USA TODAY EDITORIALIZES: Only the Clintons seem blind to foundation’s conflicts: Our view.
As it is, the foundation is a mess. With Hillary Clinton running for president twice and serving as secretary of State in between, it was bound to be viewed as a way for foreign donors to get close to the Clintons — a danger the foundation appears to have discounted.
Much like the Clintons themselves, the foundation has seemed intent on playing by its own rules, and is highly defensive when confronted on its errors.
Its efforts at limiting influence-seekers have been, at best, weak. Earlier this year, the foundation admitted that it had accepted $500,000 from the government of Algeria, violating an agreement struck with the Obama administration to accept gifts only from governments that had a record of giving before Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.
More recently, the foundation admitted errors in not listing thousands of contributions on tax forms. One came from Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra, who has many issues before the U.S. government and has given the foundation millions.
In 2005, Giustra won a lucrative mining concession in Kazakhstan shortly after visiting there with Bill Clinton. Then, in 2013, he won approval from the U.S. government to sell his company to the Russian government, giving Vladimir Putin vast uranium resources around the world, including 20% of U.S output.
There is no evidence of a quid pro quo for the Giustra contributions, or from any other source. And Hillary Clinton was not involved in the decision to allow the Russian purchase.
Even so, the appearance of impropriety is hard to avoid.
Yeah, it’s more than just an appearance.