Fitton testimony, Oversight Committee 12 2018
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Date Created:December 13, 2018
Date Uploaded to the Library:December 13, 2018
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Opening Statement Tom Fitton, President Judicial Watch Hearing the House Committee Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee Government Operations Oversight Nonprofit Organizations: Case Study the Clinton Foundation December 13, 2018 2154 Rayburn House Office Building Good afternoon, Tom Fitton, president Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch conservative, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated promoting transparency, accountability and integrity government, politics and the law. are the nations largest and most effective government watchdog group. Judicial Watch is, without doubt, the most active Freedom Information Act (FOIA) requestor and litigator operating today. Thank you, Chairman Meadows and Congressman Connolly for allowing testify this important topic. secret Judicial Watch has had longstanding concerns with the Clintons ethics and respect for the rule law. So, was with some skepticism that greeted Hillary Clintons promises ten years ago avoid conflicts interest with her Foundation and her husbands business activities Secretary State. the time, even CNN reported that Bill Clintons complicated global business interests could present future conflicts interest that result unneeded headaches for the incoming commander-in-chief. reassure President Obama and Senators both parties that she would above reproach, Mrs. Clinton sent January 2009, letter State Department Designated Agency Ethics Official James Thessin, stating: For the duration appointment Secretary confirmed, will not participate personally and substantially any particular matter involving specific parties which The William Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) party represents party .... Additionally, the Clintons promised that President Clintons speeches and business activities would undergo State Department ethics review and that the Clinton Foundation would disclose its donors online and agree significant restrictions support from foreign governments. Judicial Watch had zero confidence these promises, began immediately monitoring the ethics process for the Clintons and submitted Freedom Information Act request 2011. The Clinton State Department leadership ignored our FOIA request and sued after waiting for two years 2013. The lawsuit produced documents showing the State Department rubber-stamped President Clintons and the Clinton Foundations ethics review requests. Judicial Watch detailed its findings report with the Washington Examiner 2014: joint investigation the Washington Examiner and the nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch found that former President Clinton gave 215 speeches and earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clintons tenure secretary state. According documents obtained Judicial Watch and released Wednesday ongoing Freedom Information Act case, State Department officials charged with reviewing Bill Clintons proposed speeches did not object single one. Some the speeches were delivered global hotspots and were paid for entities with business policy interests the U.S. The documents also show that June 2011, the State Department approved consulting agreement between Bill Clinton and controversial Clinton Foundation adviser, Doug Band. The consultancy with Bands Teneo Strategy ended eight months later following uproar over Teneos ties the failed investment firm Global. State Department legal advisers, serving designated agency ethics officials, approved Bill Clintons speeches China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Panama, Turkey, Taiwan, India, the Cayman Islands and other countries. The memos approving Mr. Clintons speeches were routinely copied Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clintons senior counsel and chief staff. Mills longtime Clinton troubleshooter who defended the president during his impeachment. the Benghazi affair, Mills reportedly berated high-ranking official the U.S. embassy Libya for talking Republican congressman. Under State Department protocols, designated agency ethics official assigned advise the secretary state about potential actual conflicts interest. December 2008 memorandum understanding, the protocols were expanded Bill Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and related initiatives specifically, reviewing Bill Clinton proposed speeches and consulting deals. accompanying letter the State Department legal adviser, Clinton lawyer David Kendall noted that Bill Clinton would disclose proposed consulting deals and, for speeches, provide the identities the host(s) (the entity that pay the speaker fee) that the State Department consultation with the White House appropriate, may conduct review for any real apparent conflicts interest with the duties the Secretary State. But inspection the Examiner and Judicial Watch donations the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clintons personal financial disclosure forms, and the State Department conflict-of-interest reviews show that least $48 million flowed the Clintons personal coffers from many entities that clearly had interests influencing the Obama administration and perhaps currying favor with future president well. Saudi Arabia, for example, was key Clinton benefactor. The oil-producing giant has had relationship with the Clintons dating back Bill Clintons time governor Arkansas. 1992, while running for president, then-Gov. Clinton secured $3.5 million Saudi donation for Middle East studies program the University Arkansas. few weeks after Clinton was inaugurated president, the Saudis kicked another $20 million. Both deals were brokered close Clinton friend, David Edwards. Overall, the Clinton Foundation has received staggering sums from Saudi benefactors between $18 million and $50 million. (The foundations donations are reported ranges, not specific numbers.) While Hillary Clinton served secretary state, Bill Clinton gave two speeches Saudi Arabia, earning total $600,000. January 2011, for example, Bill Clinton spoke global business forum Riyadh founded the Saudi Investment Authority and sponsored the Dabbagh Group, commercial colossus with close ties the Saudi royal family. His fee for the speech: $300,000. During Hillary Clintons time the State Department, Bill Clinton also gave four speeches the United Arab Emirates, earning $1.1 million. For two speeches Egypt, earned $425,000. DAE-linked entities also have donated least $2. $11.5 million the Clinton Foundation, and Egyptian entities have donated least $250,000 $750,000. While the State Department did not object Bill Clintons speeches the Arab world anywhere else did tum down proposed consultancy with longtime Clinton friend and supporter, the IsraeliAmerican media mogul Haim Saban. turning down the consultancy, February 2009 State Department memo noted that Saban actively involved foreign affairs issues, particularly with regards the Middle East, which priority area for the secretary. The consultancy with Teneo and Band, the longtime Clinton adviser, was outlined June 2011 memo from Band himself, writing behalf President Clinton, State Department legal adviser. Bill Clinton would advise Teneo geopolitical, economic and social trends. Band requested response within business days. got seven. Please advised that have objection, the State Department wrote. Bill Clinton also was active China, was Hillary Clinton, who championed the notion pivot toward Asia during her time secretary state. the period after Hillary Clinton signed the ethics agreement, Bill Clinton gave four speeches China Chinese-sponsored entities the U.S., earning $1.7 million. comparison, between 2001 through 2007 -just after left office, when former president normally most demand gave seven speeches China, earning $1.4 million. Groups with interests China also donated between $750,000 and $1.75 million, minimum, the Clinton Foundation. Taiwan took interest Bill Clinton well. November 2010, spoke global warming and social inequality Taipei event sponsored Singaporebased UNI Strategic. His fee? $400,000. The Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office donated close million the Clinton Foundation, and the Taiwan Mobile Foundation and semiconductor manufacturer also contributed. Turkish sponsors paid Bill Clinton million for three speeches, including one Arab stock exchange. Russia, Bill Clinton gave two speeches for $625,000. One was the Russian investment bank, Renaissance Capital, 2010 event titled Russia and the Commonwealth Independent States: Going Global. The State Department background memo described the bank focused the emerging markets Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The Russian Standard Bank also donated the foundation. India, Bill Clinton collected $300,000 for two speeches. also gave speeches Indian companies and the Federation Indian Chambers Commerce Toronto, New Jersey and Disney World. one, conference business process outsourcing/off-shoring, hosted outsourcing firm, the discussion centered around the benefits and disadvantages outsourcing IT, according State Department document. Panama, Bill Clinton earned $325,000 for one speech. And the Cayman Islands notorious offshore money haven $225,000 for speech, noted State Department document, ticketed event that will target the business community Grand Cayman. And then Judicial Watch FOIA litigation, particular key FOIA lawsuit about the Benghazi terrorist attack, uncovered the Clinton email system and tens thousands Clinton and top aide Huma Abedin emails that were hidden rather than searched required under FOIA, congressional subpoenas, and federal investigators. federal court noted last week opinion granting Judicial Watch additional discovery, this Clinton email issue was one the gravest modem offenses government transparency. After its lawsuits forced the disclosure the Clinton email server, another Judicial Watch lawsuit broke open what now known the Clinton Foundation pay play scandal. Emails uncovered Judicial Watch demonstrate that Clinton Foundation donors and supporters received special favors and consideration from the Clinton State Department. These headline-making disclosures began August 2016 and include documents showing that April 2009 controversial Clinton Foundation official Doug Band pushed for job for associate. the email Band tells Hillary Clintons former aides the State Department, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, that important take care [Redacted]. Band reassured Abedin that Personnel has been sending him options. Band was co-founder Teneo Strategy with Bill Clinton and top official the Clinton Foundation, including its Clinton Global Initiative. Included that document production was 2009 email which Band directs Abedin and Mills put Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire and Clinton Foundation donor Gilbert Chagoury touch with the State Departments substance person Lebanon. Band notes that Chagoury key guy there [Lebanon] and us, and insists that Abedin call Amb. Jeffrey Feltman connect him Chagoury. Chagoury close friend former President Bill Clinton and top donor the Clinton Foundation. has appeared near the top the Foundation donor list million million contributor, according foundation documents also pledged billion the Clinton Global Initiative. According 2010 investigation PBS Frontline Chagoury was convicted 2000 Switzerland for laundering money from Nigeria, but agreed plea deal and repaid $66 million the Nigerian government. You can see that the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton State Department almost immediately broke promises President Obama and the Senate maintain wall separation between the Foundation and State. Judicial Watch has since uncovered many other instances seeming pay-to-play and favoritism for the Clinton Foundation the Clinton State Department. Steve Bing/Shangri-La Entertainment: July 16, 2009 Shangri-La Entertainment executive Zachary Schwartz asked Clinton Foundation official Doug Band for help reversing the State Departments denial travel visa Cuba. Band sent the request Huma Abedin, writing, please call [Schwartz] asap this ... Important. Abedin responded that she would call him. Media reports indicate that two weeks later, Shangri-La owner Steve Bings team was Cuba. Bing longtime Clinton friend and donor and listed having donated between $10 and $25 million the foundation. His construction company, ShangriLa Industries, paid Bill Clinton $2. million from 2009 2010 serve advisor. Crown Prince Salman Bahrain: Judicial Watchobtained Huma Abedin-Doug Band email exchange from 2009 revealed that Crown Prince Salman Bahrain requested meeting with Secretary State Clinton, but was forced through the Clinton Foundation for appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through normal channels State, Clinton declined meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set within forty-eight hours. According the Clinton Foundation website, 2005, Salman committed establishing the Crown Princes International Scholarship Program (CPISP) for the Clinton Global Initiative. And 2010, had spent $32 million conjunction with CGI. The Kingdom Bahrain reportedly gave between $50,000 and $100,000 the Clinton Foundation. And Bahrain Judicial Watch press release, 9/14/17, available at: https: //www.judicialwatch.org/pressroom/press-releases /judicial-watch-new-clinton-emails-uncovered-reveal-additional-mishandlingclassified-information/ Petroleum also gave additional $25,000 $50,000. Wolverhampton Football Club: another Judicial Watch-obtained Abedin-Band email exchange from May 2009, Band urged Abedin get the Clinton State Department intervene order obtain visa for members the Wolverhampton (UK) Football Club, one whose members was apparently having difficulty because criminal charge. Band was acting the behest Casey Wasserman, millionaire Hollywood sports entertainment executive and President the Wasserman Foundation. Wasserman had donated between million and $10 million the Clinton Foundation through the Wasserman Foundation. Slimfast Founder Danny Abraham: Another JWobtained May 2009 Abedin-Band email reveals that Slimfast tycoon Daniel Abraham was granted almost immediate access then-Secretary State Clinton, with Abedin serving the facilitator. According the Clinton Foundation website, Abraham, like the Wasserman Foundation, has given between million and $10 million the Clinton Foundation. The emails indicate that Abraham was granted almost immediate access Clinton upon request. Judicial Watch press release, 8/22/16, https: //www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/pressreleases new-abedin-emails-reveal-hillary-clinton-state-department-gave-special-access-topclinton-foundation-donors Ibid. Ibid. Coal industry lobbyist Joyce Abbousie: Another JWobtained record reveals that June 2009, prominent St. Louis political power broker Joyce Aboussie exchanged series insistent emails with Abedin concerning Aboussie efforts set meeting between Clinton and Peabody Energy Cartan Sumner. Aboussie wrote, Huma, need your help now intervene please. need this meeting with Secretary Clinton, who has been there now for nearly six months. This is, the way, first request. really would appreciate your help this. should without saying that the Peabody folks came Dick [Gephardt] and because our relationship with the Clintons. [sic] After further notes from Aboussie, Abedin responded, are working and hope can make something work... have work through the beauracracy [sic] here. Aboussie donated between $100,000 and $250,000 the Clinton Foundation. Many have noted that was hard tell, light this evidence, where the Clinton State Department ended and where the Clinton Foundation began. discussed, adding the mix was the private entity Teneo, which include Bill Clinton both adviser and client. Incredibly, Huma Abedin managed finagle special government employee job that allowed her work the State Department, Teneo, and the Clinton Foundation all the same time. Judicial Watch colleague Micah Morrison observed: Ibid. Partly philanthropy (the Clinton Foundation), partly platform for post-presidential private enterprise (Bills speeches and consulting), one time presidential campaign-in-waiting (Hillary the State Department and after), Clinton Inc. everywhere and nowhere. zooms across borders-Bill Africa! Hillary teleconferencing New York! Chelsea speaking the Council Foreign Relations! creature the digital age and global ambition, powered celebrity, image and spin, relentlessly raking money. includes the Clinton Global Initiative, glitzy stage for big money pledges various Clinton endeavors presided over the Big Dog himself, the Clinton Global Initiative University and the Clinton Presidential Library Little Rock. Under the auspices the foundation, there the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, the Clinton Development Initiative, the Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative, and the Alliance for Healthier Generation. Just last week, Chelsea emailed update the foundations Ceilings initiative. Chelsea urged donate before midnight help familys foundation change lives. Then there Teneo Holdings, global consulting firm with deep Clinton connections. Teneo serves kind private-enterprise satellite Clinton Inc. Doug Band, Mr. Clintons right-hand man for many years, Teneo founder. Huma Abedin, Mrs. Clintons right-hand woman for many years, was senior advisor Teneo the same time she held top position part Mrs. Clintons inner circle the State Department. Bill Clinton was both paid adviser Teneo and client. Secretary State Clinton former Economic Envoy Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly, Teneo co-founder and CEO. Then there the Uranium One controversy. Judicial Watch continuing investigation the highly controversial 2010 Uranium One deal. the time, Russia state-owned nuclear firm, Rosatom, sought buy Uranium One, Canadian mining company. Because Uranium One held licenses for percent Americas uranium production capacity, the sale had approved the nine members the Committee Foreign Investment the United States (CFIUS), including Secretary State Hillary Clinton, who assented the transaction. Uranium One interests contributed more than $140 million the Clinton Foundation. January 2008, Judicial Watch took special note that Bill Clinton had helped Vancouver mining mogul Frank Giustra secure tens millions dollars worth uranium. Guistra built company that became part Uranium One. The Clinton Foundation later received $31.3 million donation, well future pledge $100 million. discussed above, Judicial Watch released more than 200 Clinton conflict-of interest documents 2014, including record speech Moscow June 2010 sponsored the investment bank Renaissance Capital Bill Clinton addressing the theme Russia and the Commonwealth Independent States: Going Global. The document notes that Renaissance Capital investment bank focused the emerging markets Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and sub15 Saharan Africa. Renaissance Capital has also been linked Russia efforts gain control Uranium One. According 2013 New York Times report, the Clinton Foundation hid many the beneficiaries the Uranium One deal approved CFIUS and Mrs. Clinton: the Russians gradually assumed control Uranium One three separate transactions from 2009 2013 Canadian records show, flow cash made its way the Clinton Foundation. Uranium Ones chairman used his family foundation make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed the Clintons, despite agreement Mrs. Clinton struck with the Obama White House publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties the company made donations well. And shortly after the Russians announced their intention acquire majority stake Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for Moscow speech from Russian investment bank [Renaissance Capital] with links the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock. the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended ease concerns about ceding control the company assets the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show. Prior the Uranium One deal, the FBI reportedly had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed grow Vladimir Putins atomic energy business inside the United States, according government documents and interviews. Rather than bring immediate charges 2010, however, the Department Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress the dark about Russian nuclear corruption U.S. soil during period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putins commercial nuclear ambitions. *** Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton the Committee Foreign Investment the United States the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI DOJ ever alerted committee members the criminal activity they uncovered. The investigation was ultimately supervised then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, Obama appointee who now serves President Trumps deputy attorney general, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe ... Per usual, Judicial Watch has had sue the State and Justice Departments federal court for basic information about the shady Uranium One deal. seems Judicial Watch has done more investigate the Clinton-Russia connections than the Justice Department, even massive DOJ resources are spent supporting Robert Mueller massive investigation into the fanciful Clinton Dossier-inspired Trump-Russia conspiracy theory. clear, the sale went through despite the fact that the FBI was conducting investigation into Russian influence through the funneling money the Clinton Foundation via lobbyists furtherance the Uranium One transaction, according paid informant, Douglas Campbell, working within the Russian operations, but the Uranium One sale was approved CFIUS anyway. The evidence ample warrant serious investigation the Clinton Foundation. And there evidence serious investigation the Clinton Foundation was suppressed the Obama Justice Department. January 2016, the FBI reportedly began investigating the Clinton Foundation, expanded from the email probe. October 2016, FBI agents were told they did not have enough evidence move forward with their investigation the Foundation. Earlier this year, DOJ Inspector General report detailed evidence that the Obama DOJ sought shut down the FBI investigation Clinton Foundation: The Blaze, 1/24/18, https://www.theblaze.com/video/glenn-through-uranium-one-deal-145million-flowed-to-the-clinton-foundation-heres-how and Fox News, 2/8/18, https: //www.foxnews.com/politics /obama-era-russian-uranium-one-deal-what-to- know McCabe [fired former deputy director the FBI] told the OIG that August 12, 2016, received telephone call from PADAG [Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, likely Matthew Axelrod] regarding the FBI handling the [Clinton Foundation] Investigation (the ADAG call). McCabe said that PADAG expressed concerns about FBI agents taking overt steps the Investigation during the presidential campaign. According McCabe, pushed back, asking are you telling that need shut down validly predicated investigation? McCabe told that the conversation was very dramatic and never had similar confrontation like the PADAG call with high-level Department official his entire FBI career. Reportedly, senior DOJ officials refused FBI requests issue subpoenas Clinton Foundation issues 2016. January 2018, reports surfaced that the FBI reportedly launched new investigation into potential Clinton Foundation pay-to-play but there has been indication proceedin2:. (Again, Judicial Watch suing for records the handling the Clinton Foundation investigation.) Ive laid out for you fact-based case for opening serious criminal and other inquiries into the operations the Clinton Foundation and its affiliated entities. the meantime, Judicial Watch will continue its various independent lawsuits and investigations, behalf the public interest, into the Clinton Foundation and the related Clinton email scandal. Because the Clinton Foundation issue not private scandal. State Department scandal, FBI scandal, Justice Department scandal, foreign potentate scandal, shady corporation scandal, and, for sure, government transparency scandal. look forward your questions. Thank you.