A Kazakh official involved in brokering a controversial mining deal for a major Clinton Foundation donor is behind bars for his role in the transaction, undercutting a Clinton campaign “fact-check” that attempted to dismiss ethical questions about the former president’s ties to the lucrative contract.
Hillary for America and the Clinton-aligned group Media Matters pushed back on allegations that the Clintons had used their political clout to drum up millions in foundation donations and speaking fees by furthering the financial interests of friends in the wake of Tuesday’s publication of Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash.
Schweizer dedicated an entire chapter to a 2005 deal in which Bill Clinton allegedly helped his friend Frank Giustra break into a fiercely competitive uranium market, setting the stage for the high-profile takeover of mining conglomerate Uranium One by Russia.
Bill Clinton downplayed criticism of his family’s foundation during a fundraiser in Morocco on Wednesday by claiming not to understand the “problem” with accepting foreign donations because he “just works here.”
“There’s one set of rules for politics in America and there’s another set of rules in real life, and you just have to learn to deal with it,” Clinton said when pressed about the controversy onstage during the event’s opening session before quickly changing the subject.
Mo Ibrahim, a strong supporter of the Clinton Foundation, blasted the “American media” for hyping the sources of the charity’s donations rather than the actual work of the organization.
Still, he questioned why the Clinton Foundation has done little to defend its philanthropy.
“I don’t see anybody from the foundation standing up,” Ibrahim, whose daughter serves on the foundation’s board, told the former president. “You should stand up.”
Hillary Clinton was slated to appear at the Marrakech summit, but her name was removed from the schedule as scrutiny over the foundation’s foreign activities heated up in April.
A phosphate exporter called OCP, owned by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, is providing much of the funding for the high-profile event.
Bill and Chelsea Clinton traveled to the conference from Kenya, where they had spent several days with major donors before heading to the lavish Palmeraie Golf Palace in Marrakech, where the three-day event is taking place.