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Young Politics May 2015

Do you believe the Clinton Foundation accepting donations from foreign governments or company executives while Ms. Clinton was Secretary of State is a conflict of interest? 

WVM Photo Columnist Danielle Secor 1x1Danielle Secor – NY, Seton Hall University 2015 Graduate, Working on Masters Degree, Bio –  Donations to a political candidate or a foundation closely tied to a political candidate before they run for office are not illegal, although sometimes they are questionable. People can assume the money given to the Clinton Foundation was in some way tied to the fact she was Secretary of State or the fact she is currently running for President. Or, they can look at the facts provided to see there is no trace of misuse of the money donated to the Clinton Foundation from all around the world.

The Clinton Foundation should be allowed to continue their philanthropic work but, in order to protect herself, Hillary should make sure no questionable donations are made and possibly further herself from the organization throughout her campaign.

No matter how the money is being used, I think this will be cause for a lot of debate as she is running for President, and it will provide Hillary with a difficult hurtle to overcome.

In general, political candidates should refrain from accepting large donations in any form, especially from foreign countries to prevent a conflict of interest and an ethical dispute.

Despite all of this, there is no question it was wrong to accept a donation from the Algerian government, when it violated an ethics agreement with the Obama Administration during her time as Secretary of State.

Although the intentions of the Clintons may not have been negative, these actions will make it hard for Hillary to make a credible foreign policy argument in her Presidential Campaign.

WVM Photo columnist Paul Bremmer crop 2x2 YOUNGPOLITICSPaul Bremmer – Wash D.C., St. Bonaventure University 2012 Graduate, BioThe main responsibility of the Secretary of State is to negotiate with foreign governments on behalf of the United States. If any foreign government is pumping money into the secretary’s family foundation, you can bet the secretary is more likely to treat that country favorably, even if preferential treatment is not warranted. This is why Hillary Clinton was caught in a conflict of interest when the Clinton Foundation accepted donations from foreign governments while she was Secretary of State.

The Obama administration apparently foresaw such a conflict, because they made Mrs. Clinton sign an ethics agreement in 2008, before she became secretary of State. Unfortunately, the agreement included exceptions that allowed nations that had previously donated money to the Clinton Foundation to continue doing so at similar levels.

Regardless of what the Obama administration was prepared to allow, it was inappropriate for the Clinton Foundation to accept foreign donations at that time. We don’t allow foreign governments to donate money to American political, because we want to protect the candidates from foreign influence. Why should it be any different for appointed public officials, especially ones who deal with foreign powers on a regular basis?

Money has a funny way of corrupting people. As secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton was charged with standing up for the best interests of the United States on the world stage. It seems entirely reasonable that a timely donation of several hundred thousand dollars to the Clinton Foundation could fill her with gratitude and make her forget about America’s best interests, granting the donating country whatever it wished.

That may have been what happened. In 2010, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation at a time when Algeria was lobbying the State Department on human rights issues. There was actually an increase in the number of meetings between the State Department and Algerian lobbyists that year. And, Algeria has a poor human rights record. That situation does not make Mrs. Clinton or the United States look good at all.

We should demand the highest standards of integrity from our public officials, even the unelected ones. Part of that is not allowing money to influence decisions that should be made in the nation’s interest.

Arianna Mendez Profile Phot cropo

Arianna Mendez – FL, Florida International University 2014 Masters Degree, Bio – According to a recent New York Times report, the Clinton Foundation failed to disclose millions in foreign donations in their tax documents. The Clinton Foundation tax filings reported they had ceased taking donations from foreign governments when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, but this was not true. This revelation has prompted the Clinton Foundation to re-file at least five year’s worth of tax returns.

These undisclosed donations were in violation of the “memorandum of understanding” the Clinton Foundation signed with the Obama White House back in 2008 as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State. Clinton made the pledge to publish all donors on an annual basis to ease concerns that as Secretary of State she could be vulnerable to foreign influence.

The undisclosed donations are said to be related to troubling transactions in which (a) the Russian government obtained the rights to a large portion of U.S. uranium interests, (b) investors and magnates connected to this uranium deal profited handsomely, (c) the Clinton Foundation pocketed millions, and (d) Hillary Clinton signed off on the deal as Secretary of State.

Political opponents and transparency groups have recently criticized Clinton for her decision first to use a private email address while she was Secretary of State and then delete thousands of emails she labeled private.

Now as Hillary Clinton continues her presidential bid, the donor controversy combined with the lingering issues with Benghazi and the email fiasco are raising questions about the Clintons’ commitment to transparency. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, secrecy will be a trademark in the second Clinton White House.

WVM Photo Columnist Nana O crop 2x2 YoungPoliticsNana Osei – SC, College of Charleston Student, Bio –  The Clinton Foundation accepting donations from foreign governments or company executives while Ms. Clinton was Secretary of State is a conflict of interests. It should not have occurred as it is a contrast in Ms. Clinton’s personal matters with her job. The Secretary of State is appointed by the President to be the principal adviser on United States foreign policy. They also conduct negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs.

The Clinton Foundation accepting donations by foreign parties can be viewed as a bribe or strategy by foreigners to gain closer ties with the United States. This conflict of interest is significantly relevant as companies would donate vast amount of money towards her foundation which would then ensure Hillary was in their favor.

Having the Secretary of State restricted by foreign powers is extremely dangerous and can lead to the president being influenced in a negative way. Foreign governments and companies that do donate to the Clinton Foundation can have Ms. Clinton in a strangle hold, leading her to make a decision based on her personal gain instead of for the country. Ms. Clinton might not have been involved with these corrupt actions; however, the possibility of a problem such as that occurring should be monitored.

A person such as Hillary Clinton should not have been allowed to accept donations from foreign government or company executives while acting as Secretary of State. There are far too many close ties between foreign investors and government issues that can conflict. Citizens of America would be outraged if the Secretary of State was caught using their power in foreign affairs for personal gain.

The Secretary of State is also a position chosen by the President and not elected by citizens. Hillary Clinton was appointed by Barack Obama to be the Secretary of State in 2009. When she was appointed to this position, the Clinton Foundation should have stopped accepting all foreign donations, for it could serve as conflict of interests to the United States of America’s executive branch.

 

WVM June 2015 YoungPolitics IMAGEPhoto Credit –  TV Guide