Quid Pro Quo, Mr. Clinton?

The New York Times reports today that mining magnate Frank Giustra, a partner-in-philanthropy with Bill Clinton, gave $31.3 million to Clinton’s charity after a visit the two made to Kazakhstan apparently helped Giustra seal a lucrative deal with that country’s uranium monopoly, Kazatomprom.

We reported the newly suspect donation made through Giustra’s Radcliffe Foundation in our brand new profile of the William J. Clinton Foundation (by Deborah Corey Barnes and yours truly) but were not aware at that time of the significance of the timing.

Giustra has also promised to give an additional $100 million to the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI), which is a project of the Clinton Foundation unveiled last year.

Giustra and Clinton deny any wrongdoing, but this is the kind of legal and ethical slipperiness that is the modus operandi of Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, so you’d better get used to it.

Federal law does not require nonprofit charities to disclose the identities of their contributors, and that applies to presidential foundations. Donors, including corporations and foreign governments, may give unlimited amounts of money-even while a president is in office-to the presidential library foundation.

The New York Times also revealed in December that in the closing years of the Clinton administration at least 97 donors donated or pledged a total of $69 million for the library. Although some of the $1 million donors were longstanding friends of the Clintons, others were pushing the Clinton administration for policy changes. Two donors pledged $1 million each while they or their companies were undergoing Justice Department probes.

Critics point out that those supporters may want something more than a discount at the Clinton Library gift shop. Bill Clinton has promised to disclose the names of future donors to his foundation if his wife becomes president.

How reassuring.

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