‘Clinton Foundation scandal will dog Hillary until election day’

FILE PHOTO. U.S. President Bill Clinton holds onto his dog, Buddy, as he walks with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (R) and daughter Chelsea (L) as they board Air Force One at Andrew's Air Force Base, to begin a weekend summer vacation at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, August 4, 2000. © Reuters
Any major special interests with business pending before the federal government will see the Clinton Foundation as an opportunity to throw money at the feet of the Clinton family for special access, said Capitol Hill lobbyist Craig Holman.

As Hillary Clinton approaches the home straight in the race for the White House, she's starting to take a lot of flack over the Clinton Foundation.

Donald Trump's seized on his rival's determination to keep control of the charity claiming the Democratic candidate's willing to sell favors if she wins the keys to the Oval Office. That would allow foreign donations and private lobbyists to pump money into the foundation which has already been dogged with controversy.

RT: Watchdog groups warn it would be easy for foreigners to influence Hillary Clinton through the Clinton Foundation if she wins the presidency. Do you share that view?

Craig Holman: The Clinton Foundation has posed a significant conflict of interest problem for Hillary Clinton from day one. And this problem is going to dog her all the way through the election. Even though the Clintons have announced they are going to partially divorce themselves from the Clinton Foundation and not accept any further foreign money or corporate money, the conflict of interest is just inherent. First of all, they are keeping Chelsea on the board, which means the foundation is not divorced from the Clinton family. And so any major special interests that has business pending before the federal government will see this as an opportunity to throw money at the feet of Clinton family in order to buy access and in their minds buy official favors. To be straightforward, we’ve got to recognize that there is no evidence that any official favors have been sold but we do know access has been bought: 85 major donors to the foundation have had meetings with Hillary Clinton. That’s the source of the scandal right there.

RT: You talk about the access and meetings. Isn’t it in essence selling influence?

CH: That is selling access. It would be a real scandal if Hillary Clinton then provided any kind of official favors to her friends and her donors and there is no evidence of that. But still this is a scandal. Clearly, these donors are expecting to get access by making a major contribution to the foundation. And in fact, many have indeed bought that access. That is a scandal one way or another even if official favors have not yet been provided. But the first step is to get access.

"Hillary Clinton has a number of ties to nefarious groups, governments, and individuals in the Middle East and elsewhere who have very questionable business dealings with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, such as Gilbert Chagoury in Nigeria and others in the Arab world who have terrible human rights records, who have violated the rights of minorities, women, workers in these countries. For instance, Hillary Clinton had direct deals with the Saudis and if that doesn’t taint her record and that of the Clinton Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation, I don’t know what does." - John Hajjar, deputy director of the US Middle East Alliance to support Trump, told RT

RT: Former President Bill Clinton also has promised to stop taking foreign cash if Hillary wins the presidential race. Is that likely to happen?

CH: Foreign money can find its way in. I do believe the Clintons will make every effort not to have foreign and corporate money go into the foundation. But still it is easy for foreign and corporate money to find loopholes. Simply by making a major contribution to another non-profit or a limited liability corporation and then letting the money flow into the Clinton Foundation from that source. So, there are ways to get around it. I do believe the Clinton Foundation will try hard not to accept foreign corporate money, but there is no guarantee that that is going to happen.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.