Hillary Clinton's State Department approved billions in commercial weapons deals to 20 foreign governments, some openly criticized by the U.S. for their poor human rights records, who had at some point given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to a new report by the International Business Times.
"Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation," which was "nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush's second term," IBT reports.
The investigation also found that the Clinton-led State Department authorized an additional $151 billion in Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 countries that donated to a Clinton family charity, "resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration."
Six of these countries ruled by authoritarian regimes - Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar - had been openly criticized by the State Department for various human rights abuses, but nonetheless, the State Department went through with the arms deals knowing that doing so could be detrimental to people living there.
At least seven foreign nations the State Department approved for arms deals donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was still secretary of state: Algeria, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Thailand, Norway and Australia, according to IBT.
"In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton's State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records," reports IBT.
IBT says that "Bill Clinton took in speaking fees reaching $625,000 at events sponsored by entities that were dealing with Hillary Clinton's State Department on weapons issues."
It appears as if a loophole in U.S. law regarding political contributions allowed much of the money to be legally donated to the Clinton Foundation.
"Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions - a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy," IBT notes. "But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers."
Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, told IBT, "The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation. This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these nonprofits is problematic."