Investigative reporter Peter Schweizer, author of the current bestselling book "Clinton Cash," believes Wall Street analyst and investor Charles Ortel's finding that Bill and Hillary Clinton managed the Clinton Foundation to enrich themselves and their closes associates adds an important dimension to his own investigations into allegations of bribery.
"I did not analyze Clinton Foundation financial statements or delve into an investigation of how the finances of the Clinton Foundation were managed and reported to regulators," Schweizer told WND in a telephone interview.
He explained he didn't "explore inurement," the crime of using a non-profit organization for personal financial enrichment.
Schweizer said that, instead, he focused on investigating whether the Clintons engaged in a systematic pattern of bribery in the operation of their foundation and its various subgroups. He investigated whether charitable contributions were made in exchange for political favors delivered by Hillary Clinton, first while serving as U.S. senator from New York and then as secretary of state under President Obama.
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Schwiezer acknowledged that all ex-presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have hit the lecture circuit after leaving the White House.
"What's unique about the Clintons is that Bill Clinton hits the lecture circuit while Hillary is taking up official powers, first in the senate and then as secretary of state," he said.
"That's when it becomes a question of how much is Bill Clinton being paid to speak as a personality and how much of it is an attempted effort to influence Hillary Clinton's official duties," he stressed.
In "Clinton Cash," Schweizer documents that Bill Clinton's speaking fees had begun declining as the Clinton presidency receded into the past, only to improve dramatically once Hillary became secretary of state in 2009.
"Bill's three best years securing speaking fees over $250,000 occurred while Hillary was at State," Schweizer wrote on page 106. "In fact, of the thirteen Clinton speeches that fetched $500,000 or more, only two occurred during the years when his wife was not secretary of state."
Schweizer pointed out that the big-dollar donors to the Clinton Foundation conform to a pattern in which entrepreneurs with questionable ethics and pasts checkered by criminal charges, human rights violations and ties to despotic rulers seek political favor with the United States government to enrich themselves by exploiting Third World natural resources for personal gain.
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How inurement supplements bribery
Schweizer told WND that Ortel's research has added a dimension to his own investigative work.
Ortel has demonstrated how the inurement supplemented the pattern of bribery Schweizer alleged in "Clinton Cash," allowing the Clintons to increase their net worth to $100 million or more by diverting charitable donations to personal gain in addition to padding speaking fees to astronomical heights for those seeking to buy influence.
"While I did not focus on fraudulent financial reporting, I look forward to studying Ortel's reports," Schweizer said.
WND reported Monday that before Hillary Clinton completed her first year as President Obama's secretary of state in 2010, Ortel calculates $17 million went missing from Clinton Foundation financial reports.
WND reported Thursday Ortel has concluded that while Hillary Clinton was appointed to the board of directors of the Clinton Foundation in 2013, after she had resigned as secretary of state, she is complicit in what he has described as systematic financial fraud warranting a criminal investigation. WND reported Wednesday that Ortel found the Clinton Foundation's explanation for why it was divided into three, legally separate tax-exempt organizations to be "misleading and false." As WND reported May 12, based on Ortel's findings, a prominent lawyer and a top government watchdog in the nation's capital are calling for the Clinton Foundation to be shut down. In his first report, Ortel found what he characterizes as an elaborate system devised by the Clintons to enrich themselves through schemes such as skimming tens of millions of dollars from U.N. levies imposed on airline travelers.
In "Clinton Cash," Schweizer documents a long list of shady characters that fit this description, including reclusive Swedish mining investor Lukas Lundin, who committed $100 million to the Clinton Foundation through a charity called Lundin for Africa.
Beginning on page 122 of "Clinton Cash," Schweizer explains that Lundin, a recluse who lives in Vancouver, Canada, "was the head of a sprawling enterprise that cuts deals with African warlords and dictators to gain access to valuable minerals and oil."
He operated in countries under sanction such as Libya, Iran and Sudan "where many other competitors are unable to operate." Even more troubling, the Lundin Group was under investigation by the International Prosecution Chamber in Stockholm for complicity in "war crimes and crimes against humanity."
Another character who runs through the pages of "Clinton Cash" is Frank Guistra. Schweizer introduces him at page 24 as "less a mining executive than a penny-stock speculator" who leveraged contributions to the Clinton Foundation to get Bill Clinton's help winning over Nursultan Nazarbayev, the ruler of Kazakhstan, who Schweizer describes on page 23 as "a backwater billionaire dictator with a treacherous human rights record."
The deal ended with Guistra getting access to immense uranium deposits from Kazakhstan's estimated $5 trillion of natural resources. Guistra developed a company named Uranium One that took Secretary Clinton's involvement before the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS) voted to allow the Russian State Nuclear Agency Rosatom to buy a controlling interest in Uranium One. Consequently, one-half of all U.S. uranium production wound up in the effective control of the Vladimir Putin's Russian government.
"You find this pattern repeated," Schweizer told WND, "where people who operate these political cultures largely driven by bribery are making large payments to the Clintons.
"And we are expected to believe that while they engage in these sorts of transactions in other cases, when it comes to the Clintons, it's completely clean and has nothing to do with trying to buy influence," he said. "I think it stretches reality beyond any recognition. When you throw money at political figures, often times the expectation is that they are going to do something in favor for you."
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'All about political influence'
Schweizer concedes that absent evidence such as that which might be available in Hillary Clinton's now destroyed emails, he can't prove generous donations to the Clinton Foundation influenced public policy.
Still, Schweizer argues, he has provided abundant evidence of a suspicious pattern that should prompt a federal law enforcement investigation of his allegations the Clintons used their charitable foundation to perpetrate a influence-peddling fraud that enabled them to enrich their net worth by to over $100 million.
"What you find is that when you look at the mining industry, or timber concessions or the oil industry in a lot of these developing Third World countries, is that it's all about having political influence," Schweizer said. "These are countries that are run by corrupt regimes. They get to say thumbs up or thumbs down whether you are going to get to mine in a certain area or drill for oil in a certain area.
"If you want to function in that kind of political environment, the best thing you can do is to have the husband of the secretary of state be your business partner," he said. "That's what people like Frank Guistra and a lot of other Clinton donors have done. They've looked for influence with the Clintons, for political protection from the Clintons. They've looked for an ex-president who has prestige, but who also has a spouse who has very real power and can make things happen."
'Boosting questionable reputations
Schweizer believes influence peddling has been at the heart of the Clinton corruption.
"So many of the people who are throwing money at the Clintons are not involved in free market, open competition selling products," he emphasized. Many of them are in industries that require you to have good favor with very corrupt regimes in the developing world. That's where the Clintons enter in.
"When you look at corrupt regimes in places like Kazakhstan, the regime is raking off any profits that they're getting," he said. "And so, a lot of the economic development, as it were, is not development that benefits the people in those countries. It benefits the governing elites. And it's these elites, who see value interacting with the Clintons."
He explained association with the Clintons has great value boosting questionable reputations wanting to win favor in questionable Third World ventures in which the exploitation of natural resources is a sure ticket to enormous riches.
"Any time you have a suspicious actor in the developing Third World, you want to burnish that reputation," Schweizer explained. "The Clintons are happy to perform those services if the benefit is to themselves or their friends."
Schweizer emphasized there's "money that flows to the Clintons – some of it money in their pockets – some of it to the foundation."
"At the same time the Clintons perform this service for Third World oligarchs or Third World industrialists who have horrible reputations," he said. "It's a mutually beneficial approach. The problem is the integrity of the United States suffers, as do the people forced to live in these countries under these oppressive regimes."