Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thieves, Thugs and Scam Artists: Clinton's Gallery of Dubious Donors

Not only did Bill Clinton accept money from every oily Middle East donor he could find, it appears being a scam artist is some sort of prerequisite in order to be a donor. But good luck getting anyone to ask Mrs. Clinton about this when she appears for the confirmation hearings.
In addition to soliciting donations from oil-rich Arab charities and foreign governments, former president Bill Clinton's $500 million charity, the William J. Clinton Foundation, has collected loot from several companies and individuals tainted by scandal.

William Lerach, a heavyweight donor who contributed up to $250,000, is a former San Diego trial lawyer serving a two-year sentence for his role in a plaintiff kickback scheme. He pleaded guilty in February to paying clients of his firm to file stock-fraud lawsuits.

Bruce Karatz, a donor in the $100,000 to $250,000 range, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with backdating his stock options to boost his pay. The former chairman and CEO of Los Angeles homebuilder KB Home Inc. settled the civil suit last September, agreeing to pay $7.2 million to settle the SEC charges. He did not admit any wrongdoing.

Abbott Laboratories, a controversial pharmaceutical company, donated up to $50,000 to the foundation. Last March, 18 states filed a suit against the company, saying that it was blocking generic versions of its lucrative cholesterol medication tracer.

On the international front, Canadian mining tycoon Victor Dahdaleh, the owner of London-based Dadco Group, donated between $1 million and $5 million to Clinton's fund. He is currently being investigated by the US Department of Justice after being hit with a lawsuit by a Bahrain government metals company alleging bribery and fraud. He denies the accusations.

Frank Lowy, an Australian shopping-mall magnate, contributed up to $100,000 to the foundation from his Westfield Corp. Lowy is being investigated by the IRS for possibly concealing $68 million from tax officials. His lawyer is Robert Bennett, who defended Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Four billionaire brothers who were accused of involvement in the largest bribery scandal in India's history donated up to $100,000 to the Clinton charity through their own family foundation. Criminal charges that the Hinduja family accepted kickbacks from a Swedish arms maker in 1986 were later dropped.
It would probably be easier going through Clinton's list of donors if they simply separated them out into two groups: those who have a conflict of interest or were looking for a pardon and those who are innocent of any wrongdoing, though I suspect the latter group will be a very small one.

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