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A Chinagate/Clinton crony returns

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 5, 2010 05:12 AM

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has no idea how Chinagate scandal figure and old family friend James Riady found his way back into the country this year.

No idea whatsoever, according to the Washington Post:

In March 2004, James Riady, an Indonesian tycoon and devout Christian, received an honorary doctorate from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. The university — which has a scholarship program funded by the Indonesian — didn’t announce the honor. Nor did Riady pick up the diploma in person: He’d been barred from America after pleading guilty in 2001 to a “conspiracy to defraud the United States” through illegal contributions to the campaigns of Bill Clinton and other Democrats.

Last year, however, the Indonesian mogul finally made it to Arkansas. He traveled there during the first of two previously unreported trips he made in 2009 to the United States. He was allowed in only after receiving a waiver from a rule that forbids entry to foreigners guilty of “a crime involving moral turpitude,” a term that government lawyers generally interpret to include fraud.

Riady’s return to the United States poses a prickly question for Hillary Clinton’s State Department: How and why did a foreign billionaire stained by Clinton-era scandals get a U.S. visa after being kept out for so long under the Bush administration?

Oh, and that $20,000 Riady donated to Bill Clinton’s philanthropic foundation? Nah, no appearance of a quid pro quo there. None whatsoever:

Riady, 52, declined to be interviewed but, in an e-mailed response to written questions, he said the teachings of Christ “inform all that I do.” He said he hadn’t seen the Clintons during his 2009 trips to America but did pay $20,000 to become a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual gathering of prominent figures in politics, business and philanthropy sponsored by Bill Clinton.

A senior State Department official said Hillary Clinton had no knowledge of the decision to let Riady enter the United States. The tycoon’s visa, he said, was issued by the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta after the Indonesian asked to travel to America so that he could attend family graduation ceremonies. Riady, added the official, was granted entry for a “very narrow purpose.”

I know, I know. It’s silly to even entertain the idea that something untoward went on here.

I mean, it’s not like Hillary’s ever intervened before on behalf of her hubby’s donors.

Oh, wait…oops…

Secretary of State appointee Hillary Rodham Clinton intervened at least six times in government issues directly affecting companies and others that later contributed to her husband’s foundation, an Associated Press review of her official correspondence found.

The overlap of names on former President Bill Clinton’s foundation donor list and business interests whose issues she championed raises new questions about potential ethics conflicts between her official actions and her husband’s fundraising. The AP obtained three of the senator’s government letters under the Freedom of Information Act.

Much more documented in Culture of Corruption.

Fun fact: DHS signed off on Riady’s entry, too.

You know what that means: The system’s working!

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