Australian governments of both political persuasions have paid more than $75 million in the past 10 years to arms of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that are now mired in controversy.
The government has not made any formal donation to the Clinton Foundation, but since 2006 it has entered into a series of partnerships with the foundation in which the American presidential candidate’s family outfit acted as a “technical implementing partner” in the delivery of aid programs.
The government still has three active arrangements with the Clinton Health Access Initiative to deliver aid in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam.
Reports in US newspapers The Boston Globe and The Washington Post have accused CHAI of failing to adequately report to the US State Department its revenues from foreign governments.
The question of the money the Clinton Foundation raises from foreign governments became a political issue in the US when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009. It was agreed the Clinton Foundation would notify the State Department of any foreign donations or revenues. This was to ensure there were no conflicts of interest with foreign governments seeking goodwill with the secretary of state by donating money to what was then her husband’s foundation.
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The Boston Globe alleges CHAI did not disclose all its foreign money to the department. It reported that foreign government grants to CHAI had doubled from $US26m in 2010 to $US56m in 2013. A Republican Party website identifies Australia as the single biggest foreign-government source of funds for the Clinton Foundation.
Australian government figures obtained by The Australian show a steady flow of government money to the foundation as a “technical implementing partner” since the 2006-07 financial year.
That year Australian taxpayers spent $6.5m through the Clinton Foundation. This increased to $9m the following year. The peak year so far was 2012-13, with $10.3m going to the foundation.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing or financial impropriety by any Australian agency.
AusAID held CHAI to the same level of scrutiny and accountability as it did all other recipients of Australian aid dollars, and believed CHAI had a good record in bringing HIV testing and other medical services to impoverished communities.
It is not clear why Canberra had to go through an American foundation to deliver aid to Asian countries. There is now every chance the payments will become embroiled in presidential politics.
The FBI, the State Department and congress are investigating why Mrs Clinton used a private email server for official communications during her term as secretary of state, and what may have been in the 30,000 emails she and her staff deleted. She said these were purely private emails.
However, her Republican opponents say there was a conflict of interest in Mr Clinton’s raising money for his foundation from governments and companies who were seeking influence with the US while his wife was secretary of state, and say the deleted emails may confirm this.
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