Clinton Foundation scandal prevents further work in Dominican Republic
Assertions that came to light in a soon-to-be-released book, entitled "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Clinton Rich," by Peter Schweizer, claim that foreign entities who made payments to the Clinton Foundation and to Bill Clinton in the form of high speaking fees were able to receive favors while Hillary headed up the U.S. State Department between 2009 and 2013.
One example in Schweizer's book is a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia that went into effect in 2012 and benefited a major Clinton Foundation donor's investments.
An Associated Press analysis of Clinton Foundation donations between 2001 and 2015 found that governments and agencies from 16 nations previously gave direct grants of between $55 million and $130 million. Now, however, donations will only be allowed from the governments of Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom – leaving the Dominican Republic excluded, along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Kuwait, Italy, Brunei and Taiwan.
The Clinton Foundation did not respond to Fox News Latino's request for comment, but it appears that much of the donations coming from the Dominican Republic were from a government agency, Copresida, that works to combat HIV/AIDS. While the foundation's website did not provide exact figures, Copresida is believed to have donated somewhere between $10 and $25 million.
The donations appear to have occurred outside of the time that Clinton was secretary of state.
The Clinton Foundation has done a great deal of work in the Dominican Republic, along with neighboring Haiti, over the years in projects ranging from HIV/AIDS to job creation to building wind power plants.
In 2005, Basic Energy – a company now known as InterEnergy and headed by Clinton Foundation board member Rolando González Bunster – committed to build two wind energy power plants in the Dominican Republic totaling 109 megawatts for more than $120 million. The foundation also awarded former Dominican President Leonel Fernández its Gold Citizen Award in 2010.
While campaigning in Keene, New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton dismissed questions about the family charity as "distractions and attacks."
While the allegations in Schweizer's book that have so far been reported on focus on Colombia, Haiti and China, most ethics experts say that the foundation's changes in donorship guidelines are meant to offer some needed distance to governments accused of repression of dissenters and women's rights abuses.
"They're clearly sensitive to these questions, but they've reacted through a political prism," said Douglas White, director of the Fundraising Management Graduate Program at Columbia University in New York, told the AP. "From a philanthropic ethics perspective, they need to ensure that there is zero foreign influence, whether it comes from new money from foreign governments or money already donated."
The six governments allowed to continue giving to the Clinton Foundation were justified by organization officials because the nations' previous gifts had been earmarked for specific health, poverty and climate change programs — and not as funding that could be used for financial or political gain. The foundation website said those countries only "will support our ongoing programmatic work."
Clinton's campaign referred questions about the board's action to the foundation. Last month, while still a board member, Clinton brushed off concerns about foreign donors, saying the foundation had hundreds of thousands of donors. Before becoming secretary of state, she agreed to limit new foreign donations to the foundation while she served.
The foundation also said it will begin disclosing its donors every quarter instead of annually — possibly to blunt criticism that the charity's once-a-year reporting made it difficult to identify shifting donation patterns. The foundation still will not provide exact donation amounts or when they were given.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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