Andrew Perez, International Business Times, says Clinton-led State Department authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in sales for defense contractors.
SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The Clintons continue to be plagued by one scandal or another. On Tuesday the International Business Times reported that Clinton Foundation donors received weapons deals from the State Department while Hillary was secretary of state. According to the International Business times, a consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States’ oil-rich ally in the Middle East, and that’s Saudi Arabia. Joining us now to discuss this is the author of the report Andrew Perez. Andrew is a national political reporter for International Business Times. Andrew, thank you so much for joining us. ANDREW PEREZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: Thank you for having me. PERIES: Andrew, explain what the Clintons actually did wrong here in terms of the relationship between the arms manufacturers delivering weapons to Saudi Arabia, which is obviously a contractual agreement, and then the donations they made to the foundation, or by way of speaking engagements. PEREZ: Okay. With that situation what we know is that Saudi Arabia over the course of the duration of the Clinton Foundation has donated at least $10 million to the Foundation. Additionally Boeing, which was the prime contractor in that agreement to deliver F15 aircraft has also donated at least I believe between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. Again, I mean, there’s no kind of way to prove that it had, that the contract was in any way linked to the Clinton Foundation donation. However, we are just looking at, there is a pattern here of countries and companies that give to the foundation are receiving favorable outcomes. PERIES: And what are the other countries? PEREZ: I mean, there’s 20 countries in total and there’s 6 defense contractors. Some of the countries include Qatar, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates. Other defense contractors that have given to the Foundation include Lockheed Martin, Goldman Sachs, which owned a defense contractor called Hawker Beechcraft. In any event, there’s 20 countries, and as we’ve charted, a number of them saw substantial increases in the values that were approved by the State Department after Hillary Clinton took over. PERIES: And do we have a total amount of the kind of money we’re talking about here that has changed hands? PEREZ: Well, the money that went to the Clinton Foundation is anywhere between, I believe, $50 million and $140 million. They only disclose in a range. But as far as under the direct commercial sales process that is run by the State Department, there’s–I believe it’s around $150 billion worth of contracts that were approved. PERIES: And in terms of the Boeing-led consortium, what is it that they exactly contributed to the foundation? PEREZ: Boeing has contributed I think $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. I need to check the number. But additionally they had sponsored an event hosted by the Global Business Travel Association that had paid President Clinton $250,000 I believe, in 2010 or 2011. PERIES: And what is it in our ethics guidelines that prevent them from doing this? PEREZ: In practice, not very much. There’s nothing that prohibits companies with business before the State Department from giving to the Secretary of State’s spouse or to a foundation that the family runs. Under the terms of an agreement that Secretary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation agreed to with the Obama administration, during her nomination process they agreed to run any speeches by, or any speaking fees by State Department ethics officials before the speech. PERIES: Now, the contributions to the Clinton Foundation is separate from the fees that they had garnered for speaking engagements. Is that so? PEREZ: Yes, though in some cases it seems that–it’s kind of unclear at this point, but it seems like the Clintons accepted speaking fees that they then donated to the Foundation. So some of those weren’t originally disclosed. I believe the government of Thailand is one example of such a donation that wasn’t disclosed, and they said that was because it was paid to them as a speaking fee and then they donated it. PERIES: And is there a tax advantage in doing that, for the Clintons? PEREZ: I’m not sure. The Clintons have said that they didn’t take any tax exemptions on those transactions. PERIES: And Hillary Clinton’s on record saying her and Bill Clinton has been fortunate to garner these kinds of fees for their speaking engagements. Now, one of the things that one could argue is that if they’re actually donating some of this money to the Foundation and the Foundation is doing good things as they say they do in places like Haiti, how would you contest that? PEREZ: That’s something that a number of the companies did tell us. Boeing mentioned that they had donated to earthquake relief efforts. That’s not a, I don’t think anyone would contest that the Clinton Foundation does good work around the globe. However, I think some people do question if there’s been any kind of linkage between State Department policy under Hillary Clinton and donations to the Foundation. However, of course, that’s not entirely clear that there is any kind of link. PERIES: All right. Andrew, thank you so much for joining us today. PEREZ: All right, thank you for having me. PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.�