Clinton Foundation 'being investigated'

Probe into whether there was pay-to-play politics during Clinton's State Dept tenure

WASHINGTON • The US Justice Department has begun a probe into whether the Clinton Foundation conducted "pay-to-play" politics or other illegal activities during Mrs Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, political journalism newspaper The Hill has reported.

Citing law enforcement officials and a witness, the newspaper and website on Thursday said FBI agents from Little Rock, Arkansas, where the foundation began, had taken the lead in the investigation and interviewed at least one witness in the past month.

Law enforcement officials told The Hill that additional activities were expected in coming weeks.

In response to a request for confirmation, a Justice Department spokesman said the agency did not comment on ongoing investigations.

There was no immediate response to a request for comment by officials at the Clinton Foundation. The organisation previously said there was never any trade in policy decisions for contributions.

Democrats have accused Republicans of launching a spurious investigation of Mrs Clinton, the party's 2016 presidential nominee, to divert attention from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Mr Donald Trump's election campaign and Russia.

The Hill reported that the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the probe was examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favours in return for contributions to their charitable efforts or whether donors promised to make donations in hopes of government outcomes.

The investigation may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets had been converted for personal or political use and whether the foundation complied with tax laws, the Washington-based newspaper cited the officials as saying.

A witness recently interviewed by the FBI told The Hill the agents' questions focused on government decisions and discussions of donations to Clinton entities during the time Mrs Clinton led President Barack Obama's State Department.

Attorney-General Jeff Sessions asked Justice Department prosecutors to decide if a special counsel should be appointed to investigate certain Republican concerns, including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the sale of a uranium company to Russia, according to media reports last November.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2018, with the headline 'Clinton Foundation 'being investigated''. Print Edition | Subscribe