Bill And Hillary Clinton Foundation Foreign Government Donations Raise Conflict Of Interest Questions

The millions of dollars flowing into Bill and Hillary Clinton's charitable foundation from foreign governments pose a potential conflict of interest for the presumed 2016 Democrat presidential candidate.

Critics claim the massive cashflow opens up the possibility of influence peddling.

It is illegal for any foreign government to make political campaign contributions to a U.S. presidential candidate, but contributions to a charitable organization are another matter.

The Clinton Foundation's money raising efforts from overseas governments were put on hold while Hillary Clinton served as U.S. Secretary of State to avoid any ethical issues, but the spigot is now wide open, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

"The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency. Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline."
The governments of Norway, Italy, the Netherlands, and many others also contributed cash to the foundation in the last year or two.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, the Clinton Foundation has also apparently received about $81 million from seven individual donors via a Swiss bank allegedly used by one-percenters as a tax dodge.

If she runs for president, Hillary Clinton apparently intends to use income inequality as a cornerstone of her effort to win the White House, but there could be a catch given her ties to the super rich.

Hillary Clinton -- who stepped down as Secretary of State in 2013 -- and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have also amassed a personal fortune in the range of $100 million to $200 million, mainly from corporate speechmaking. During her recent, ill-fated book tour, Hillary Clinton nonetheless claimed that the couple was "dead broke" when they left the White House and that currently they aren't "truly well off."

The latest financial revelations about Clinton Foundation global fundraising prompted criticism from both the left and the right in the context of what is often called pay for play, as MSNBC has detailed.

"The Clinton Foundation's relationships with corporations and wealthy donors have been an issue in the past and could come up on the campaign trail if Clinton decides to run for president in 2016. Both liberal Democrats hoping for an alternative to Clinton and Republicans trying to defeat her will likely see the revelations as a confirming some of their worst suspicions about the likely Democratic front runner, whom both camps portray as out of touch and too close to powerful interests. Republicans were quick to seize on the new reports, suggesting that donors were trying to buy access to a potential future president though gifts to the foundation, while even some Democrats expressed unease."
Given the ethical issues involved, the Clinton Foundation now says it will reconsider the policy of accepting donations from foreign governments if Mrs. Clinton officially seeks the national office.

A separate Wall Street Journal piece noted, "At least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during [Clinton's] tenure donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation," including corporate giants such as GE, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and Boeing. "Corporate donations to politically connected charities aren't illegal so long as they aren't in exchange for favors."

As suggested in the clips below, pundits from across the ideological spectrum have questioned the ethics of the Clinton Foundation accepting overseas donations.

[Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]