Years before Peter Schweizer wrote “Clinton Cash,” way before Frank Giustra’s Kazakhstan mining operation became part of Uranian One, which was sold to the Russians, word of these Clinton shenanigans was out. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal both noted these relationships and the possible conflict of interest they represent for Hillary Clinton.
In January 2008, the Times reported:
Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.
Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.
Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.
The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.
Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.
A month later in an article titled “His and Her Finances,” the Wall Street Journal wrote:
What we do know is that Mr. Clinton has allowed donors to use his influence to advance their business interests. That was the case with Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining financier, who won a huge mining concession in Kazakhstan after Mr. Clinton flew all the way to Almaty to introduce him to President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Bloomberg reported this week that Mr. Clinton has also been a frequent flyer on Mr. Giustra’s corporate jet.
Mr. Giustra later donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation and has pledged $100 million more. As the New York Times has reported, Mr. Clinton used his trip to praise Mr. Nazarbayev’s bid to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, even as Senator Clinton was slamming the country’s record on corruption and elections. If Mr. Clinton’s personal business is going to affect U.S. foreign policy, he ought to tell the world who his benefactors are.
In “Clinton Foundation Secrets” published in April of the same year the Journal not only warned about the Clinton/Giustra connection but pointed out that as Mrs. Clinton neared her 2008 run donations to the Clinton Foundation spiked:
Mr. Clinton seems to understand the value of his mere association. Consider his relationship with Canadian financier Frank Giustra, who took Mr. Clinton on a trip to Kazakhstan in 2005, won a Kazakh mining concession, and then committed to donate more than $130 million to the Clinton Foundation. In a letter we recently published, Mr. Giustra insists his gift was entirely philanthropic and that he won the Kazakh concession on the merits.
More recently, we’ve also learned Mr. Clinton arranged for Mr. Giustra to meet with Colombian President lvaro Uribe. A Canadian company that Mr. Giustra’s firm was advising later acquired interests in Colombian oil fields. Some of the money Mr. Giustra has given the Clinton Foundation has been earmarked for development projects in Colombia.
How many favors has Mr. Clinton done for foreign donors? There’s no way of knowing. The former President insists he’s aware of no conflicts. Notably, however, donations to the Clinton Foundation soared as Mrs. Clinton neared a presidential run to $135 million in 2006, 70% more than the year before. Somebody seems to think there is value in being generous to the Clintons.
Mrs. Clinton says the foundation is her husband’s business, not hers. But as she has said in the past, a Clinton Presidency is two for the price of one. Americans deserve to know who has been donating to the Clinton Foundation.
In short, there was ample warning to Hillary, Team Clinton, and the mainstream media that something was amiss not only because of Bill’s friendship with Giustra but because donors to the Clinton Foundation seemed to be looking to take advantage of Hillary’s possible promotion from the U.S. Senate.
What we are learning today from the various investigations resulting from Schweizer’s book is not the result of some oversight, resulting in the appearance of a conflict of interests. At best, a deliberate lack of attention was paid to blatant warnings. Whether it was because of greed of a simple lack of concern, the revelations are now widely known and should expose the up-to-now Teflon Clintons for the connivers and cheaters they are. They should be enough to keep Hillary Clinton away from the White House unless she goes on a guided tour.
[Our apologies: this post was originally attributed incorrectly to cartoonist extraordinaire A.F. Branco. It is actually the work of blogger extraordinaire Jeff Dunetz. – Ed]
Cross-posted at The Lid