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Author: Clinton Foundation Disclosures 'Sloppy At The Very Least'


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Hillary Clinton is drawing more attention right now for the foundation that bears her family's name than her run for president. Clinton Foundation is under scrutiny for contributions from foreign donors that were made while Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State. During that time, a Canadian mining financier donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. He also secured a lucrative mining deal that required approval of the State Department while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Joshua Green of Bloomberg News joins us in our studios. Thanks very much for being with us.

JOSHUA GREEN: Good to be with you.

SIMON: These connections were first unearthed, to my knowledge, by Peter Schweizer, who wrote the book that's coming out next week, "Clinton Cash." The New York Times has been advancing the story. You certainly have at Bloomberg News. Give us, if you could, a quick picture about what's known about the relationship between the Clinton's and this Canadian business person.

GREEN: Well, Frank Giustra is his name. I interviewed him about a week or so ago. And he explained to me he met Bill Clinton at a fundraiser for tsunami victims. He was dazzled by him, was invited to become involved in his charities and has in a very big way - not only pledging or giving tens of millions of dollars but also pledging half the profits of his mining company in perpetuity to the Clinton Foundation. He landed on the board of the Clinton Foundation and actually started up the Canadian wing, something called the Clinton-Giustra Enterprise Partnership.

SIMON: But the fact that it's the Canadian affiliate is what has incited so much interest because at least, as I have been given to understand, they don't have to disclose donors the way they would here in the U.S.

GREEN: Well, that's not so clear. I mean, what happened was Peter Schweizer, the author of "Clinton Cash," does a chapter or two on Giustra and his relationship with Bill Clinton. And they have flown around the globe on Giustra's plane, including to Kazakhstan, where they had dinner with the president. And shortly thereafter, Giustra secured a lucrative uranium mining deal. But it's caused, for Schweizer - now other journalists, including myself - to kind of dive into the Clinton Foundation's tax filings and receipts. And look at, OK, well, who really is giving money? And what Schweizer discovered was that there were about half a dozen Canadian donors who hadn't disclosed millions of dollars in donations, including the chairman of this uranium company that Guistra founded. And that's problematic because as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation signed an agreement with the Obama White House saying we pledge to disclose all of our donors on an annual basis. All of this was going to be done out in the open. And it turns out that it hasn't.

SIMON: Yeah. So the implication of your reporting is that whatever it means politically, it violated the agreement between the White House and Hillary Clinton about becoming Secretary of State.

GREEN: Oh, absolutely. There's no real dispute about that. In fact, the president of the Clinton Foundation came out last weekend and issued an odd statement saying, you know, we've made some mistakes. We're going to re-file our taxes. And, oh, by the way, Canadian law forbids us from disclosing people who donate through our Canadian affiliate. At the time, we only knew about four or five in Schweizer's book who hadn't been disclosed. But it turns out now - we're up to 1,100 and counting.

SIMON: Any indication that laws have been violated?

GREEN: I don't think there is, no. There is no indication yet that any laws have been violated. I think a lot of reporters who have read the book and done reporting on it would say, well, there may not be criminality, but there certainly do appear to be lots of examples of sloppiness, at the very least, and conflict of interest or maybe something worse. But I think in the months and, I'm afraid, years ahead as we go through this presidential campaign, that's what reporters are going to be looking into.

SIMON: Joshua Green, national correspondent for Bloomberg Politics, thanks so much.

GREEN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.