Bill Clinton Would Take Money From Algeria Again

Algeria has history of embezzling aid funds, poor human rights record

Bill Clinton / AP

The Clinton Foundation admitted that taking a $500,000 donation from Algeria while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state violated the agreement in place that it would not take any foreign donations—but Bill Clinton says he would do it again.

"I’d take the money from Algeria again," said Clinton in an interview with Bloomberg’s Betty Liu on Wednesday. "There are very few countries in the world I would not accept for help to Haiti," the former president added.

The money came as Hillary Clinton’s State Department was conducting a human rights investigation into Algeria, something her husband did not dispute.

"They said, oh, he got $500,000 from Algeria at the very time they were lobbying the State Department in 2010," Clinton said. "Those two facts are accurate, but if you put them back to back they're incredibly misleading."

The State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Report on Algeria found that the northern African republic was putting "restrictions on freedom of assembly and association." It also said that the government tolerated "arbitrary killing" and "widespread corruption."

Nonetheless, the State Department granted Algeria a 70 percent increase in military export authorizations, which included "toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents, and associated equipment" that were not authorized the year before.

When asked last month about the donation from Algeria, a spokesperson at the Clinton Foundation directed the Washington Free Beacon to a "facts" page on its website that describes it as a "one-time" donation from a country that "had not donated to the Clinton Foundation before and has not since."

The foundation says "every penny" went directly towards aid effort in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.

Algeria’s track record on aid money also raises questions about the intentions behind the donation.

A report released this year from the European Union corruption watchdog OLAF found that Algeria was taking aid supplies that were supposed to be given to its large refugee population and selling them on the open market. High-quality aid supplies were diverted at the port and then sold back to the refugee camps.

This activity took place over a long period of time, according to the report. Secret warehouses were built, and goods that were given to Algeria as aid were found being sold in 12 different markets in the areas surrounding the refugee camps.

Furthermore, Algeria was lying to inflate the number of refugees it had in its camps to boost the amount of aid it was receiving. It was also found to be using its prison population to handle the aid and to construct the new facilities to store it.

Clinton also said in his Wednesday interview that in his mind, the money was given to him by Algeria because of his position as United Nations special envoy for Haiti.

"They weren't giving it to me," Clinton said. "They were giving it to the U.N. coordinator as a global effort to put these people back in a position to live again."

The U.N. is now under fire after findings that the Clinton-led mission did far more damage than good to the earthquake-ravaged nation. A new report found that 225 Haitian women say they engaged in "transactional sex" with aid workers in pursuit of food and medication, and that sexual abuse was likely underreported.

The U.N also imported a cholera epidemic that infected roughly 800,000 Haitians and killed 8,000.