Politics

Senator To Loretta Lynch: Why Did DOJ Nix Clinton Foundation Investigation?

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

Texas Sen. John Cornyn is demanding answers from Attorney General Loretta Lynch about the Justice Department’s decision earlier this year to decline an FBI recommendation to investigate the Clinton Foundation.

The Republican points out in the letter that the DOJ’s decision not to pursue an investigation despite the FBI’s recommendation is in stark contrast to its decision last month to accept the bureau’s recommendation not to charge Clinton following its email probe.

“The outcome in both cases favors Secretary Clinton,” Cornyn writes.

On Thursday, CNN reported that the FBI and three Justice Department field offices recommended that Justice Department headquarters open a public integrity investigation into the Clinton family charity.

That followed after a bank notified the FBI about a Clinton Foundation donor’s “suspicious activity,” according to CNN. But when FBI and DOJ officials met earlier this year, the Justice Department’s public integrity unit shot down the idea of a Clinton Foundation probe.

An investigation had also been considered last year after the publication of the book “Clinton Cash.” But CNN reported that officials felt there was insufficient evidence to pursue an investigation.

Cornyn is asking Lynch to respond to the following questions:

Is the CNN report accurate?

When did the FBI recommend that the Department open a case and pursue criminal charges related to the Clinton Foundation?

Why did the FBI recommend that the Department open a case on the Clinton Foundation?

Which Department employees, in the Public Integrity Unit or elsewhere, were involved in the decision not to open a case on the Clinton Foundation?

In the earlier reported investigation by the Department, which violations of criminal law were considered? And why did the Department decide not to open a case?

In your recent private meeting with former President Bill Clinton, did you discuss anything regarding the Clinton Foundation? If so, please indicate what was discussed.

Cornyn’s last question refers to Lynch’s controversial meeting with Bill Clinton in late June. Just days before the FBI and DOJ were set to interview Hillary Clinton as part of the email investigation, Lynch met with Bill Clinton in secret on her private airplane. After the conclave was reported, Lynch denied that she and the former president discussed the email investigation. But she has not been asked whether the Clinton Foundation was brought up.

In his letter, Cornyn also refers to a batch of emails released earlier this week by Judicial Watch which show that a Clinton Foundation adviser asked Hillary Clinton’s State Department aides for favors for a billionaire Clinton Foundation donor and for other associates.

The emails show that the Clintons blurred the line between their family charity — through which they have made numerous financial and political connections — and the State Department. The overlap also appears to violate an agreement Clinton made with the White House before taking over at the State Department to avoid conflicts of interest with the Clinton Foundation.

“This kind of conduct is unacceptable, and reflects the worst concerns harbored by the public about the abuse of government office to benefit the powerful at the expense of the American people,” Cornyn wrote to Lynch.

“It violates the commitment Secretary Clinton made to Congress and the Executive Branch following her nomination to be Secretary of State. That and her proven record of extreme carelessness with national security warrant a careful examination of Secretary Clinton’s other conduct, and that of her staff.”

While Lynch and other DOJ officials in Washington D.C. have tabled the idea of investigating the Clinton’s non-profit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the southern district of New York may be pursuing one of its own. (RELATED: Joint FBI-U.S. Attorney Probe Of Clinton Foundation Is Underway)

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported late Thursday that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is leading an investigation into the charity out of his office.

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