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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Clinton Cash and Arms Sales

David Sirota writes at the International Business Times:
Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.
The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase incompleted sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.
American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.
At Salon, Sirota writes:
During Hillary Clinton’s 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said the Clinton Foundation should stop accepting foreign government money. He warned that if it didn’t, “foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state.”
The Clintons did not take his advice. Advocates for limits on the political influence of money now say that Lugar was prescient.
“The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center.
While these arms deals may seem like ancient history, Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, says they “raise a fundamental question of judgment” — one that is relevant to the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Can it really be that the Clintons didn’t recognize the questions these transactions would raise?” he said. “And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?”