US Elections 2016

More scrutiny over e-mails and charity's ties

US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with host Jimmy Kimmel on the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday. She taped the appearance while in southern California to attend fund-raisers. The Clinton Foundation announced last week that it will
US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with host Jimmy Kimmel on the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday. She taped the appearance while in southern California to attend fund-raisers. The Clinton Foundation announced last week that it will stop accepting contributions from corporations and foreign entities, including governments, if she is elected president.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Clinton faces fresh accusations of conflicts of interest and release of 15,000 more e-mails

WASHINGTON • Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been confronted by a new round of questions about potential conflicts of interest between her family's foundation and her work at the State Department, as well as the prospect that more e-mails from her private account will be released right up to the November election.

Separate lawsuits brought by the conservative group Judicial Watch spurred the release on Monday of previously undisclosed e-mail exchanges between a former Clinton Foundation executive and top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, as well as an order from a federal judge that the State Department expedite its review of almost 15,000 previously undisclosed documents that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recovered from Mrs Clinton's private e-mail servers.

Her use of a private e-mail system while she was secretary of state, and the Clinton Foundation's ties to governments and corporations doing business with the United States have become a main line of attack by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who on Monday called for the Clinton charity to shut down and urged the appointment of a special prosecutor "immediately".

The e-mail controversy has already triggered an FBI probe that found Mrs Clinton was "extremely careless" with sensitive information by using a private server but recommended against bringing charges.

The continued trickle of disclosures virtually ensures Mrs Clinton's private e-mail use as the top US diplomat and her family foundation's ties will dog her until the Nov 8 election.

NOT WORRIED

My e-mails are so boring. We've already released 30,000 plus. So what's a few more?

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE HILLARY CLINTON, on the e-mail controversy.


OUTRAGED

As the evidence has become public over the last several months, I've become increasingly shocked by the vast scope of Hillary Clinton's criminality.

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE DONALD TRUMP

But Mrs Clinton claims she is not worried. "My e-mails are so boring," she said during an appearance on ABC. "We've already released 30,000 plus. So what's a few more?"

But the Clintons also have recognised the potential political and ethical dilemmas posed by their foundation. The foundation, established after former president Bill Clinton left office, announced last week that it will stop accepting contributions from corporations and foreign entities, including governments, if Mrs Clinton is elected president. Mr Clinton also said on Monday that he would leave the foundation's board and no longer raise funds.

A Bloomberg poll released on Aug 10 found that 58 per cent of likely voters said they were troubled "a lot" by Mrs Clinton's handling of her private e-mails, and 53 per cent said they felt the same about the Clinton Foundation's acceptance of money from foreign governments while she was secretary of state.

Mr Trump and other Republicans have seized on Mrs Clinton's e- mails and the foundation to question her trustworthiness. On Monday night in Ohio, a crucial electoral battleground state, Mr Trump accused Mrs Clinton of conspiring to use favours from the State Department to extract donations for the foundation. "As the evidence has become public over the last several months, I've become increasingly shocked by the vast scope of Hillary Clinton's criminality," he said.

Among e-mails obtained by Judicial Watch under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and released on Monday, one exchange showed an executive with the Clinton Foundation asking Ms Abedin on June 23, 2009, to schedule time with the then secretary of state for Crown Prince Salman Al Khalifa of Bahrain, whom he described as a "good friend of ours".

Although a meeting between the two would hardly be unusual, the exchange illustrates the web of ties between the foundation and those interested in influencing the US government.

A 2005 commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative by the Crown Prince's International Scholarship Programme for the education of "select Bahraini students" had "already significantly exceeded the US$32 million (S$43 million) original target", according to the foundation's website in 2010.

"These new e-mails confirm that Hillary Clinton abused her office by selling favours to Clinton Foundation donors," Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement.

The Clinton campaign said the former secretary of state took no actions based on donations to her family's foundation.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2016, with the headline 'More scrutiny over e-mails and charity's ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe