Saturday, April 25

Hillary approved a deal to sell one-fifth of U.S. uranium to Russia after backers donated millions to her foundation

You may have heard some muttering about some sort of huge donations to the Clinton Foundation made by foreign governments or businessmen while Hillary was secretary of state. 

Of course if you like Hillary you immediately dismissed this as just malicious fiction concocted by nasty Rethuglican dirty-tricksters.  Or the favorite airy dismissal by liberals, "Faux News."  (That clever pun just cracks me up every time I see it!)

Or another well-known right-wing rag, the...NY Times??

Wait, that can't be right.

Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal
  NY Times, April 23, 2015

If you click on the link you'll be greeted by 5,000 words of "...and then the sun set," interspersed with a few words of substance.  But the substance is--or should be--devastating.

Synopsis: A trio of wealthy Canadian businessmen assembled a very large bundle of uranium mining leases--like, one-fifth of all known U.S. uranium deposits, and lots more in other countries.  They did this with the very direct help of former president Bill Clinton.  Later, with their stock down 40% they sought to sell the company.

Russia wanted to buy it, but all sales of U.S. assets to foreign companies must be approved by a government "committee" staffed by representatives from State, Commerce and other agencies.

Minor deals are handled and approved by low-level staffers, but given the unique uses of uranium, a proposal to sell one-fifth of all U.S. uranium deposits to Russia would normally have been handled by the heads of the respective agencies.  It's that important.

But in this case, the deal was approved seemingly with very little debate or hesitation.  But the Times reporters couldn't find anyone who would say who handled the approvals, or who signed off on the deal.

Now here's the poser:  The Canadian investors contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, while Hillary was SecState.

Now, federal law bars federal employees from accepting any type of gratuity or bribe from anyone doing business with the government--and seeking necessary approval for a huge sale like this one certainly seems to qualify.

But when the law was written, no one thought to ban a politician from setting up a foundation, and accepting multi-million-dollar donations from people seeking government approval for deals.  "That's not a bribe, judge, I just wanted to support the great work of her family foundation."


To add to the seriousness, the Times reported that prior to appointing Hillary secstate, the Obama administration made a detailed agreement with her that her foundation would disclose all donors, and of course that Mrs. Clinton would not make policy decisions as secstate that would involve either a conflict of interest or the appearance of one.

The Clinton Foundation failed to disclose the Canadian donations.

Reporters seeking information from the dowager queen were told to check with State.  State told 'em to check with the White Hut.  The White Hut told 'em they'd have to ask Hillary.

Neat, huh.

Oh, you wanna know amounts, do ya?  According to the Times the donations were well over $30 million.

It is good to be queen, eh?

Now, it's no secret that the owners, editors and reporters of the NY Times love Hillary Clinton.  So for them to publish a story questioning some aspect of our dowager queen grandmother's imperial acts, something's afoot--they are definitely not trying to torpedo her candidacy.  So why run the story?

I suspect it's to de-fuse the story, which is part of a soon-to-be-released book.  By getting it out now her spokespeople can claim this is all "old news" and "sleazy innuendo" that "was shown to be baseless."  And indeed, this is exactly the line Clinton spokespeople are taking.  For example, the day the article was published a Clinton campaign said the uranium deal was "reviewed by lower-level officials at State," which would lead the casual listener to believe Clinton never saw or approved the deal--something that seems highly unlikely.

“This did not rise to the secretary’s level,” said Josh Schwerin, another Clinton campaign spokesman. “There was no matter presented to her to recuse herself from.”  In that case, what lower-level State employee took it upon himself to handle such a strategically vital matter without even consulting the head of his agency?  Should be easy for congress to ask.

Campaign strategists are well aware that unless the mainstream media tout a story on the front page for a month or so--like Abu Ghraib--95 percent of the public will literally forget all about it in three weeks.  So dismiss it now as "speculative" and it will sink without a trace long before the first primary.

Finally, imagine how this story would be playing in the press if the main character were, say, Mitt Romney instead of Hillary.  Do you think reporters would be satisfied with asking spokes-weasels for details and explanations, or would they be asking the candidate himself?  Would the story be surrounded by thousands of words of fluff and softening, or would it be far more direct and scathing?

Frankly, the Clinton campaign defense of "speculative" sounds a lot like "You don't have video of her being handed a bag of cash, so there's no wrongdoing at all here."

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