Sunday, April 13, 2008

You thought Bill's Colombia ties were bad...

By Edward Copeland

Now comes word that the Clinton Foundation, which Bill and Hillary still would like to keep shrouded in secrecy and which much of their millions in "charitable donations" flowed includes much funding from a firm that has helped China in its crackdown on Tibet. You know, that crackdown that Hillary says is reason enough for Dubya to boycott the Olympics opening ceremonies, though she didn't say a word when her hubby was president and helped steer most favored nation trading status for the communist thugs in Beijing. Why would anyone want this pair back near the levers of power? From The Los Angeles Times:

As Chinese authorities have clamped down on unrest in Tibet and jailed dissidents in advance of the 2008 Olympics, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has taken a strong public stance, calling for restraint in Tibet and urging President Bush to boycott the Olympics opening ceremonies in Beijing.

But her recent stern comments on China's internal crackdown collide with former President Bill Clinton's fundraising relationship with a Chinese Internet company accused of collaborating with the mainland government's censorship of the Web. Last month, the firm, Alibaba Inc., carried a government-issued "most wanted" posting on its Yahoo China homepage, urging viewers to provide information on Tibetan activists suspected of stirring recent riots.

Alibaba, which took over Yahoo's China operation in 2005 as part of a billion-dollar deal with the U.S.-based search engine, arranged for the former president to speak to a conference of Internet executives in Hangzhou in September 2005. Instead of taking his standard speaking fees, which have ranged from $100,000 to $400,000, Clinton accepted an unspecified private donation from Alibaba to his international charity, the William J. Clinton Foundation.

The former president's charity has raised more than $500 million over the last decade and has been lauded for its roles in disaster response, AIDS prevention and Third World medical and poverty relief. But his reliance on influential foreign donors and his foundation's refusal to release its list of donors have led to repeated questions about the sources and transparency of his fundraising -- even as Hillary Clinton has talked on the campaign trail about relying on him as a roving international ambassador if she is elected president.

Foreign contributions to American-based charities are allowed under U.S. law, but political and philanthropy ethics advocates worry that Bill Clinton's reliance on international businesses and foreign governments to finance his worldwide charity campaigns raise issues of potential conflicts of interest if he were to take an active role in his wife's administration.

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