Concern has been raised in the US after it was revealed governments from UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman have all made recent contributions to The Clinton Foundation, which has restarting accepting funds from foreign governments after imposing a ban in 2009 when Hillary Clinton became US Secretary of State.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the foundation, which was run by former President Bill Clinton while his wife was at the State Department, agreed to the ban at the request of the Obama administration, which became concerned about raising funds while she was representing the US abroad.
The WSJ said the ban was lifted when Hillary left the State Department in 2013, but with a possible Presidential bid in the offing, there have been calls to reimpose the ban.
Kirk Hanson, director of the Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in California, told the paper: “Now that she is gearing up to run for president, the same potential exists for foreign governments to curry favour with her as a potential president of the United States.”
In a statement on its website, the Clinton Foundation says: “Should Secretary Clinton decide to run for office, we will continue to ensure the Foundation's policies and practices regarding support from international partners are appropriate, just as we did when she served as Secretary of State.”
According to the list of donations on the Clinton Foundation website, a number of donations were given from the GCC region.
Saudi Arabia has given between $10 million and $25 million since the foundation was created in 1999, part of which came in 2014. Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi, a Saudi Arabian/Ethiopian businessman and billionaire who lives in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, has previously (before 2014) $5 million and $10 million.
The UAE gave between $1 million and $5 million in 2014, while previous donations have been made by Dubai Foundation, The Zayed Family, GEMS Education and American University in Dubai.
Qatar’s government has previously donated between $1 million and $5 million, while in 2014 the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee – which is overseeing preparations for the World Cup - gave between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2014.
Oman has also contributed to the foundation between $1 million and $5 million, while Kuwait has also given between $5 million and $10 million to the fund.
Established by Bill Clinton in 2001, the foundation is non-profit, with the stated mission to “strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence”. It has previously helped to battle HIV and AIDS in Africa, education millions of children around the world, and fed the poor and hungry.
The Clinton Foundation has set a goal of creating a $250 million endowment with the purpose of securing future programmes without having to rely so much on the former president’s personal fundraising efforts, according to the WSJ report.
The Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman donations went to the endowment drive.
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