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Clinton Foundation accepting money from foreign governments

Countries including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman have collectively contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation, which has dropped a self-imposed ban on donations from foreign governments, The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday.

The foundation’s decision to again begin accepting foreign contributions will likely raise new questions, just as Hillary Clinton prepares for the expected launch of her 2016 White House bid in the coming months. The U.S. prohibits foreign citizens from donating to American campaigns.  

{mosads}The ban, which prohibited donations not approved by State Department ethics officials, took effect in 2009 after Hillary Clinton became secretary of State.

Former President Bill Clinton agreed to those restrictions at the behest of the Obama administration, which worried about the implications of the foundation raising money while Hillary Clinton was representing the U.S. abroad.

Hillary Clinton joined the renamed Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation in 2013 after leaving the Obama administration. 

The Journal discovered the donations during a search of the foundation’s online database. The donations were voluntarily disclosed by the Clinton group and provided only within ranges.

In 2013, four countries — Norway, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands — donated to the foundation. That number doubled in 2014.

Among last year’s donors was the Canadian government agency pushing for U.S. approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The agency donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton group. The Journal noted that the State Department’s initial environmental impact report came during Clinton’s time as secretary.

The foundation, which reports its donor contributions through last year on its website, has raised $48 million from foreign governments since its founding, according to a Journal tally. 

Several countries have donated toward the foundation’s goal of establishing a $250 million endowment, including the United Arab Emirates (giving $1 million – $5 million), Saudi Arabia ($10 million – $25 million) and Oman ($1 million – $5 million over time), according to the Journal. Germany, Australia, Qatar, Norway, Italy and the Netherlands have also donated. 

A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation told the Journal that the funds were needed for the group’s many charity projects around the world and that all donors went through a tough vetting process. 

Tags Bill Clinton Clinton Foundation Hillary Clinton

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