The Clintons refused to tell the public who was donating millions upon millions of dollars to Billy Boy’s charitable foundation and library fund during her presidential run. But in a deal with Team Obama, this long-sought-after disclosure is apparently the price they are willing to pay to secure her Secretary of State nomination.
It will be announced on Monday, according to wire reports:
President-elect Barack Obama planned to nominate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as his secretary of state on Monday, transforming a once-bitter political rivalry into a high-level strategic and diplomatic partnership.
Obama will name the New York senator to his national security team at a news conference in Chicago, Democratic officials said Saturday. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for the transition team.
To clear the way for his wife to take the job, former President Bill Clinton agreed to disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation. He’ll also refuse donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, his annual charitable conference, and will cease holding C.G.I. meetings overseas.
Bill Clinton’s business deals and global charitable endeavors were expected to create problems for the former first lady’s nomination. But in negotiations with the Obama transition team, the former president agreed to several measures designed to bring transparency to his post-presidential work.
Here’s what we do know about Clinton’s foreign backers as a result of voluntary disclosures, via USAToday from April 2008:
Donors have pledged more than $500 million for construction of the library and for the Clinton Foundation, which administers the library as well as his global anti-AIDS and sustainable development campaigns.
That is an enormous amount for someone to be raising from friends, business partners, foreign governments and interested parties who are either barred from making campaign contributions or limited to the $2,300 maximum. Because of the former president’s unusual position and the sheer size of this conduit into a potential presidential administration, the complete list of donors should be made public.
Some donors volunteered their names at the time of their gifts or when asked by reporters. What little is known about the others suggests that a good number are as interested in influencing public policy, or benefiting from the Clintons’ worldwide ties, as they are in supporting presidential scholarship or economic development.
The Saudi royal family gave $10 million, according to The Washington Post, and numerous foreign governments have given $1 million. The largest contributors appear to include Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú, Canadian mining entrepreneur Frank Giustra and the Lundin Group, a Canadian oil and gas company. Each has publicly pledged $100 million for development projects.
These gifts raise a number of questions, particularly in the case of Giustra, who in 2005 flew with Clinton to Kazakhstan, where his connections to the former president impressed officials enough to win him a lucrative uranium mining contract. They also raise the question of what favors might be sought by other donors who don’t want to be identified.
Clinton argues that the confidentiality he promised his donors should take precedence over calls for transparency…
Never mind all that now. Hillary’s got a Foggy Bottom office with her name on it. Confidentiality, schmonfidentiality.
Should be quite a treasure trove when those full donor lists are released.
They are going to be released, aren’t they, Mr. Hope and Change?
The NYT reports on the other conditions the Clintons agreed to:
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The disclosure of contributors is among nine conditions that Mr. Clinton signed off on during discussions with representatives of Mr. Obama; all go beyond the requirements of law. Among other issues, he agreed to incorporate his Clinton Global Initiative separately from his foundation so that he has less direct involvement. The initiative, which promotes efforts to fight disease, poverty and climate change, would no longer hold annual meetings outside of the United States or accept new contributions from foreign governments.
Mr. Clinton also agreed to submit his future personal speeches and business activities for review by State Department ethics officials and, if necessary, by the White House counsel’s office.
The former president’s web of business and charitable activities raised questions about how he could continue to travel the world soliciting multimillion-dollar contributions for his foundation and collecting six-figure speaking fees for himself from foreign organizations and individuals while his wife conducted American foreign policy.
Lawyers for Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama spent days crafting the agreement in hopes of addressing any concerns about Mr. Clinton’s activities. He had previously said he would do whatever the Obama transition team asked in order to make it possible for his wife to serve without questions. Mr. Obama’s team said it was satisfied that the concessions Mr. Clinton made should defuse any potential controversy. Until Saturday, only some elements of the agreement had become public.
Neither Mr. Obama’s office nor Mr. Clinton’s office would comment. The disclosure of Mr. Clinton’s full agreement on a Saturday night might have the effect of drawing less attention to it while keeping the focus Monday on Mrs. Clinton.
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