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August 15, 2016

Opinion: Clinton Failed to Maintain 'Ethical Wall' With Foundation

Hillary Clinton did not maintain a proper “ethical wall” between her family foundation and her duties heading the State Department, although it’s an exaggeration to say that Ms. Clinton ran a pay-for-play scheme, according to a The Washington Post editorial. 

Ms. Clinton’s presidential run has been dogged by allegations that she offered big donors to the Clinton Foundation favors and access while she served as secretary of State. A recently released batch of State Department emails from Ms. Clinton’s time at the agency show that aids to Ms. Clinton were contacted by Douglas Band, head of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, to set up a meeting between Ms. Clinton and Gilbert Chagoury, a major donor to foundation. Mr. Chagoury, a Nigerian businessman, said the meeting never took place and that he merely wanted to share information about the political situation in his native Lebanon. But, the Post notes, "offering access, even just for sharing information, is providing a favor."

Huma Abedin, Ms. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the time, "responded encouragingly" to the request, the Post writes. The Clinton campaign said that Mr. Band may have been acting as a personal aid to Bill Clinton and not on behalf of the foundation. But the fact "the Clintons allowed such distinctions to become blurred is part of the problem,” writes the Post.

Despite Republicans' pleas, the Post writes there's little evidence to warrant a criminal investigation into the foundation, although many observers have said that the nonprofit presents many potential conflicts of interest for Ms. Clinton should she be elected president.