Following Hillary Clinton’s US presidential election defeat, it has been announced that Australia has cut all official ties with the Clinton Foundation.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced to the joint party room that agreements with the Foundation previously set up by the Rudd-Gillard government had not been renewed.
“[Former Prime Minister Julia] Gillard also donated $300 million of our money to the Clinton-affiliated Global Partnership for Education,” Australian newspaper the Herald Sun wrote in an October article titled, “Why have we donated to Clinton’s foundation?”
The Foundation, set up by the former first family of the United States, has received large amounts in donations from foreign governments, leading many to question whether it was part of a pay-to-play scheme during the former first lady’s tenure as US Secretary of State.
Disparities in the amount of funds given to the Foundation by the Australian government have raised eyebrows.
Reports from the Clinton Foundation list the Commonwealth of Australia and the Australian Agency for International Development as having collectively donated somewhere between $20 to $50 million. The Foundation also has a sister company called the Clinton Health Access Initiative however, which appears to have also received funding from Australian taxpayers.
“Since 2006, Australia has contributed $88 million to [the Clinton Health Access Initiative] and its sister organization, the Clinton Foundation,” Bishop said in a statement on September 22, 2014.
Documents released in July by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provided a different number from both, however, listing 11 separate grants to the Clinton Foundation, and a “China Clinton Foundation” that totaled almost $71 million.
These disparities prompted Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, the vice-chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to bring the issue to the attention of the IRS.
In July, she told the Daily Caller that “reports have shown that the Clinton Foundation has failed to accurately report tens of millions of dollars in foreign government grants, including some while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.”
“This should be troubling to all Americans as it gives the appearance that there could be a pay-to-play arrangement between the Clintons and foreign governments while the interests of the American people were pushed aside. The tax-exempt status of the foundation should be reviewed immediately,” Blackburn said at the time.