Clinton Enlisted State Employees to Steer Funds to Clinton Foundation Partner

Emails show then-secretary of state asking aides to secure donations to group working with foundation
illary Clinton / AP

BY: Lachlan Markay
September 1, 2015 2:35 pm

Hillary Clinton enlisted top State Department officials to help steer money to a partner organization of her family’s foundation, newly released emails show.

In September 2010, the then-secretary of state emailed two State Department officials asking them to “follow up” with representatives of the Norwegian government who had expressed interests in donating to an effort called the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

“The Norwegian FM [foreign minister] told me Norway would join the Alliance and we should coordinate with his UN Rep. Will you pls follow up?” she wrote.

The email was one of hundreds made available on Monday in the latest release of messages sent and received by the Democratic presidential candidate while she steered U.S. foreign policy.

The Alliance is a project of the United Nations Foundation, which has donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. It seeks to help people in the developing world replace wood-fired cookstoves with healthier and more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Kris Balderston, a Clinton deputy and State’s special representative for global partnerships, acted quickly. Three days later, he told Clinton that he had spoken with Norway’s ambassador to the U.N. “and they are joining the Alliance … for $600,000 the first year.”

“They noted that this is a down payment and would contribute a ‘substantial amount for this endeavor in the future,” he added. “They wanted to move quickly for the CGI announcement and ant [sic] to see a business plan before they commit more.”

Like the U.N. Foundation, the government of Norway is a high-dollar Clinton Foundation donor. It has given between $10 million and $25 million, according to the foundation’s website.

The CGI announcement mentioned in Balderston’s email referred to the Alliance’s “commitment to action” at the Clinton Foundation’s annual Clinton Global Initiative summit, which kicked off in New York City six days after Balderston informed Clinton of Norway’s Alliance support.

At the CGI meeting, the Alliance announced a “commitment to action” worth $250 million. Commitments to Action, as the foundation describes them, are “a unique feature of CGI membership” whereby organizations pledge to support some foundation goal.

Such commitments are not contributions to CGI or the Clinton Foundation, the group notes. But they still provide valuable political cachet to the foundation, according to Peter Schweizer, a Hoover Institution fellow and the author of the book Clinton Cash.

“The Clintons’ ability to convene various public and private interests around a common cause or project does create leverage for getting things done in the global arena. But [it] also creates opportunity for moving a lot of money around with very little accountability,” Schweizer wrote in his book.

“This approach positions the Clinton Foundation in a way a politician could especially love: with little direct responsibility, it is able to take credit for good results and avoid blame for bad ones.”

Schweizer’s book highlighted favorable treatment for Clinton Foundation donors by Clinton’s State Department.

In addition to her work on behalf of a foundation partner, the emails released on Monday show that Clinton pushed for her foundation’s involvement in official U.S. policy activities.

When Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, forwarded an email from her “life partner” David Domenici suggesting an educational effort in Haiti, Clinton suggested that her foundation fund the effort.

The Clinton Foundation, she said, has “unencumbered $.”