Top Dems Urge GOP to End Partisan, Multi-Year Investigation of Clinton Foundation and Focus on Trump and Whitaker Foundations

Nov 29, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 29, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, sent a letter to Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows regarding a hearing he intends to hold next week on the Clinton Foundation.  The Ranking Members urged Meadows to abandon the partisan attack on the Clinton Foundation and instead address grave new allegations against the foundations of two of the nation’s top current officials:  President Donald Trump and Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

“Unfortunately, this hearing appears to be the latest iteration of the majority’s partisan, multi-year investigation of the Clinton Foundation, which has been based on a series of unsubstantiated allegations and secret witnesses who provide inaccurate information,” the Ranking Members wrote.

On October 22, 2017, former Oversight Committee Member Ron DeSantis publicly claimed he had “explosive” evidence from a “confidential informant” that would demonstrate Secretary Clinton orchestrated a “quid pro quo”—with all nine agencies of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States— to approve the Uranium One deal and direct millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.  Two days later, Chairman Trey Gowdy and Chairman Devin Nunes of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence confirmed that both committees would be investigating the matter.

However, Republicans withheld from Democrats access to their “confidential informant” for months while continuing to make public allegations.  On February 7, 2018—more than three months later—Democratic staffs were finally allowed to interview this individual.  A joint report released by Democratic Members of the Oversight Committee, Intelligence Committee, and Senate Judiciary Committee detailed how this informant’s claims fell apart under scrutiny and failed to support the litany of Republican claims.

Republicans continued their partisan investigation despite the fact that the Washington Post Fact Checker, PolitiFact, and Fox News anchor Shepard Smith debunked these claims.

“If the Subcommittee is truly interested in the integrity of 501(c)(3) charitable organizations and their tax status, its time would be much better spent by ending its partisan, multi-year attack on the Clinton Foundation and focusing instead on the current—and quite serious—allegations against the foundations of President Trump and Acting Attorney General Whitaker,” the Ranking Members wrote.  “If the Subcommittee focuses only on the Clinton Foundation and ignores the grave allegations against President Trump and Mr. Whitaker, its actions will be marred by the perception that they are based on political considerations rather than the pursuit of effective federal policies.”

The Ranking Members asked Meadows to invite the Treasurer of the Trump Foundation and the Chief Financial Officer of FACT if he decides to proceed with the hearing next week.

With respect to the Trump Foundation, just last Friday, a state judge ruled that the New York State Attorney General’s office could proceed with its suit against President Trump for the following reasons:

The allegations focus on ... failure to operate and manage the Foundation in accordance with corporate and statutory rules and their fiduciary obligations, resulting in the misuse of charitable assets and self-dealing.  Petitioner also alleges that charitable assets, primarily consisting of money donated by outside sources, were used to promote Mr. Trump’s properties, purchase personal items, advance Mr. Trump’s presidential election campaign, ... and settle certain personal legal obligations.

The judge concluded that “the petition adequately alleges that the political acts by Mr. Trump and the Campaign are attributable to the Foundation.”

With respect to Acting Attorney General Whitaker’s former organization, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), the New York Times reported earlier this month that Whitaker was paid more than $1.2 million in “dark money” from undisclosed conservative donors, and the Washington Post reported that although FACT is registered as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, it has overwhelmingly targeted Democratic politicians and paid at least $500,000 to the Republican opposition research firm America Rising.

Click here to read today’s letter.

115th Congress