Why Did Congo Offer Clinton $650,000 For Two Pics And A Speech? – Forbes

Richard Miniter

Congo, one of the poorest nations on Earth, offered former President Bill Clinton a speaking fee of $650,000–a sum equal to annual per-capita income of 2,813 Congolese. Indeed, the International Monetary Fund ranks the Democratic Republic of the Congo dead last in its global income rankings. What did it expect in return for its investment?
In the proposed 2012 contract, the organizers expected a speech and at least one photograph each with the leaders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Congo, which appeared to be splitting the princely honorarium. (Since there are two nations known as Congo, in this article, unless otherwise specified, I am referring to the Democratic Republic of the Congo whenever I write “Congo” alone.) That doesn’t seem like much of a return, two snaps and a chat. So the question is: What else did Congo want for its money?
Congo’s extraordinary offer to Clinton first surfaced in a batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails released this past August, where it won little attention at the time. Newly leaked documents, known as the “Panama papers,” shed new light on the mystery as well as the misdoings of Congo’s corrupt rulers.
While Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, America’s top official dealing with foreign leaders, former President Bill Clinton travelled the world giving speeches to world leaders and overseas interests–earning at least $48 million while his wife was America’s top diplomat. Why weren’t the payments to one Clinton not considered a bribe to the other Clinton?
Precisely to prevent this perception, the State department had to vet all of the international speeches of the former president. Thus, the foreign policy director at the Clinton Foundation, Amitabh Desai, emailed Clinton’s request to accept the $650,000 to a State department official, writing “WJC [William Jefferson Clinton] wants know what state thinks of it if he took it 100% for the foundation.”
This is a favorite camouflage of the Clintons. The money was destined for the non-profit Clinton Foundation, which is controlled by the Clintons and their daughter, where it would be used for healthcare, schooling and other good works. Using money to help your fellow man isn’t self-enrichment, they say. True, but beside the point. Giving money to charity doesn’t address whether that money was received as a bribe. To answer that key question, one would have to know what foreign leaders wanted in exchange for their donations. After all, Congolese leaders aren’t worried about charitable deductions on their U.S. tax forms. So why did they proffer so much of their poor country’s money?
Apparently Foggy Bottom nixed Clinton’s plans to travel to Congo as well as his request to give a paid speech in North Korea. In any event, he didn’t go. But the offer itself is the issue.
What could Congo President Joseph Kabila want? While the possibilities are endless, two seem most likely: he sought U.S. permission to ignore Congo’s constitution and stay in power beyond his two-term limit, which expires in 2016, and he wanted to shield his overseas assets from international investigators.
Bill and Hillary, especially when she was secretary of state, could be helpful on each count, if they wanted to be. Staying in power and keeping billions in shadowy gains would certainly be worth $650,000, if that was the deal that Kabila had in mind.
It is time for the Clintons and their foundation to disclose all of their communications with Kabila and his regime. How was the $650,000 sum arrived at? What did Congo want in return? Did the Clintons offer to provide any help with U.S., UN, EU or other international officials?

Posted by on May 11 2016. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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