More problems for DFAT and The Clintons over $70M we appear to have donated to a conman
Monday, 29 February 2016
In April 2015 we first reported on the Australian Government's donations to the Clinton Foundation.
A few months later we brought you more details.
A few days ago the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade made this release under FOI.
Here is the summary table of donations the Australian Government has made to the Clinton's various entities according to DFAT.
The DFAT briefing paper contained in the FOI Release describes the contractual mechanism for the donation of Australian taxpayer money to the Clinton Foundation.
On 22 February 2006 Bill Clinton was in Sydney to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Foreign Affairs referred to in the briefing notes above. Note that this is the document (released under FOI) that committed the Australian Government to $25M in donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Here is the Annual Return for the William J. Clinton Foundation to US authorities for 2006.
The return reveals that William J. Clinton was not a director, officer or trustee of the fund during the 2006 calendar year. He had nothing to do with the operation of the Foundation at all and thus had no authority to enter into or sign contracts or agreements on its behalf.
The Australian Government says in its records and reports that it paid out $25M in reliance on the MOU it released under FOI (above). Clinton must have known at the time that he had no authority to sign.
Here is the link to all of the Clinton Foundation's Annual Reports and financial returns:
Bill Clinton is not listed as a trustee of the main Foundation until 2013.
On 18 January 2001 Bill Clinton was forced to release his Arkansas law licence and later that year his US Supreme Court license under a deal to avoid formal disbarment and further penalties at law for offences of dishonesty:
In the matter of Clinton v. Jones
On April 12, 1999, Judge Wright found Clinton in contempt of court for “intentionally false” testimony in Jones v. Clinton, fined him $90,000, and referred the case to the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Committee on Professional Conduct, as Clinton still possessed a law license in Arkansas.
The Arkansas Supreme Court suspended Clinton’s Arkansas law license in April 2000. On January 19, 2001, Clinton agreed to a five-year suspension and a $25,000 fine in order to avoid disbarment and to end the investigation of Independent Counsel Robert Ray (Starr’s successor). On October 1, 2001, Clinton’s U.S. Supreme Court law license was suspended, with 40 days to contest his disbarment. On November 9, 2001, the last day for Clinton to contest the disbarment, he opted to resign from the Supreme Court Bar, surrendering his license, rather than facing penalties related to disbarment.
US law requires charities to make disclosures about certain offences and administrative actions signaling dishonesty.
It appears that team Clinton decided, illegally, to have Bill run the Foundation without being an officer or director. And the Australian Government appears not to have checked on Clinton's bona fides.
A colleague in the United States advises me of further deficiencies in the MOU between DFAT and the Clinton Foundation.
A second set of flaws has to do with the HIV/Aids effort itself...this was never validly authorized by the Internal Revenue Service.
The first controversy involves International Aids Trust, where Bill, Tony Blair, and Nelson Mandela were involved.
Formed in Georgia on 29 January 2001, this entity was dissolved by 2005 apparently because IRS nixed their flawed application.
(One founder of AIT Brad Riley played pivotal roles in the Obama White House, including apparent attempts to cover up this mess).
Second is period from then through 23 March 2004, when Bill and Ira Magaziner illegally solicited and raised monies for HIV AIDS from governments and celebrity donors despite not having requisite authorities under US law.
Third is period from 24 March 2004 forward when Clinton Foundation HIV AIDS initiative, inc. was formed in Arkansas.
Application to the IRS around 29 April 2004 appears to have been turned down late in 2005...under US law, a charity must make full accurate disclosures especially concerning predecessor activities.
Late in December 2005. Team Clinton alleged it had merged the Initiative into the Foundation (this extract from the Foundation's 2006 report refers - MPS)
My US Colleague tells me:
This was not legally possible as the Initiative would have had to have been authorized and the Foundation to control an HUV/Aids effort prior to the merger.
So certainly by 22 February 2006 in Sydney, Clinton must have known the MOU was a fraud.
Around that time his focus was on getting Hillary reelected and on tying up the fraudulent agreement to work w Unitaid (housed in WHO) that has since sent about US 580 million toward the Clinton Foundation (of which at least $100 million) has been diverted.
Like common fraudsters, Clinton drew marks in counting on the fact that government and other donors will not want to admit they are either gullible, crooked, or both.
In Australia's case, I imagine many will be mortified to understand a former US President would be mired in promoting charity fraud on global scale.
On my reading of the 2006 financial return there are some awfully heavy expenses - $16M in consulting fees not related to program delivery??? $6M in expenses associated with the Clinton Global Initiative conference (refer to description in the extract just above)????? There's also a line entry in general expenses for about $6M in travel expenses.
And there are plenty more like that in the return.
Money goes into the Clinton Foundation as donations. Clinton's Foundation operates accounts in countries where it appears he is likely to get away with the advantages of lesser scrutiny - this from the 2006 report:
This whole debacle warrants explanations from the Australian Government. If we want to make a contribution to the health of neighbouring countries, why the hell do we need the Clinton Foundation to do it for us?
Once our money is donated to the Clinton's it's treated by US law as just that, a donation. $70M that we know about.
On the face of this information it appears we may have been taken in by a master conman. I'll let you know what Julie Bishop and Turnbull have to say about that.