An Associated Press investigation showing more than half of the visitors to Hillary Clinton’s State Department office from outside government gave money to the Clinton Foundation are raising the profile of long-simmering questions about whether her “reset” with Russia actually was a “sellout.”

AP’s report on its review of visitors to Clinton’s State office and those who gave money to her family’s foundation understated, “It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.”

The appearance of cash-for-access already had been raised in connection with Russia, its tech development efforts and American secrets by Peter Schweizer, the author of “Clinton Cash” and the president of the Government Accountability Institute.

He wrote in the Wall Street Journal on July 31 that tens of millions of dollars in donations came in to the Clinton Foundation while America’s top high-tech firms were working to develop a high-tech industry in Russia through a program Clinton was pursuing.

But at the same time, he wrote, the FBI warned that Russia possibly was gaining access to America’s “dual-use technologies,” those that could be used in business but also in military applications.

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Schweizer cited the American companies’ work with the Skolkovo Foundation, whose vice president, Conor Lenihan, a previous partner with the Clinton Foundation, reported the Russian effort to boost tech development had assembled “29 Russian, American and European ‘Key Partners.'”

“Of the 28 ‘partners,’ 17, or 60 percent, have made financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation, totaling tens of millions of dollars, or sponsored speeches by Bill Clinton,” he wrote.

Schweizer pointed that Russians linked to Skolkovo and the flow of funds to the Clintons included Andrea Vavilov of SuperOx, “part of Skolkovo’s nuclear-research cluster,” and billionaire “Putin confidant” Viktor Vekselberg, who gave money to the Clintons through his company, Renova Group.

“Amid all the sloshing of Russia rubles and American dollars, however, the state-of-the-art technological research coming out of Skolkovo raised alarms among U.S. military experts and federal law-enforcement officials. Research conducted in 2012 on Skolkovo by the U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Program at Fort Leavenworth declared that the purpose of Skolkovo was to serve as a ‘vehicle for world-wide technology transfer to Russia in the areas of information technology, biomedicine, energy, satellite and space technology, and nuclear technology.'”

Schweizer said “the Skolkovo Foundation has, in fact, been involved in defense-related activities since December 2011, when it approved the first weapons-related project – the development of a hypersonic cruise missile engine. … Not all of the center’s efforts are civilian in nature.”

The FBI even went to the effort to place an op-ed in the Boston Business Journal noting it had warned tech and other companies: “The FBI believes the true motives of the Russian partners, who are often funded by their government, is to gain access to classified, sensitive, and emerging technology from the companies.”

The Boston journal said the Skolkovo Foundation “may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial application.”

This all followed on Hillary Clinton’s “reset” with Russia, which included efforts to support Skolkovo, which Schweizer described as an “innovation city” of 30,000 people on the outskirts of Moscow.

While Russia committed $5 billion to the “Silicon Valley” copy, Clinton’s State Department “worked aggressively to attract U.S. investment partners and helped the Russian State Investment Fund, Rusnano, identify American tech companies worth of Russian investment.”

“Soon, dozens of U.S. tech firms, including top Clinton Foundation donors like Google, Intel … and Cisco … made major financial contributions to Skolkova, with Cisco committing a cool $1 billion.”

Schweizer pointed out the problem.

“Even if it could be proven that these tens of millions of dollars in Clinton Foundation donations by Skolkovo’s key partners played no role in the Clinton State Department’s missing or ignoring obvious red flags about the Russian enterprise, the perception would still be problematic.

“What is known is that the State Department recruited and facilitated the commitment of billions of American dollars in the creation of a Russian ‘Silicon Valley’ whose technological innovations include Russian hypersonic cruise-missile engines, radar surveillance equipment, and vehicles capable of delivering airborne Russian troops.”

The new AP investigation showed the 85 donors it identified contributed as much as $156 million to the Clintons.

The AP reported donors who were granted time with Clinton included:

  • an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran;
  • a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem;
  • and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.

The AP said the “frequency of the overlaps [of those meeting Clinton and those contributing money] shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.”

The report said Clinton also met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton charity, but they were not included in AP’s calculations because such meetings presumably would have been part of her diplomatic duties.

Meanwhile, an investigation of the Clinton Foundation’s $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 found that only $9 million went to direct aid to charities. The bulk of its revenues went to administration, travel, salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family and friends.

On its 2013 tax forms, the most recent available, the foundation claimed it spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on “conferences, conventions and meetings”; $8 million on fundraising; and nearly $8.5 million on travel. None of the Clintons is on the payroll, but they do enjoy first-class flights paid for by the foundation.

So far, some 6,000 donors have given the organization about $2 billion.

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