HITTING THE LOTTERY: Clinton Foundation Cashed in as Sweden Lobbied Hillary Against Iran Sanctions

Bill Clinton was the strictest president in modern political times when it comes to immigration, signing bills cracking down on both legal and illegal immigrants — but it’s unlikely that record will infect his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

By John Solomon and Kelly RiddellThe Washington Times – Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bill Clinton’s foundation set up a fundraising arm in Sweden that collected $26 million in donations at the same time that country was lobbying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department to forgo sanctions that threatened its thriving business with Iran, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Times.

The Swedish entity, called the William J. Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse, was never disclosed to or cleared by State Department ethics officials, even though one of its largest sources of donations was a Swedish government-sanctioned lottery.

As the money flowed to the foundation from Sweden, Mrs. Clinton’s team in Washington declined to blacklist any Swedish firms despite warnings from career officials at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm that Sweden was growing its economic ties with Iran and potentially undercutting Western efforts to end Tehran’s rogue nuclear program, diplomatic cables show.

Sweden does not support implementing tighter financial sanctions on Iran” and believes “more stringent financial standards could hurt Swedish exports,” one such cable from 2009 alerted Mrs. Clinton’s office in Washington.

Separately, U.S. intelligence was reporting that Sweden’s second-largest employer, telecommunications giant Ericsson AB, was pitching cellphone tracking technology to Iran that could be used by the country’s security services, officials told The Times.

By the time Mrs. Clinton left office in 2013, the Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse had collected millions of dollars inside Sweden for his global charitable efforts and Mr. Clinton personally pocketed a record $750,000 speech fee from Ericsson, one of the firms at the center of the sanctions debate.

Mr. Clinton’s Swedish fundraising shell escaped public notice, both because its incorporation papers were filed in Stockholm — some 4,200 miles from America’s shores — and the identities of its donors were lumped by Mr. Clinton’s team into the disclosure reports of his U.S.-based charity, blurring the lines between what were two separate organizations incorporated under two different countries’ laws.

The foundation told The Times through a spokesman that the Swedish entity was set up primarily to collect donations from popular lotteries in that country, that the money went to charitable causes like fighting climate change, AIDS in Africa and cholera in Haiti, and that all of the Swedish donors were accounted for on the rolls publicly released by the U.S. charity.

The foundation, however, declined repeated requests to identify the names of the specific donors that passed through the Swedish arm.

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign declined comment.

When Mrs. Clinton became President Obama’s secretary of state in 2009, she vowed to set up a transparent review system that would ensure any of her husband’s fundraising or lucrative speaking activities were reviewed for possible ties to foreign countries doing business with her agency, insisting she wanted to eliminate even the “appearance” of conflicts of interests.

But there is growing evidence that the Clintons did not run certain financial activities involving foreign entities by the State Department, such as the Swedish fundraising arm and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative based in Canada, or disclose on her annual ethics form the existence of a limited liability corporation that Mr. Clinton set up for his personal consulting work.

The ethics agreement the Clintons signed in 2009 with the State Department stated that if a foreign government chose to “elect to increase materially its commitment, or should a new contributor country elect to support” Mr. Clinton’s charitable causes, “the Foundation will share such countries and the circumstances of the anticipated contribution with the State Department designated agency ethics official for review.”

The foundation spokesman said Mr. Clinton’s team had nothing to hide about the Swedish entity and set it up solely to take advantage of changes in Swedish law in 2011 that allowed some of the country’s lucrative lotteries to direct their charitable giving to the American-basedClinton Foundation.

The spokesman said Mr. Clinton’s team believed the Nationale Postcode Loterij and the Swedish Postcode Lottery, two of the biggest contributors to the Swedish fundraising arm, were privately owned and unrelated to the Swedish government.

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