16:34 GMT +319 November 2019
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    'Family Business': Who Gave Money to Clinton Foundation

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    Formally known as the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation, the charity established by the former US president in 1997 has been at the center of a pay-to-play controversy, which has become particularly toxic during the election campaign that has seen Hillary Clinton vie for the top job in the United States.

    The Clinton Foundation is a nonprofit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the US tax code which has received donations from foreign, corporate and private entities to "take on the biggest challenges of the 21st century." But many have questioned whether wealthy donors have used the nonprofit to influence US foreign policy and receive political favors completely unrelated to philanthropy, particularly while Hillary Clinton was working at the US State Department.

    The FBI has ostensibly launched an investigation into the Clinton Foundation over a year ago and treats it as a "high priority" case.

    Donations or contracts?

    Qatar's $1 million gift to the foundation marking Bill Clinton's 65th birthday is a fine case in point. The charity did not notify the US State Department that it received the hefty check, although Hillary Clinton pledged to inform the State Department's ethics official if the organization received donations from a new foreign entity or in case an existing sponsor wanted to "increase materially" its support.

    The $1 million gift was mentioned in one of the email sent to John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign chairman, that have been published by WikiLeaks.

    The Clinton Foundation has been reluctant to comment on the issue, but earlier this week, spokesman Brian Cookstra confirmed that the charity received the $1 million gift, but said that it did not amount to a "material increase" in Qatar's support for the nonprofit.

    The Clinton Foundation's wealthy donors apparently do not come exclusively from Gulf monarchies.  

    Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, one of the richest men in the country, has been one of the largest individual contributors to the charity. He is the son-in-law to Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine's second president. In 2010, Bill Clinton is said to have attended the billionaire's 50th birthday party in Courchevel, a ski resort in the French Alps. A year later, Pinchuk was invited to the former US president's 65th birthday party in New York.

    In addition, there have been reports that the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) did not provide detailed information on foreign donations it received from 2010 until 2014 and that Clinton's speaking fees overlapped with the initiatives launched by the foundation. For instance, in 2014, the former US president gave speech before the Fragrance Foundation, a trade group that is said to have later benefited from a Clinton Foundation project launched in Haiti. The former US president received $260,000 for a speech that lasted less than an hour.

    Donald Trump has referred to the Clinton Foundation as a "criminal enterprise."

    "Saudi Arabia giving $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries. You talk about women and women's rights? So these are people that push gays off business, off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly, and yet you take their money," the Republican presidential hopeful observed during the third debate.

    Professor Candice J. Nelson of American University and Michael Traugott, Research Professor at University of Michigan, told RIA Novosti that there would most likely be no legal implications for the Clinton Foundation. Michael Parcel, Director of Operations at the Center on Global Interests, noted that controversies related to the charity mostly interest Trump supporters.

    "In other words, it is highly unlikely that any cases will be brought against the Clinton Foundation without new disclosures from WikiLeaks or investigations launched if Trump is elected president" Grigory Dubovitsky wrote for RIA Novosti.

    In a bid to alleviate concerns with regard to the foundation, Bill Clinton has announced that the charity would no longer receive donations from foreign or corporate entities if Hillary is elected the next US president.

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    Tags:
    donations, investigation, Clinton Foundation, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Department of State, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, United States, Qatar
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