by Tom Fitton –
Judicial Watch’s independent work resulted in exposé after exposé this week on how Hillary and Bill Clinton corrupted the State Department.
How did this all begin? From one Judicial Watch lawsuit.
Our dogged work forced the disclosure last year of documents that provided a road map for over 200 conflict-of-interest rulings that led to $48 million for the Clinton Foundation and other Clinton-connected entities during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Previously disclosed documents in this lawsuit, for example, raise questions about funds Clinton accepted from entities linked to Saudi Arabia, China and Iran, among others.
This is the story on these documents that got the ball rolling. The headline says it all: “State Department approved 215 Bill Clinton speeches, controversial consulting deal, worth $48m; Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff copied on all decisions.”
Out of this hard-scrabble investigating, legal work, and journalism (our Micah Morrison in partnership with The Washington Examiner) emerged the key documents that led to much more investigating by others. Notably, our friend Peter Schweitzer of the Government Accountability Institute used our documents to help with his headline-making book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” This book helped feed major media interest in the story that
Judicial Watch has been highlighting since 2008.
From our November 28, 2008 Weekly Update:
I believe Obama made a deal with the devil to avoid a floor fight at the convention. It may have served him politically, but the public shouldn’t suffer the consequences. If the Senate is serious about ethics in government, Hillary’s nomination would be rejected. In putting forward Hillary, Obama now owns the Clinton scandals. Her nomination is another weak personnel decision that will harm his presidency.
Will the Obama administration exercise due diligence and keep a watchful eye on the Clintons? My guess is that if Obama is willing to hire Hillary given her dismal record, he’ll be willing to turn a blind eye to her likely corrupt behavior at the State Department.
The vetting of Hillary seems to have been run by John Podesta (her husband’s former Chief of Staff) and Cheryl Mills (the ethically-challenged lawyer who served as Clinton White House lawyer). Surprise. Surprise. She passed.
Will the names of those at home and abroad who gave the Clinton machine millions over the years be released?
With pals like Rezko, Wright, and Ayers, Obama doesn’t seem to care about the ethics of his cronies.
That means it’ll be up to Judicial Watch to monitor Hillary Clinton’s every move if she and Bill make it to State.
We kept our promise and filed the lawsuit that exposed the very corruption we predicted in 2008.
Again, the headlines tell you much:
• From the New York Times: Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company
• From Reuters: Exclusive: Clinton charities will refile tax returns, audit for other errors
• From the Washington Post, For Clintons, speech income shows how their wealth is intertwined with charity
• From ABC News: Bill Clinton Cashed In When Hillary Became Secretary of State
Now, in the midst of this cavalcade of reporting on Clinton corruption, we have disclosed yet more documents in our key Clinton accountability lawsuit.
Just yesterday, we highlighted 126 more pages of documents from the State Department related to Hillary Clinton’s conflicts of interest during her time as secretary of state. These documents were forced out of the State Department thanks to a federal court order in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department back in May 2013.
Incredibly, the State Department has also turned over almost 1,000 records to the Clinton Foundation beginning in January 2014 for review prior to public release. The Obama State Department allowed Hillary Clinton to remove and destroy government email records. And now we’ve figured out the State Department is improperly giving government documents to the Clinton operation – documents that should have been turned over to us years ago.
The latest group of documents again raises the specter of foreign potentates compromising our nation’s foreign policy with cash to the Clinton machine. One new document shows that State Department officials had concerns in January 2011 about Bill Clinton’s activities related to Saudi Arabia. An email chain, begun on January 25, 2011, includes several members of the State Department’s Legal Advisor Office, and the subject line “Clinton Foundation Request – Saudi entities.” The discussion is almost entirely redacted in the three-page email chain. This is Obama transparency at its best. If nothing else, Bill and Hillary have a friend in the Obama administration in helping cover their tracks. The timing of the email suggests it was about the Saudi government and that the event netted the Clintons $300,000.
We already have the documents about this lucrative event. The Clinton Foundation told the State Department he would participate in the 2011 Global Competiveness Forum, a five-day event in Riyadh. The event was co-sponsored by the Dabbagh Group Holding Co., which “comprises 28 autonomous companies, operating in diversified businesses in 30 countries. Mohammed Husnee Jazeel currently serves as Dabbagh Group’s CFO.” The Clinton Foundation described the event as:
[A]n annual meeting of global business leaders, international political leaders and selected academics and journalists. It was founded in 2006 by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and is held under the patronage of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.
Established in 2000, the SAGIA encourages investment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and provides licensing and support services to investors.
The “ticketed event” targeted “the Saudi Arabian business community.”
Also discussed is a Clinton Foundation request regarding an undisclosed country in Asia in August 2010: “Spoke to Jim [James H Thessin], on this and he plans to speak to the EAP [East Asian & Pacific Affairs] PDAS [Principal
Deputy Assistant Secretary] and get his views.”
A June 2010 message chain addressed to then-Deputy Chief of Mission in Tanzania Larry E. Andre and others is labeled “URGENT RE: Clinton Foundation Issue, ” and states: “Former POTUS Clinton is on the ground in Tanzania… we need guidance fairly urgently to still be relevant.”
Also in the documents is a fully redacted June 2011 exchange between longtime Clinton associates Cheryl Mills and Doug Band.
Band assisted in creating the Clinton Global Initiative and is a founding partner and president of Teneo. Also previously disclosed, documents show that the State Department approved a consulting arrangement between Bill Clinton and Band. The Clintons ended the deal after only eight months, as criticism mounted over Teneo’s ties to the failed investment firm, MF Global. Mills defended Bill Clinton during his 1999 impeachment trial. She also was on the Clinton Foundation’s board prior to joining Mrs. Clinton at the State Department. Ms. Mills reportedly negotiated the “ethics agreement” on behalf of the Clintons and the Foundation that required the Clintons to submit to rigorous conflict-of-interest checks. Despite this, and in apparent violation of Obama administration ethics rules, the documents we forced out show Ms. Mills was involved in ethics reviews as chief of staff for Mrs. Clinton at the State Department.
There’s another interesting tidbit that speaks to Clinton cover-up tactics with which we are all too familiar. There’s a January 2013 email from Clinton Foundation Scheduler Margaret Steenburg to State Department attorneys saying a list of speech hosts for conflict-of-interest review was provided to them. But surprise, surprise, the list is conspicuously absent from the FOIA production documents.
The State Department just disclosed that it turned over 128 records to the Clinton Foundation for review under Exemption 4 of FOIA. Exemption 4 allows the withholding of commercial information about third parties that could cause them competitive harm. We understand that over 1,000 records have been turned over to the Clinton Foundation under this unusual review process, resulting in more delay.
So the lawsuit which first exposed the Clinton foreign fundraising racket at the State Department continues to be obstructed by Mrs. Clinton’s political operation. Remember that Mrs. Clinton is obstructing the release of information about the very scandal she is dismissing as “politics.”
With these revelations of State Department concerns about the Clinton machine’s Saudi and Asian dealings, this simple FOIA lawsuit is once again providing the road map for those tracking Hillary Clinton’s abuse of office as secretary of state. In the meantime, the State Department seems to be more concerned about helping Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign than following federal disclosure law.
By the way, lest we forgot the Clinton email scandal obstruction, State Department promised to conduct a supplemental search of email records allegedly turned over late last year by Hillary Clinton. The State Department has been silent on obtaining or recovering other emails from Hillary Clinton’s secret accounts or any secret accounts of her top staff, including Cheryl Mills. And it is silent as to when will we get those documents.
Our litigation in federal court continues. As the Clinton campaign distracts, lies, and denies, the court process will move forward and more truths about Hillary Clinton’s abuse of office will come to light.
Foreign Nationals Stealing Our Elections?
We have little doubt that election integrity measures, especially in these days of open borders and mass illegal immigration, are essential to clean elections.
That’s why we felt it important to join with the Allied Educational Foundation to file an amici curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of Arizona’s and Kansas’ efforts to add proof-of-citizenship requirements to a federal voter registration form (Kris W. Kobach, et al., v. U. S. Election Assistance Commission, et al., (No. 14-1164)). This important brief argues that if a lower court ruling is permitted to stand, it will “undermine voter confidence in the integrity of elections:”
If states cannot verify the citizenship of those registering to vote, citizens may have their votes cancelled out by unlawful ballots cast in the names of noncitizens. The mere threat of this outcome will undermine voters’ confidence that elections are being conducted fairly and honestly, discouraging those voters from voting at all and thereby burdening their right to vote. As this Court has explained, public confidence in the integrity of elections encourages citizen participation in the democratic process…Conversely, a lack of faith in electoral integrity undermines confidence in the system and discourages citizen participation in democracy.
To break it down very simply – it has been evident for some time that Team Obama would like to recruit and register as many non-citizens as possible in an effort to swing upcoming elections. Once this is understood, the administration’s bizarre policy choices make much more sense. Our astute readers are familiar with the 76 pages of DHS documents showing that as of April 26, 2014, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a division of DHS, had released 165,900 convicted criminal aliens into the United States at taxpayers’ expense, both in terms of money and security. This figure includes criminal aliens convicted of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. Yes, that’s a danger to the public safety, but safety comes in second to President Obama’s political agenda. Now the administration is working overtime to prevent states from enforcing their own laws that require voter registration applications provide proof of citizenship.
In August 2013, Kansas and Arizona filed a complaint against the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to force the agency to require proof of citizenship in the state-specific instructions on the National Mail Voter Registration Form (the federal form). The District Court ruled in favor of the states, but in November 2014, the Denver-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the Obama administration could block state officials from upholding their own laws requiring proof of citizenship before voting. In March, the secretaries of state of Arizona and Kansas filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court asking it to review and overturn the Tenth Circuit ruling.
There are important constitutional principles at stake here. States are permitted under the U.S. Constitution to set the qualifications for voters.
The Supreme Court previously ruled (Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona) that “the Elections Clause empowers Congress to regulate how federal elections are held, but not who may vote in them … Since the power to establish voting requirements is of little value without the power to enforce those requirements, Arizona is correct that it would raise serious constitutional doubts if a federal statute precluded a State from obtaining the information necessary to enforce its voter qualifications.”
Your JW has been fighting this battle for some time now. In December 2012, we filed a Supreme Court amicus curiae brief in support of Arizona’s proof of citizenship voter registration law. Then, in January 2014 we supported Arizona’s and Kansas’ follow-up to that litigation in their efforts to gain approval from the Obama administration’s EAC to change the “federal” voter registration form to include a proof-of-citizenship requirement. We then joined with AEF to support the states’ challenge to the EAC with an amici brief before the Tenth Circuit in July 2014. The Obama Justice Department pressured states to register greater numbers of voters on public assistance, while ignoring federal law requiring states to clean up voter registration lists. And let’s not forget the Obama Justice Department has also opposed voter ID laws and other election integrity measures.
In our brief we also point to U.S. Census Bureau data, which indicates that seven percent of the U.S. resident population lacks citizenship (approximately 22 million lawful and unlawfully present aliens). State efforts to ensure only eligible citizens vote, therefore, are presented with a real voter fraud problem. A study published in 2014 concluded that about 25 percent of U.S. non-citizens were registered to vote in 2010, and that 6.4 percent had voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent had voted in 2010. These illegal non-citizen voters, the study suggested, were decisive in President Obama’s 2008 election victory and in ensuring the Democratic super-majority could pass Obamacare into law. The researchers noted that many legal and illegal aliens had sufficient voter ID to vote in states that require some type of voter identification, which suggests that voter ID laws alone may not prevent non-citizens from voting.
The amici brief emphasizes that efforts to ensure that only citizens vote in federal elections are essential to combatting fraud and reassuring Americans that elections are fair:
The Tenth Circuit’s decision threatens to diminish Americans’ confidence in their own elections. The harm that results will be significant regardless of the frequency with which voter fraud occurs. A bipartisan panel convened to examine the existence and impact of voter fraud, the Carter-Baker Commission, had this to say [in 2005] about the frequency of voter fraud relative to its “significance”:
While the Commission is divided on the magnitude of voter fraud – with some believing the problem is widespread and others believing that it is minor – there is no doubt that it occurs. The problem, however, is not the magnitude of the fraud. In close or disputed elections, and there are many, a small amount of fraud could make the margin of difference. And second, the perception of possible fraud contributes to low confidence in the system.
Such “close elections” occur all the time. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted released remarkable statistics showing that, in 2013, 35 local races and 8 local ballot issues were decided in his state either by one vote, or by the toss of a coin following an electoral tie.
Illegal voting at any level can change the outcome of elections. And there is no acceptable amount of fraud.
Once again, it falls to the states and independent groups such as Judicial Watch to fight the Obama administration in order to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. When a far-left president opposes citizenship verification and voter ID, we can only conclude that it’s because he wants non-citizens to turn elections. The Supreme Court should step in, follow the Constitution and recognize the constitutional power of the states to secure elections by ensuring that only citizens can vote.
In the meantime, you might want to ask your state and local officials what they are doing to ensure the integrity of elections. Kansas and Arizona shouldn’t be alone in upholding the rule of law.
Tom Fitton – President