As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to defend and deliver paid speeches to Wall Street firms, she may also may have to answer for her husband's lucrative speaking gigs to wealthy investors.
According to more than 200 government documents released by the conservative group Judicial Watch, the Hillary Clinton-run U.S. State Department raised no objections to Bill Clinton's paid speeches around the globe, despite some of the speech sponsors' potential interests in U.S. foreign policy. The documents detail Bill Clinton's private speeches to groups of high-net-worth investors, some of whom could have been in a position to profit off nonpublic information about U.S. State Department policy, reports Judicial Watch.
Writing about the documents in the Washington Examiner, Judicial Watch's Micah Morrison notes that Bill Clinton also earned millions off speeches to groups with close ties to the government of Saudi Arabia. For one speech in January 2011 at a business forum in Riyadh founded by the Saudi Investment Authority, he was paid $300,000. Those speeches followed 2008 disclosures showing that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Italy and Jamaica have donated money to the Clinton Foundation.
The documents also show Bill Clinton was also paid $625,000 for two speeches in Russia, including one to an investment bank that the State Department describes as "focused on the emerging markets of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Sub-Saharan Africa." Kazakhstan is particularly noteworthy: In 2008, the New York Times reported that Bill Clinton accompanied Canadian mining executive Frank Giustra to a meeting with Kazakhstan's president. Two days later the Kazakhstan government gave that executive's company permission to invest in a uranium mining project. The Times pointed out that "just months after the (mining) pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra."
Judicial Watch notes that copies of all the State Department's conflict-of-interest reviews of Bill Clinton's speeches "were sent to a top adviser to Secretary Clinton, Cheryl Mills, who served as counselor and chief of staff at the Department of State." In all, the group says Bill Clinton “earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy."
The potential conflict of interest between Bill Clinton's role at the foundation and Hillary Clinton's government job made headlines in 2013, when the New York Times reported that one of his top aides and a former official in the State Department set up a corporate consulting firm called Teneo that "recruited clients who were also Clinton Foundation donors" and "encouraged others to become new foundation donors." The Times reported that Bill Clinton was a paid adviser to the firm, and that "some Clinton aides and foundation employees began to wonder where the foundation ended and Teneo began."
For her part, Hillary Clinton has said that many, if not all, of her postgovernment speaking fees are donated to the Clinton Foundation. However, ABC News reports that it "reached out repeatedly to representatives from both the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s office requesting documents to support Clinton’s claim, but none were provided." Through a spokeswoman, Chelsea Clinton has said that her speaking fees, which range up to $75,000, are also donated to the Clinton Foundation.
Additionally, Nonprofit Quarterly reports: "A review of the Clinton Foundation’s (IRS) Form 990s for several of the past years reveals no disclosure of the names of major donors and therefore no information as to whether Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton, for that matter) has been donating speaking fees to their philanthropy."
IBTimes requested comment about the documents from the Clinton Foundation. A foundation spokesperson referred the questions to the U.S. State Department. The State Department did not respond to IBTimes' request for comment by the time of publication.