Can you feel the sharks starting to swirl around the Clinton Foundation?
It looks like everyone can smell blood in the water.
Will things finally burst wide open?
Here’s the new revelation out today: new information indicates that the FBI was made aware of wrongdoing on the part of the foundation in 2017!
That information suggests the Clinton Foundation may be liable for criminal actions, back-taxes and much more!
A House subcommittee investigation has recently been launched as well.
SIGN THE PETITION:
When a House subcommittee chairman bangs his gavel next week to convene an unprecedented investigative hearing into the Clinton Foundation, two questions will linger as preeminent: Is the Clinton family charity really the international do-gooder that earned a perfect four-star rating from Charity Navigator, or does it suffer from corruption and illegalities as conservatives allege? And if it is the latter, how much evidence of wrongdoing does the government possess?
The answer to the first question is that the foundation and its projects reported collecting about $2.5 billion to help global crises, from AIDS to earthquakes, even as its own auditors, lawyers and employees privately warned of problems over the years.
The answer to the second question may reside in 6,000 pages of evidence attached to a whistleblower submission filed secretly more than a year ago with the IRS and FBI.
That evidence was assembled by a private firm called MDA Analytics LLC, run by accomplished ex-federal criminal investigators, who alleged the Clinton Foundation engaged in illegal activities and may be liable for millions of dollars in delinquent taxes and penalties.
In addition to the IRS, the firm’s partners have had contact with prosecutors in the main Justice Department in Washington and FBI agents in Little Rock, Ark. And last week, a federal prosecutor suddenly asked for documents from their private investigation.
The 48-page submission, dated Aug. 11, 2017, supports its claims with 95 exhibits, including internal legal reviews that the foundation conducted on itself in 2008 and 2011.
Those reviews flagged serious concerns about legal compliance, improper commingling of personal and charity business and “quid pro quo” promises made to donors while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State.
The submission also cites an interview its investigators conducted with Andrew Kessel that quotes the foundation’s longtime chief financial officer as saying he was unable to stop former President Clinton from “commingling” personal business and charitable activities inside the foundation and that he “knows where all the bodies are buried.”
“There is probable cause that the Clinton Foundation has run afoul of IRS rules regarding tax-exempt charitable organizations and has acted inconsistently with its stated purpose,” MDA Analytics alleged in its submission. “The Foundation should be investigated for all of the above-mentioned improprieties. The tax rules, codes, statutes and the rule of law should and must be applied in this case.”
Current and former Clinton Foundation sources confirm that CFO Kessel met with MDA investigators in late 2016 and subsequently was interviewed by FBI agents in 2017. But they insist he did not implicate former President Clinton or the foundation in any illegality.
They also acknowledge that the internal reviews cited in the submission were authentic and did in fact flag issues that the foundation has tried to address, including major governance changes made public in 2013.
“The Clinton Foundation has been one of the most heavily scrutinized charitable organizations in the world, and subjected to outrageous, politically motivated allegations that have been proven false time and time again,” the foundation said in a statement. “Critics continue to resurrect these false claims to try to damage the reputation of the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation. The fact is, the Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world, while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process.”
MDA’s partners include experts whose work ranged from compliance by private Wall Street firms to Drug Enforcement Administration money-laundering investigations, terrorism-financing probes and U.S. attorney prosecutions. They specifically created the firm to investigate 501c3 charities. The firm wasn’t hired by clients but, rather, conducted its research on the Clinton Foundation at its own expense with the hope that its whistleblower submission might result in a government reward if the IRS substantiated wrongdoing and recovered tax dollars.
The IRS sent multiple letters in 2017 and 2018 to MDA Analytics, confirming it had received the submission and it was “still open and under active investigation.” But, shortly before last month’s election, the agency sent a preliminary denial letter indicating it did not pursue the allegations for reasons that ranged from a lack of resources to possible expiration of the statute of limitations on some allegations.
I asked a half-dozen former federal investigators to review the submission and key evidence; all said the firm’s analysis of tax-exempt compliance issues would not be that useful to federal agencies that have their own legal experts for that. But they stressed the evidence of potential criminality was strong and warranted opening an FBI or IRS probe.
“It is a very good roadmap for investigation,” said retired FBI supervisory agent Jeffrey Danik, a prior practicing certified public accountant who helped the bureau make some of its most complex financial fraud and terrorism cases during a 29-year career.
“When you have the organization’s own lawyers using words like ‘quid pro quo,’ ‘conflicts of interest’ and ‘whistleblower protections,’ you have enough to get permission to start interviewing and asking questions,” he said.
Danik said the only investigative challenge is that some documents assembled by the private investigators are marked as attorney-client privileged and federal agents might need special permission to use them.
“Given that [special counsel Robert] Mueller got the OK to investigate Michael Cohen and his attorney-client communications with President Trump, I imagine that hurdle could be overcome under the crime-fraud exception,” he said.
The whistleblower submission’s public emergence comes at a sensitive time, as President Trump has taken to Twitter in recent months to decry a lack of action by his Justice Department against the Clintons.
And a GOP-led congressional subcommittee, led by Rep. Mark Meadows(N.C.), is planning to hold a hearing next week to review the work of John Huber, the special U.S attorney named a year ago to investigate all things Clinton.
And don't forget this report from CNN from earlier this year:
Federal authorities are actively investigating allegations of corruption related to the Clinton Foundation, the charity of Bill and Hillary Clinton, according to a US official briefed on the matter.
The FBI and federal prosecutors are looking into whether donors to the foundation were improperly promised policy favors or special access to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state in exchange for donations to the charity's coffers, as well as whether tax-exempt funds were misused, the official said.
The investigation, led by the FBI field office in Little Rock, Arkansas, is being overseen by the US attorney's office in the state, according to the source.
The inquiry was first reported by the The Hill, which cited law enforcement sources and a witness who was interviewed.
It's unclear precisely what, if any, new evidence ignited the current federal investigation, after initial inquiries had stalled prior to the 2016 election.
The Justice Department declined to comment to CNN, citing a general policy of not confirming or denying the existence of active investigations. The US attorney's office in Arkansas declined to comment.
A representative for the foundation dismissed the substance of the allegations as unfounded.
"Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false," Craig Minassian said in a statement to CNN. "The Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process. There are real issues in our society needing attention that the Clinton Foundation works hard to solve every day. So we're going to stay focused on what really matters."
The current probe of the foundation comes at a sensitive time for the Justice Department under the Trump administration, as President Donald Trump continues to regularly demand investigations of his former political rival while the DOJ has stayed silent.
Some Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have cheered Trump on, while others within the party (and many Democrats) have raised concerns in recent months that Trump is failing to observe customary norms about the independence of the Justice Department when it comes to investigative work, particularly after he said earlier this week that Clinton aide Huma Abedinshould be jailed.
During the campaign, Trump supporter Jeff Sessions, then an Alabama senator and now the attorney general, suggested that Clinton used her high position as secretary of state to "extort" international governments for her family's foundation.
"The fundamental thing is you can not be secretary of state of the United States of America and use that position to extort or seek contributions to your private foundation," he told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day" in 2016. "That is a fundamental violation of law and that does appear to have happened."
At that time, a Clinton spokesman denied the allegations of corruption.
"The fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation," campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin said.
Yet the current inquiry into the Clinton Foundation is, at least in part, a continuation of a probe that originated before the 2016 presidential election.
CNN reported in November 2016that FBI agents had opened preliminary inquiries into whether there had been any impropriety in the foundation's dealings with donors, causing tensions within the bureau and the Justice Department.
During the Obama administration, criminal division leaders at the FBI met with the Justice Department's public integrity section to discuss whether to move forward on full-blown investigations of the foundation, including the ability to subpoena records.
While at the time Justice officials determined there wasn't sufficient evidence to proceed, they agreed with the FBI that agents be allowed to continue their work with the option to pursue more actively if they found additional evidence. There were also concerns within the Justice Department about the close proximity to the election, CNN reported at the time.