Tag Archives: Disclosure

Clinton Foundation Admits It Made Mistakes On Tax Returns, Disclosing Donors

On Sunday, Maura Pally, the acting chief executive of the Clinton Foundation, acknowledged that the organization “made mistakes,” in its disclosure of which foreign donors contributed to the Foundation, and on some of its tax forms, where government grants were combined with other donations.

In a blog post, Pally noted, “many questions have been raised about the Clinton Foundation, its initiatives, and the financial support” the organization has received that allows it to carry out its “uniquely impactful philanthropic work.”

Pally claimed that as the Foundation has grown, its commitment to transparency has also grown, and that when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, it “took unprecedented steps to avoid potential conflicts of interest by going above and beyond what is required of any philanthropy” by creating an annual disclosure of all of the organization’s donors on its website.

Some of those questions were raised by Peter Schweizer, the author of “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” While the book won’t be released until May 5, it is expected to provide insight into the influence of foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation had on US foreign policy during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.

We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds,” Schweizer wrote.

Speculation concerning the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), an alliance between the Clintons and Canadian investor Frank Giustra recently came to the forefront, after a report from International Business Times claimed that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton overlooked reports of ongoing labor violations, and pledged her support for a free-trade agreement with Columbia in 2011. The report claims that this change occurred after Giustra, who was invested in the oil company Pacific Rubiales and would benefit from the trade agreement, donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.

According to the New York Times, in addition to the $31.3 million Giustra contributed to the Foundation after securing a major uranium mining deal in Kazakhstan, Giustra pledged to donate $100 million, which secured his spot in Clinton’s “inner circle.”

Pally noted that while the CGEP is a publicly listed donor on the Foundation’s website, because it is a “distinct Canadian organization, separate from the Clinton Foundation,” its individual donors are “not listed on the site.” She claimed that this is “hardly an effort” to avoid transparency, and said that under Canadian law, “all charities are prohibited from disclosing individual donors without prior permission from each donor.”

Pally also addressed questions about the Foundation’s 990 tax forms, and said that after a “voluntary external review is completed,” they will likely “refile forms for some years,” not because of a failure to accurately report their total revenue, but because “government grants were mistakenly combined with other donations.”

So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don’t happen in the future,” Pally wrote. “We are committed to operating the Foundation responsibly and effectively to continue the life-changing work that this philanthropy is doing every day.”

Secret Trade in Services Agreement draft has been leaked

A draft of the secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)  Financial Services Annex has been released by WikiLeaks today in a press release.

In an anti-transparency feat, the draft is meant to remain private during the negotiations which started in April 2013, and are set to commence for a seventh round of talks from June 23-27 in Geneva, Switzerland.  An amendment is also in place within the Agreement to keep it a secret for five years after its inception if it does pass.

According to the draft, financial multi-nationals would be assisted in expansion to other nations with no interference from regulatory barriers, resulting in cross-border data flow between other government entities and third-parties.

Cross-border data flow includes financial reports and personal data from citizens and corporations alike, of which the report says the U.S. is “particularly keen on boosting.”

This would allow for the dissemination of citizen’s financial and personal data not only across their own government, but across the governments of all other members included in the Agreement.

Preventative regulations to stop such actions were set in place after the financial collapse and crisis from 2007-2008.

TISA is being set up outside of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), but when the draft is finished, the report says the agreement will be “crafted to be compatible” with any GATS regulations set in place.

GATS was set up, according to the World Trade Organization, to ensure “fair and equitable treatment of all participants,” and “promoting trade… through progressive liberalization.”  GATS also calls for members to publish all measures of general application and to present transparency in terms of their policies.

If TISA were to be passed, the Agreement would not be in violation of any of the measures set in place by GATS.

The Agreement would also allow nations already signed on to be able to bully and pressure other nations into signing the Agreement, forfeiting their internal data to the other nations in the process.

TISA covers over fifty countries including major world and financial leaders such as the United States and all members of the EU, while also covering many financially weaker countries such as Colombia and Pakistan.

The BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, are all absent from the draft and subsequent agreements.  This may be an attempt to soften the financial stability and bargaining power of such countries in future services negotiations.