The chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) has sent a letter to the White House asking for answers about the Clinton Foundation's fundraising practices.
Reince Priebus sent the letter
to Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton, who served as Obama's secretary of state from 2009-2013, is mulling a presidential run.
"On December 12, 2008 as then-Senator Hillary Clinton was under consideration to become then-President elect Barack Obama's Secretary Of State, the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team established a Memorandum of Understanding ('MOU') with the William J. Clinton Foundation (the 'Clinton Foundation') that determined, among other things, how the foundation would handle contributions while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary," the letter reads. "As you likely recall, the agreement was signed by then-CEO of the Clinton Foundation Bruce Lindsey and yourself, at the time serving as Transition Team Co-Chair.
"Under the MOU, the Clinton Foundation agreed not to accept donations from foreign governments that had not previously contributed to the foundation without a State Department ethics reviews, and agreed to disclose annually a list of its donors."
Despite the agreement, several recent reports
have claimed the foundation took donations from several foreign governments — six that had not previously donated — while Clinton was running the State Department.
The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) was spun off from the Clinton Foundation in 2010, but legally it was bound to follow the agreement.
A Reuters report
claimed Australia, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Flanders, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Swaziland, Sweden, and Switzerland all gave funds to the CHAI during Clinton's time at the State Department.
Further, Reuters discovered that the CHAI failed to report its annual list of donors beginning in 2010 — a breach of the agreement.
The RNC now wants some answers.
"It is clear that the MOU between the Clinton Foundation and the Obama-Biden Transition Team failed to alleviate conflicts of interest, and at times was blatantly ignored," the letter reads. "These breaches raise serious questions about the handling and enforcement of the MOU."
Priebus then listed several of those "serious questions," including:
"At what point did the Administration become aware that the MOU and the process of vetting Clinton Foundation donors were flawed?"
"What did the White House do, if anything, to mitigate issues with the Clinton Foundation's donors?"
"Were White House officials aware that CHAI's donor lists were not being disclosed annually?"
"Were foreign governments that contributed to the Clinton Foundation given special treatment or consideration by the White House?"
"If the White House had been aware of the violations, would the Clinton Foundation or Secretary Clinton have been reprimanded in some fashion for their actions?"
Priebus then asked for a response in writing to each of the eight questions posed in the letter.
"The MOU was billed to the public and Congress as a pledge toward transparency and the avoidance of conflicts of interest," the letter reads. "The American people deserve to know whether it was nothing more than a memorandum between parties that had no real interest in either of these goals. I look forward to your response."
The situation regarding the Clinton Foundation's acceptance of donations from foreign governments is one of two issues casting a dark cloud over Clinton as she prepares to announce her presidential plans. The other is an email scandal
stemming from the use of a private email address and home-based server during her time as secretary of state.
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