I will be offline again for a fair slab of today - back soon - I'll leave you with this thought!
A disgusting, horrifying insult from the ABC on the 50th anniversary of The Battle of Long Tan

Significant progress on Australia's taxpayer donations to the Clinton Foundation - thank you for bearing with me

As you know I have been trying to get the information in this email to DFAT together for more than a week.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to have just sent this email off to the Department.

Michael Smith <mpsmithnews@gmail.com>

7:48 AM (0 minutes ago)
 
to media
 
 
 
 
 
Dear DFAT Media,
 
Thank you for helping us better understand Australian taxpayer payments to the Clinton Foundation.
 
We've spoken a few times about the Department's FOI disclosure earlier this year 
 
 
The briefing note within that release of documents tells us:

The Australian Government had specific agreements with the Clinton Foundation, as a technical implementing partner, to deliver aid projects with agreed outcomes, deliverables and budgets since 2006. We are aware that US legislation deems this agreement to deliver aid outcomes to be a donation.

And:

Australian funding to the Clinton Climate Initiative

In 2012 former AusAID entered into a contract with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), a program ofthe Clinton Foundation, for activities addressing climate change. Following the 2013 Australian Federal election, responsibilities for climate change and for this contract were moved to the Department ofthe Environment. 

The scope of the documents sought under that FOI request included payments to the Clinton Foundation since 2002 and any MOUs, agreements, details of meetings with Clinton Foundation representatives and details of payments to the Foundation.

In relation to the Clinton Climate Initiative the table of payments released in answer included just this entry:

AusAID CCI Partnership  THE WILLIAM J.CLINTON AUD FOUNDATION $2,000,002.30

 

REQUEST

Is the Department's statement under the heading "Australian funding to the Clinton Climate Initiative" and the payment in the table of $2,000,002.30 an accurate and complete account of Australia's agreements with and funding to the Climate Foundation for climate change?

I refer to the following Australian Government Departments and transactions.

1.Resources Energy and Tourism

  • Department of Resources Energy and Tourism's 2009 file RET 09/01443 "Clinton Climate Initiative - Partnership Agreement"
  • Department of Resources Energy and Tourism 2009 file RET 09/01231"Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute - Clinton Climate Initiative - Partnership Agreement"

Documents released on the former RET website refer to a "novated non-corporate contract" between the Commonwealth and the Clinton Climate Initiative.   The FOI documents are explicit in stating that the funds were first remitted to the Clinton Foundation directly from the Commonwealth.   Can you confirm that those files and the "non-corporate contract" novated by the Commonwealth to the GCCI relates to this disclosure by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute Ltd posted on its website here:

William J. Clinton Foundation (CLINTON FOUNDATION) 

The Institute provided AU$10 million to the Clinton Foundation to support the work being conducted through the Clinton Climate Initiative to accelerate key ‘Early Mover’ CCS projects around the world.

Established by former US President Clinton in 2001 the Clinton Foundation works to strengthen the capacity of governments and individuals to alleviate poverty, improve global health, strengthen economies, and protect the environment.

The Clinton Foundation work program includes:

    • collaboration with ‘Early Mover’ CCS projects in the Netherlands and Australia to help overcome specific barriers;
    • identification of potential future CCS projects and work to accelerate the development of these; and
    • sharing ‘best practice’ and case studies from Early Mover projects that have been engaged.

Achievements

    • Scoping work has been conducted in Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Poland and Australia to identify and select potential future CCS projects for engagement.
    • Studies undertaken for the Carbon Net project, Australia.
    • Collaboration on stakeholder activities, Netherlands.
    • Malaysian CCS scoping study due to be completed in November 2010.

MOU with the Clinton Foundation signed in New York

In late 2008 the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet released a document titled "One Year Progress Report" 

 

It included these statements:

Memorandum of Understanding with Clinton Climate Initiative 

The Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will see Australia and the William J. Clinton Foundation collaborate to: 

  • deploy carbon capture and storage technology to large scale projects; 
  • examine policies to encourage large scale solar power generation in Australia; and 
  • explore opportunities for collaboration on energy efficiency across government, business and the community.

Media coverage of his press conference in New York included these quotes from his speech:

Following the launch a week ago of Australia’s Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Clinton Climate Initiative agreeing to work together on climate change mitigation measures. This collaboration aims to accelerate the development of CCS technology and pave the way for its commercial deployment by the end of the next decade, according to the Australian Government. “A lot of people have said the great virtue of our Global CCS Institute is this: that when it comes to the impact of carbon pollution reduction scheme on strongly effected industries like electricity generators, this potentially represents significant assistance, significant support, significant adjustment for what for us is a critical sector in Australia,” said Rudd at a press conference at United Nations building in New York. 

The Prime Minister also released this statement:

Australia Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Clinton Climate Initiative New York

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 25/09/2008

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 16141

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Clinton Climate Initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Under the MOU Australia and the Clinton Climate Initiative will work together to help tackle climate change.

The MOU will see Australia and the William J. Clinton Foundation collaborate to;

* Deploy carbon capture and storage technology to large scale projects.

* Examine policies to encourage large scale solar power generation in Australia.

* Design collaborative policies in conjunction with large cities and other organisations on improving energy efficiency.

The William J Clinton Foundation will work with the Australian Government through Australia's Global Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Initiative announced by Prime Minister Rudd last week.

This collaboration will help accelerate the development of CCS technology and pave the way for its commercial deployment by the end of the next decade.

The Clinton Climate Initiative will draw on its experience in international collaboration and work with Australia and other nations to help achieve a balanced portfolio of demonstration projects.

The Clinton Climate Initiative is already working with a number of Australian states to develop solar power facilities. The MOU will enable the Australian Government to explore opportunities to draw on the Clinton Climate Initiative expertise in considering policies to encourage large scale solar power generation in Australia.

The Australian Government is developing a national energy efficiency strategy as one of the keys to successfully addressing climate change.

The Government will draw on the experience the Clinton Climate Initiative has in working with large cities and other organizations on improving energy efficiency in the drafting of this strategy.

Australia and the Clinton Climate Initiative will also explore opportunities for collaboration in the energy efficiency area across government, business and the community.

ENDS

2008/09 Federal Budget

 

http://www.budget.gov.au/2008-09/content/bp2/html/expense-05.htm

http://www.budget.gov.au/2008-09/content/myefo/html/index.htm

 

The budget as delivered included this measure:

The development and use of new clean energy technologies will be assisted through the Government's Energy Innovation Fund ($150.0 million over four years), National Clean Coal Fund ($500.0 million over eight years), Renewable Energy Fund ($500.0 million over six years from 2009‑10) and Green Car Innovation Fund ($500.0 million over five years from 2011‑12). These funds will provide industry with support to accelerate the development and deployment of low emission technologies.

6 months later at the 2008/09 MYEFO PM Rudd's unannounced a new policy of creating a Global Carbon Capture Institute was included as a new measure.

The Budget Papers No 2 include an allocation to the National Clean Coal Fund of $15M which appears to be the source of the $10M paid by the Commonwealth to the Clinton Foundation.

 

http://www.budget.gov.au/2008-09/content/myefo/html/part_4.htm

 

  • $100 million in 2008‑09 ($400 million over four years) to establish a Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute to accelerate the development of carbon capture technology by facilitating demonstration projects, and identifying and supporting necessary research on related topics; and

It appears from the MYEFO documents that that allocation from the Clean Coal fund (an election promise) was the source of the $10M payment to the Clinton Foundation.  Can DFAT confirm?

 

Request for further particulars regarding the GCCI and the Clinton Foundation

The GCCI was incorporated as a public company limited by guarantee on 12 June 2009, ABN 92 136 814 465

The Clinton Foundation is recorded as being a founding member (shareholder equivalent in the company limited by guarantee).

Was the payment of $10M to the Clinton Foundation from the Australian Government (later novated to the GCCI Ltd) a related party transaction?

If it was a related party transaction, was it recorded in the financial accounts and disclosed in annual reports as a related party transaction?

The deliverables reported as being produced by the Clinton Foundation under the GCCI funding agreement appear to be matters the Clinton Foundation was working on already and independently of the GCCI.  

There doesn't appear to be any provision for ownership or transfer of distinctive IP or other notional asset transfer or distinctive service provided.  The GCCI reports that the Clinton Foundation delivered:

  • Studies undertaken for the Carbon Net project, Australia.
The CarbonNet project was at that time one of several competitors tendering for more than $2BN in federal funding as part of the Carbon Capture Flagships program.  What is the Commonwealth's position on funding payments to advantage one competitor over another in seeking Commonwealth Funds?  Were the services of the Clinton Foundation offered on equal terms to all competitors?  I note that after significant contractual disputes and a narrowly averted insolvency, the ZeroGen consortium from Queensland received a $50 million payment from the Commonwealth.
 
In April 2008 the Premier of Victoria announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the Clinton Foundation signed in 2009 commissioning it to work on the CarbonNet project directly for the State of Victoria:
 
I can announce today that our Government will sign a landmark agreement with former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s foundation to collaborate on large-scale clean energy projects and new vehicle technologies. 
 
The Clinton Climate Initiative was launched by President Clinton in 2006 and has access to $US5 billion in finance.  Under the MOU, Victoria and the Clinton Climate Initiative will work together to explore a number of opportunities to further cut emissions and improve energy efficiency across the State.
 
The Clinton Climate Initiative have chosen Victoria as the place to drive carbon capture and storage because they clearly see Victoria as the place most likely to make this new technology work for brown coal.  That’s good news for Victoria – and, down the track, potentially good for other countries, such as China, that are dependent on brown coal.

What mechanisms and due diligence did the Commonwealth adopt to ensure there was no double payment for what appears to be precisely the same work submitted by the Clinton Foundation and reported by the GCCI and the Commonwealth as being services rendered as a result of the $10M taxpayer payment to the Clinton Foundation?

 

Austender records of contracts with the Clinton Foundation.

These are the contracts listed by the Austender.gov.au website for the Clinton Foundation relating to Climate Change.

CN ID

Title

Agency

Publish Date

Category

Contract Start Date

Contract End Date

Value (AUD)

ATM ID

Supplier Name

LastUpdated

CN396492

MRV workshop for African and Mekong countries

Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

10-Jun-11

Project administration or planning

18-May-11

30-Jun-11

55000

 

Clinton Foundation Clinton Climate Initiative

10-Jun-11 04:39 pm

CN435828

CCI Expenses Incurred by MoU

Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

05-Oct-11

Professional procurement services

15-Sep-11

30-Jun-12

25000

 

Clinton Foundation Clinton Climate Initiative

05-Oct-11 09:36 am

CN905651

Design National Carbon Accounting System in Kenya

Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

17-Sep-12

International relations

19-Jun-12

01-Feb-13

550000

 

Clinton Foundation Clinton Climate Initiative

17-Sep-12 10:35 am

The Austender.gov.au website is presented by the Commonwealth as being an accurate and complete record for the purposes of complying with the Senate standing directive that all Commonwealth agencies publish the details of all contracts entered into on behalf of the Commonwealth.   Is the above record accurate and complete?

 

The Kenya Contract land based emissions SLEEK project announced by the DFAT

On 18 February 2008 Climate Change Minister Penny Wong announced that the Clinton Foundation had selected an Australian technology solution which, from the minister's press release, we sold to them.

 

http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/102841/20090728-0000/www.environment.gov.au/minister/wong/2008/pubs/mr20080218.pdf

 

PW 13/08 18 February 2008 AUSTRALIAN TECHNOLOGY CHOSEN FOR CLINTON CLIMATE PROJECT Australian technology will now be at the forefront of global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, has announced a new partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative to develop global carbon monitoring system that can assist in recognising sustainable forest management and reforestation within global carbon markets. “I am very pleased that following a global search of forest carbon measurement systems, the Clinton Climate Initiative selected Australia’s National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS) as the platform for a global roll-out in developing countries.”

 

The following departmental file appears to refer to the above - however it is disconcertingly a Procurement Advice in which we appear to be paying the Clinton Foundation.

Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency 2009 file DCC2009/2284 Procurement - Advice - International Forest Carbon Initiative - Joint activities with the Clinton Foundation and the Carbon Accounting System 

In 2014 DFAT made the following announcement in Kenya:
 

February 2014 - MoU Signing of SLEEK Program

High Commissioner H.E. Geoff Tooth witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Kenya and the William J. Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) for a national system to track emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the land sector on 14 February 2014 at the Panafric Hotel. The proposed System for Land-based Emissions Estimation in Kenya (SLEEK) – a data and modelling system - will enable the Government of Kenya to quantify and report its land sector emissions as well as allow Kenya to evaluate different land-use scenarios for sustainable development and inform policy decisions on resource use, including planning for forest restoration, protection of forest resources, improved agricultural productivity, and enhanced water availability. The Australian Government has provided A$14.2 million over 5 years and technical & policy support for the SLEEK design since 2008, drawing from the experience of developing its own National Carbon Accounting System.

High Commissioner H.E. Geoff Tooth (back centre) witnesses the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Kenya and the Clinton Foundation

The following entry on the Senate disclosure site for contracts entered into by the Australian Government appears to record another payment we have made to the Clinton Foundation that's been omitted from the DFAT FOI statement.

 

WILLIAM J CLINTON FOUNDATION CLINTON CLIMATE INITIATIVE

Contract in relation to developing a system for land based emissions estimations in Kenya (SLEEK)

$13,322,460

14-Jun-13

30-Jun-16

Yes 

A(ix)

Yes

B(ix)

If the purpose of our foreign aid program is to show that Australia is a decent global benefactor, how is it that we permit the Clinton Foundation to take our money, to use a program we developed and paid for in 2008 - and then to add insult injury watch the Clinton Foundation take the entire credit for the venture as if we had nothing to do with it?

I refer to the Clinton Foundation's annual report for 2013/14

http://fliphtml5.com/wyis/tllv

Page 19 refers to the above foreign aid provided by the Australian taxpayer, however we don't rate a mention.  Page 92 contains the Foundation's limited financial statements - again Australia is not mentioned.

This press release about the Clinton Foundation's 'work' in Kenya states that their "work" has been "informed" by lessons learnt from us and Canada.  "Informed"?  

https://www.clintonfoundation.org/blog/2015/09/24/mitigating-effects-climate-change-kenya-data-and-technology

What is your future outlook on SLEEK?

I believe that SLEEK could provide a model that could be replicated all around the world. Our work in Kenya is informed by lessons learnt from Australia and Canada but we are very excited by the possibilities of expanding this model to other countries. Each country has a unique set of challenges, but the goals are the same: we want to empower governments and communities to achieve sustainable land-use practices, improve the livelihoods of the communities, and adapt to the effects of climate change.

We paid for the satellite information, we paid for the carbon accounting applications, then we paid the Clinton Foundation a further $14M for the privilege of having them take all the credit.

How does that fit in with our strategic goals of advancing Australia's interests through foreign aid?

SUMMARY

Is the DFAT disclosure of documents under the FOI application under the DFAT provided heading Australian funding to the Clinton Climate Initiative accurate and complete?  If not what else have we handed to it?

Given the referral of the Clinton Foundation malfeasance to the US IRS and FBI may I suggest that the Australian taxpayer's interests would be advanced by a Whole of Government audit in Australia of our payments to the Clinton Foundation.

My deadline is COB Tuesday next week.  I'll be writing for my website and US publications.

 

 

Comments