HILLARY, JEB UNDER FINANCIAL LENS AHEAD OF ’16 PREZ RACE

WASHINGTON (TIP): Former first lady Hillary Clinton’s presumptive bid for the White House in 2016 has run into rough weather amid allegations that the Clinton Foundation established by her husband and former president Bill Clinton received millions of dollars from foreign governments, some of which may have violated ethics agreement the foundation signed with the Obama administration when she was nominated secretary of state.

The organization, now called the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, is said to have raised nearly $2 billion since its creation in 2001 from “a vast global network that includes corporate titans, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests”.

According to a Washington Post investigation, some of those donations, including a $500,000 contribution from an Algerian government that was simultaneously lobbying the state department on human rights issue, do not the meet high standards the foundation set for itself. Other countries with “complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the US government”, that donated to the fund include Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman.

Contributions to the foundation have also come from the NRI steel baron Laxmi Mittal, the politician Amar Singh (both more than $1 million each) and the Confederation of Indian Industries (over
$500,000) but they were not cited as being controversial.

The paper’s review of the foundation data found substantial overlap between the Clinton political machinery and the foundation. Nearly half of the major donors who are backing Ready for Hillary, a group promoting her 2016 presidential bid, as well as nearly half of the bundlers from her 2008 campaign, have given at least $10,000 to the foundation, the paper said.

The conclusion: Foreign donors and countries that are likely to have interests before a potential Clinton administration —and yet are ineligible to give to US political campaigns — have bought their way in ahead of the curve. Clinton Foundation officials strenuously challenged the conclusion saying their work was purely philanthropic.

Also under the scrutiny in course of his candidature for the White House in 2016 is former Florida governor Jeb Bush, whose wife’s jewellery buying binge from more than a decade ago has attracted media attention now. Colombo Bush, who is Mexican-American, is said to have taken a loan of more than $40,000 in 2000 (when her husband was the Florida governor) to buy among other items, a pair of platinum diamond studs worth more than $25,000 and a Bulgari gold and diamond bracelet worth$10,500.

Some months before that she was stopped at the Atlanta airport when she was found carrying nearly $20,000 worth of clothing and jewelry after declaring only $500 worth of merchandize. She was allowed to go after paying a $4,100 fine.

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