Alexander: The Clinton Foundation swore off donations from foreign governments when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. That didn’t stop the foundation from raising millions of dollars from foreigners with connections to their home governments, a review of foundation disclosures shows.
Some donors have direct ties to foreign governments. One is a member of the Saudi royal family. Another is a Ukrainian oligarch and former parliamentarian. Others are individuals with close connections to foreign governments that stem from their business activities. Their professed policy interests range from human rights to U.S.-Cuba relations.
All told, more than a dozen foreign individuals and their foundations and companies were large donors to the Clinton Foundation in the years after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, collectively giving between $34 million and $68 million, foundation records show. Some donors also provided funding directly to charitable projects sponsored by the foundation, valued by the organization at $60 million.
Between 2009 and 2013, including when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, according to that foundation, which is based in Kiev, Ukraine. It was created by Mr. Pinchuk, whose fortune stems from a pipe-making company. He served two terms as an elected member of the Ukrainian Parliament and is a proponent of closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union.
Mr. Pinchuk and his wife—the daughter of former Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma—began donating to Clinton charities in 2006 after being introduced to Mr. Clinton byDoug Schoen, a pollster who has worked for both Clintons.
In 2008, Mr. Pinchuk made a five-year, $29 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a wing of the foundation that coordinates charitable projects and funding for them but doesn’t handle the money. The pledge was to fund a program to train future Ukrainian leaders and professionals “to modernize Ukraine,” according to the Clinton Foundation. Several alumni are current members of the Ukrainian Parliament. Actual donations so far amount to only $1.8 million, a Pinchuk foundation spokesman said, citing the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.
During Mrs. Clinton’s time at the State Department, Mr. Schoen, the pollster, registered as a lobbyist for Mr. Pinchuk, federal records show. Mr. Schoen said he and Mr. Pinchuk met several times with Clinton aides including Melanne Verveer, a Ukrainian-American and then a State Department ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. The purpose, Mr. Schoen said, was to encourage the U.S. to pressure Ukraine’s then-PresidentViktor Yanukovych to free his jailed predecessor, Yulia Tymoshenko.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to the U.S. and member of the Saudi royal family who has attended annual meetings of the Clinton Global Initiative, made donations in 2013 and 2014, though exact dates aren’t available. Prince Turki met Bill Clinton decades ago when both were students at Georgetown University’s foreign-service school. Prince Turki’s chief of staff didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.
Another donor, Sheikh Mohammed H. Al Amoudi, an Ethiopian immigrant to Saudi Arabia, has donated between $5 million and $10 million, including while Mrs. Clinton served in the State Department. Mr. Al Amoudi has built an empire of construction, agricultural and energy companies across Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. He also has endowed a breast-cancer institute at the government-run King Abdulaziz University and is a participant in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Food Security Program.
His U.S. lawyer, George Salem, said his client “is a private Saudi citizen, and not a government official in Saudi Arabia.” He said there was “nothing inappropriate” about the donation, which was to fight AIDS in Ethiopia.
Among the other overseas givers:
• Joachim Schoss, a German investor who has met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other government officials to discuss Internet policy, has given between $1 million and $5 million, some of which came during Mrs. Clinton tenure at the State Department. A spokeswoman for Mr. Schoss said his donations were “purely philanthropic” and unrelated to politics.
• Venezuelan media mogul Gustavo Cisneros, who is active in Venezuelan politics and has long advocated restoring ties between the U.S. and Cuba, has given the foundation between $500,000 and $1 million, some during Mrs. Clinton’s stint at the State Department. He owns Venevisión, one of Venezuela’s largest television networks, once a staunch opponent of former President Hugo Chávez. Since Mr. Chávez’s death in 2013, Mr. Cisneros has maintained ties to the new president, Nicolás Maduro. A spokesman for Mr. Cisneros didn't respond to a request for comment.
• Victor Dahdaleh, a London businessman whose foundation contributed between $1 million and $5 million, has ties to Bahrain’s state-owned aluminum company. He was the intermediary between the state-owned Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C. and Alcoa World Alumina, which is majority owned by Alcoa Inc. Last year, he was acquitted in London on charges of bribing Bahraini officials to secure contracts for the Alcoa firm. In the U.S., the Alcoa affiliate pleaded guilty last year to corruption charges, and the Justice Department said an investigation into the matter remains open.
• Rilin Enterprises, part of a privately held Chinese construction, infrastructure and port-management company, made a $2 million foundation pledge. The company was founded and is run by Wang Wenliang, a member of the National People’s Congress, China’s formal parliamentary body. Mr. Wang didn’t respond to a request to speak with him during the annual meeting earlier this month.
• Mr. Wang is the former municipal official of Dandong, a city of 2.4 million in the Liaoning province on China’s border with North Korea. His company now controls that city’s port, a major trade route into North Korea.