love murder and chopping heads off! Maybe they'll help McCain out. He has 20 pounds of ugly fat he wants to get rid of. It's sitting on top of his shoulders!
    • avatar
      a criminal crook
    • avatar
      This fanatic looks and behaves like a zombie.He is the emblem of how the US Government is,a degenerate,lose,kind of people who are out of control like pigs fighting over food in their trough.
    • avatar
      "McCain Institute for International Leadership"
      First you'll gag, and then you'll gag again..
    • Alabama Mothman
      And we wonder why all these politicians leave office richer many times over.

      That's why they dont want Trump in office. It's to keep their gravy train going.
    • avatar
      That picture makes McCain look like he just can't squeeze that last bit of crap out. I loathe this man!
    • Dirk Ramsey
      America has the best(?) government (?) money can buy.v
    • avatar
      Explains why he wants to destroy Syria and Iran he's in the Saudis back pocket . He loves the Saudi money too more than doing what's right like many American politicians
    • avatar
      Part of the Manchurian candidate’s mind was unfortunately left in a hole in Vietnam under the rigours of the brainwashing using Korean techniques.
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