The U.S. State Department rubber-stamped a shady consulting contract and over 200 speeches that put $48 million in former President Bill Clinton’s pocket during wife Hillary’s tenure at the federal agency, according to documents obtained by a government watchdog group.
The group, Judicial Watch, and the Washington Examiner, forced the State Department to release its “conflict-of-interest” reports which showed Clinton gave speeches in a number of foreign countries on behalf of companies that had business dealings with the U.S.
According to Judicial Watch, State Department protocols and an additional 2008 agreement between President Obama’s transition team and the Clinton Foundation required the agency to review any “potential or actual conflict of interest” on behalf of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But those curbs had little effect on the agency’s approval process, according to Judicial Watch and the Examiner, as the State Department approved all 215 Clinton speech proposals with “no objection.”
“These documents are a bombshell and show how the Clintons turned the State Department into a racket to line their own pockets,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton in a statement.
Mr. Clinton spoke to groups of bankers in countries such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Cayman Islands, among others.
According to the Washington Examiner, he earned $600,000 from two speeches given in Saudi Arabia. One of those was sponsored by the Dabbagh Group, which has close ties to the Saudi royal family.
He gave four speeches to Chinese companies, earning $1.7 million.
Groups with ties to Chinese interests donated heavily to the Clinton Foundation, to the tune of between $750,000 and $1.75 million, according to the Examiner.
The audiences attending the speeches were mostly wealthy individuals.
In Chicago in April 2012, Mr. Clinton spoke at an event hosted by UBS Wealth Management of between 300 and 400 “high net-worth clients, prospective clients, and UBS Financial Advisers.”
He also spoke at the Ritz Carlton in the Cayman Islands, a well-known tax-haven for the wealthy.
The documents also showed an arrangement between former President Clinton and Teneo Strategies, a firm operated by Clinton Foundation adviser Doug Band.
According to the Washington Examiner, the contract, initially set for three years, was ended after only eight months after Band’s ties to MF Global, which went bankrupt in 2011, were revealed.
“How the Obama State Department waived hundreds of ethical conflicts that allowed the Clintons and their businesses to accept money from foreign entities and corporations seeking influence boggles the mind,” Judicial Watch’s Fitton said.
“That former President Clinton trotted the globe collecting huge speaking fees while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy is an outrage,” he added.
“One can’t imagine what foreign policy issues were mishandled as top State Department officials spent so much time facilitating the Clinton money machine.”
The Clintons’ enormous wealth — estimated at between $100 million and $200 million — has become a focal point of debate during Hillary Clinton’s book tour, which is seen as a prequel to a 2016 presidential bid.
Secretary Clinton has downplayed the couples’ wealth while also fending off criticism over the fees the couple charges for their speaking gigs. While criticism of the former president’s speeches has focused mostly on the wealth of his audiences, the former first lady has been taken to task for charging colleges and universities hundreds of thousands of dollars for her speeches.