By Ben Kamisar
The Clinton Foundation reportedly accepted millions of dollars from a Colombian oil company head before then-Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonHispanic Caucus PAC looks to flex its muscles in 2016 LGBT activist Edie Windsor endorses Clinton Clinton ad paints Trump as greedy for Brexit response MORE decided to support a trade deal with Colombia despite worries of human rights violations.
The report centers on donations from Frank Giustra and the oil company that he founded, Pacific Rubiales. In a Wall Street Journal story from 2008, Giustra is described as a “friend and traveling companion” of former President Clinton who donated more than $130 million to Clinton’s philanthropies. He’s also a Clinton Foundation board member and has participated in projects and benefits for the foundation.
When workers at Pacific Rubiales decided to strike in 2011, the Columbian military reportedly used force to stop the strikes and compel them to return to work, IBT reports, citing the Washington office of Latin America, a human rights group. Those accusations of human rights violations were part of the criticism of the United States-Colombia Free Trade Promotion Agreement, which was passed by Congress later that year. Pacific Rubiales has repeatedly denied charges that it infringed on workers’ rights.
On the campaign trail in 2008, Hillary Clinton, along with then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, opposed the deal as a raw deal for workers, according to IBT. The pair changed their tune after the election and publicly supported the trade agreement. As secretary of State, Clinton’s State Department certified annually that Colombia was “meeting statutory criteria related to human rights.”
The deal had originally been negotiated by the administration of former President George W. Bush, and the Obama administration won changes on labor and environmental issues not included in the original deal.
Just months after Congress approved the agreement, IBT reported, Giustra helped raise $1 million for the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, supported by Pacific Rubiales.