NEW YORK – The Clinton Foundation scandals form a centerpiece of investigative journalist Ed Klein’s new book on Hillary Clinton, “Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary,” providing additional support to the series of articles published by WND reporting Wall Street analyst and investor Charles Ortel’s research alleging the Clinton Foundation is a “vast criminal conspiracy.”
Klein discloses that an FBI investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state also includes a probe into conflicts of interest in the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of foreign donations while she was secretary of state.
Klein believes Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett were behind Obama’s decision to launch the FBI investigation.
“Both Michelle and Val thought that the FBI and the Justice Department should be ordered by the president to investigate the Clintons’ conflict of interest,” Klein wrote. “Valerie argued that Hillary had deliberately lied to the president about not taking foreign donations for the foundation while she was secretary of state, and that she had ignored warnings about the use of her private email account.”
Klein reported that Obama “flinched at the idea of an official investigation,” worried it could cost the Democrats the 2016 presidential elections.
“It was awkward, but the two women got what they wanted,” Klein concluded. “At least some investigation of the Clinton Foundation would move forward.”
‘Embarrassment of riches’
“Like everything else that Bill and Hillary touched, the foundation was a sketchy operation that skirted legality and often fell over the edge,” Klein wrote, noting that for every $10 the Clinton Foundation collected, only $1 actually went to charitable causes.
The other $9, he said, were spent on “euphemisms like ‘office supplies’ and ‘travel.’”
“With its embarrassment of riches – [the Clinton Foundation] had collected $2 billion since its creation – it was able to do a smattering of good work, especially in the areas of healthcare, AIDs, and addressing poverty in America,” Klein noted. “But it spend money indiscriminately, and mostly on itself.”
In May, WND reported Ortel called for the Clinton Foundation to be “shut down” for having violated state and federal charitable-giving laws that outlaw “private inurement,” the crime of enriching themselves through a non-profit organization. He charged that the Clinton Foundation amounted to nothing more than “an elaborate scheme devised by the Clintons to enrich themselves through schemes such as skimming tens of millions of dollars from U.N. levies imposed on airline travelers.”
In April, WND reported Ortel’s documentation that the Clinton Foundation obtained UNITAID funds collected from levies imposed on French airlines travelers to distribute “drastically substandard” generic antiretroviral drugs to Third World countries, including Africa, that had no chance of helping HIV/AIDS patients.
‘Days of wine and roses’
Klein also provided evidence to support Ortel’s allegation that the Clinton Foundation had accepted charitable donations to combat HIV/AIDS without first filing with the IRS to obtain a determination letter authorizing the Clinton Foundation to accept tax-favored donations for that purpose.
“The foundation had a random way of selecting which causes it supported, but basically it came down to whatever Bill wanted,” Klein noted. “Money went from everything from sustainable farming in South America to saving elephants in Africa.”
Klein also charged the Clinton Foundation readily mixed the foundation’s charitable staff with political campaign activities, rewarding the employees with expensive meals charged to the foundation’s expense account.
“The foundation had a huge field organization, which could be transformed with a snap of Bill’s fingers into a get-out-the-vote army for Hillary’s campaign,” Klein elaborated. “Bill treated these foot soldiers with his customary grandiosity; from time to time, he sent out a memo encouraging them to take their spouses to an expensive dinner and charge the meal to the foundation.”
Klein noted that with Hillary’s decision to run for president in 2016, Bill’s “days of wine and roses” might be over, largely because he “was going to find it harder to solicit donors from his foreign friends – something he enjoyed doing and was very good at.”
‘His personal enterprise’
Klein provides anecdotal support to concerns that Eric Braverman, who had worked with Chelsea Clinton at the international consulting firm McKinsey & Company, quit as CEO of the Clinton Foundation in disgust over the foundation’s internal disarray after only 18 months on the job. only one month after the foundation’s board had awarded him a salary of more than $395,000 plus bonus.
Klein’s comment came in the context of discussing Donna Shalala, a close friend of Hillary Clinton and a former secretary of health and human services in the Clinton administration, who was chosen by Hillary to replace Braverman after his sudden departure, because the foundation was “a mess” and Hillary hoped Shalala would “crack the whip.”
Shalala, Klein said, was “known as a tough, no-nonsense manager, and Hillary had asked her to take over as the Clinton Foundation’s new president and chief executive.”
Braverman “had quit in disgust over its practices,” Klein concluded simply.
Two pages later, Klein quoted an unnamed friend of the Clintons who was quoted saying Shalala’s disciplined ways were unlikely to have any affect at reforming Bill Clinton’s determination to run the Clinton Foundation for his personal enrichment and enjoyment.
“Bill was extremely fond of Donna, too,” Klein commented.
But he saw Shalala’s appointment as Clinton Foundation CEO “as an unwanted intrusion into the affairs of his personal enterprise.”
Klein said Bill Clinton “didn’t make a distinction between himself and the foundation; they were one and the same to him,” Klein continued.
‘A smoldering gun”’
Klein also provided anecdotal evidence that while secretary of state, Hillary Clinton continued to conduct Clinton Foundation business.
He quoted three anonymous sources who claimed to work for Hillary Clinton in the State Department, each of whom testified to seeing papers with the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative logos prominently displayed.
One of the three told Klein that Hillary Clinton justified working on Clinton Foundation business while she was secretary of state because Hillary believed “the work she did at State and the work at the foundation and the Global Initiative were related and complemented each other.”
While Klein indicates this testimony might not constitute a “smoking gun” that would deny Hillary Clinton the presidency in 2016, he wrote a chapter arguing that her conflict of interest with the Clinton Foundation while serving as secretary of state constituted at least a “smoldering gun.”
Klein argued that a major reason Hillary Clinton has worked to avoid press conferences in her 2016 presidential campaign is that she does not want to answer questions about what would happen to the Clinton Foundation is she should happen to win.
When reporters attempted to ask if conflicts of interest, real or perceived, would prevent the Clinton Foundation from raising money at home and abroad, as well as beginning new projects at home and abroad if “one of its founders sits in the Oval Office.
“On these and all other important issues, Hillary remained silent,” Klein wrote.
“When Hillary finally agreed to answer questions about her emails and the Clinton Foundation, she offered what New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin described as ‘mush,’” Klein observed. “To Goodwin’s ear, Hillary sounded like the Tammany Hall boss George Washington Plunkitt, who defended ‘honest graft’ and said of his riches, ‘I seen my opportunities and I took ’em.’”