Vetting Bill Clinton Could Bring Controversy
A team of lawyers will be poring over former president Bill Clinton's activities and finances. Some worry that his personal finances and business relationships at home and abroad could bring unwanted controversy to the Obama White House.
During the Democratic primaries, the former president promised to reveal the identities of contributors and the amounts given to his foundation if Hillary were elected president. If he is asked to disclose similar information as the husband of the Secretary of State, some interesting information could be revealed.
Since leaving office, Clinton has been busy making contacts throughout the world through the Clinton Global Initative and the William J. Clinton Foundation. He has earned millions in speaking fees and business dealings and solicited donations to his foundation from foreign businesses. To date, his foundation has raised over $500 million.
Among several of Clinton's business relationships that have proven controversial:
Last year, The New York Times reported that while some Clinton foundation donors were longtime friends, others sought policy changes while he was still in office. Two donors pledged $1 million while under investigation by the Justice Department.
Clinton's decision to serve on the board of Yucaipa Cos., run by his billionaire friend Ronald Burkle, has also drawn criticism. Clinton earned more than $5 million through his partnership with Burkle, helping Burkle land investors and identify business opportunities.
In 2005, Clinton expressed support for Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan's authoritarian president, undercutting international criticism of Kazakhstan's poor human rights record, an issue championed by Clinton's wife. Days after Clinton's public declaration, his ally (and future donor) Frank Giustra won the rights to three state-run uranium projects. Months later, Clinton received a $31.3 million donation from Guistra.
Clinton has also accepted fees for speaking in China and Saudi Arabia, countries that have blemished human rights records.
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