August 22, 2016
Appearing on Monday's edition of Breitbart News Daily, Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and author of the best-selling book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich (now available in graphic novel format) credited his book's success to "the hunger and desire people have for real information about our political leaders, in this case Hillary Clinton."
SiriusXM host Alex Marlow noted that during a fundraising appearance over the weekend, Clinton "sort of implied that she'd like to shut down Breitbart, if she can."
Schweizer agreed with Marlow that it might be too late for Clinton to save her controversial Clinton Foundation by suppressing dissident news outfits, since even the leftist Huffington Post ran an article over the weekend flatly calling on Clinton to "shut it down." Schweizer said he was somewhat surprised to see the Huffington Post take such a strong position against the Foundation.
"There's been an interesting trajectory, Alex, and you know, because you were right there, in all of this. When Clinton Cash, the book, came out in April of 2015, we did get some mainstream media that covered it, and covered it well. The Washington Post, the New York Times, ABC News, et cetera. But there were vicious, aggressive attacks by Team Clinton, and a lot of their fans in the mainstream media, saying ‘this is ridiculous, the Clinton Foundation is a fantastic charity, you're only going to be hurting people.'" Schweizer recalled.
"Well, we stayed in there. We continued to expose these things, other news outlets did as well. Then it turned, not from defending the Clinton Foundation, but pretending it wasn't there. So you look at the Democrat convention in Philadelphia, not one speaker – Bill, Chelsea, Hillary, anybody else – uttered the words 'Clinton Foundation.' It was as if the institution didn't exist," he noted.
"The emails continued to come out, showing that indeed there were favors being done, pay-to-play being done, and now we've reached the point where outlets like the Huffington Post are saying shut it down. So, if they had had their way at the beginning, the Clinton Foundation would still be in business, and they would still be collecting money, whether Hillary was in the White House or not. But now they've suddenly turned their tune, because the information is out there, and people can evaluate it for what it is," he said.
Marlow noted that Clinton herself said on Friday that she would shut down foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation if she won the presidency, which he estimated would cut off at least half of the Foundation's income stream. "How come it was okay for Hillary Clinton to have the Clinton Foundation accept foreign donations while she was Secretary of State, but now all of a sudden it's not okay if she becomes President?" he asked.
"Well, that's the big question, the $64,000 question – or, in this case, the $150 million a year question, which is basically the budget of the Clinton Foundation," Schweizer laughed. "And they don't really have an answer for that. They're trying to remove it as a political issue in November, and I get it, that's what politicians do, but it does not deal with the core fundamental issue, which is when people are throwing money, particularly foreigners are throwing money at political leaders while you've got political power, you're going to end up doing favors for them. And that's what her tenure as Secretary of State included, in a major way."
He said the Clintons were trying to “change the conversation," but critics shouldn’t let them.
"The core of this is ultimately not the Clinton Foundation," Schweizer said. "It's a question of judgment, and pay-to-play politics, and it's a question of her record as Secretary of State. That doesn't change. If the Foundation disappears completely tomorrow, that does not change. You still had massive pay-to-play when she was Secretary of State, which was really the crown jewel of her resume. That's what everybody looks to to say why she is prepared to be President."
He stressed that this problem "goes beyond just the Clintons," because Clinton Foundation defenders were arguing for "the right to turn on, and to turn off, the foreign money spigot, as we decide."
"My response is, no, I don’t think so. And that’s why this is about more than the Clintons, because if this is not dealt with, in some serious way – and I think it needs to be dealt with, not only in terms of a criminal investigation of the Clintons, but also in terms of legislation. You're going to have political leaders, Republican Democrat, whoever, ten years from now, you're going to have lots of them running a family foundation and taking foreign money. And they're going to put their spouse on a lecture circuit, taking big fat fees from overseas entities. And, you know, when they're attacked or criticized, they're going to use the Clinton defense. They're going to say Bill and Hillary did it, why can't I?" he warned.
"This is about, ultimately, how decisions are going to be made in our country, and is the political class allowed to decide when, and if, they are going to take foreign money. And I think the answer to that is no, they're not allowed to do that. That's why I think there needs to be both a criminal investigation, what the Clintons have done, and I think there needs to be legislation on the Hill that says if you are a Cabinet officer in the federal government, or a leader in Congress, you cannot have a private foundation, and you cannot put your spouse on the lecture circuit, period," Schweizer advised.
He thought it was "too late" for Clinton to do anything with respect to her Foundation that would restore her honesty and credibility, because "I do believe that what took place, during her tenure as Secretary of State, was pay-to-play, that that is criminal behavior, that you are basically trading large sums of money for favors."
"That's why I think there needs to be an independent criminal investigation, a grand jury convened, with somebody that has subpoena power that can look at this without meddling from the Attorney General," he urged.
Furthermore, Schweizer said "there needs to be a complete open audit of the Clinton Foundation."
"Whatever the criminal proceeding decides, the American people need to know precisely who gave them money, and when. I mean, this is part of the problem. They're now saying 'oh, we're going to make this commitment, and we are not going to take foreign money.' Well, Alex, I don't trust them, frankly," he said. "They signed an agreement with Barack Obama in 2008, promising things as well – promising very basic, easy things like, we're gonna have complete transparency on our donors. Well, they didn't honor that."
"They blew off that agreement, that commitment they made to the American people, and to the President. There needs to be an open audit, so people can actually see when money came, and who all the actual donors are. Because absent that, we're basically taking their word for it, and as we saw in the email scandal, they will lie with impunity, and we cannot take their word for anything," Schweizer concluded.
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