An ethics watchdog group is calling on a federal oversight agency to investigate whether Hillary Clinton used her position at the State Department to provide political favors for donors to her campaigns and family’s foundation.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust’s call for an investigation by the Office of Government Ethics follows reports on Monday that the ongoing FBI probe into Clinton’s private server has expanded to cover Clinton’s activities related to foundation donors.
The foundation said in a statement on Monday that Clinton donors "were regularly granted access to Secretary Clinton or one of her aides to discuss issues before the state department."
"There’s a growing and disturbing narrative surrounding Clinton in the way in which she conducted business at the State Department. Essentially, if someone wanted access to her, they needed to be a significant donor to her political campaigns or to her philanthropic endeavors, the kind of treatment that ordinary Americans would not have," said the foundation’s director, Matthew G. Whitaker. "Providing special access to political and other donors is a blatant violation of ethics rules."
The watchdog group sent a letter to Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, on Friday requesting a "full investigation into these communications and apparent breach of ethics rules, along with a determination of whether any laws were broken."
Whitaker argued that a number of large Clinton Foundation donors, including the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk and the liberal philanthropist George Soros, had special access to Clinton while she was at the State Department.
Peter Schweizer reported numerous examples of Clinton’s alleged favoritism to foundation donors in his 2015 book Clinton Cash. The State Department has also released copies of Clinton’s official emails in recent months, some of which shed light on how her activities as secretary of state may have intersected with the interests of her donors and friends.
Last summer, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Claudio Osorio, a Clinton donor and convicted fraudster, used his relationship with the secretary of state to help leverage a multi-million-dollar loan for a Haiti project from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The project was never completed and Osorio is now serving prison time for scamming investors.
The Daily Caller reported on Monday that Clinton asked aides to try to help a friend, Joe Wilson, navigate the federal contracting arena for Symbion Power, a company he was working for at the time. The company recently denounced Wilson for his lobbying efforts in court filings, claiming that the emails of him reaching out to Clinton on the company’s behalf were an embarrassment when they were publicly released.
On Monday, Fox News reported that the FBI has expanded its probe of Clinton’s email server to the "public corruption track." Federal authorities will reportedly continue to investigate whether classified information was improperly transmitted over Clinton’s email server, but are now also examining potential connections between Clinton Foundation donations and State Department contracts, according to Fox News.