Airline giant Boeing said this week that it will not release correspondence pertaining to the State Department’s work in securing a Russian contract for the company, a donor to the foundation of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Boeing recently rejected a shareholder resolution proposed by David Almasi, a Boeing shareholder and the executive director of the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research, asking the company to disclose more information about its charitable giving.
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At the company’s Monday shareholder meeting, Almasi asked chief executive James McNerney "to set the record straight that every communication between Boeing and the State Department was above board."
"Will you release every email and communication that Boeing officials had relating to donations to the Clinton Foundation, and with the State Department?" Almasi asked.
McNerney said Boeing would do so "if there is some regulatory or legal proceeding that we're asked to become part of."
According to a NCPPR news release, the group was seeking "emails between Boeing and the U.S. State Department during the time State helped Boeing secure a Russian contract and Boeing made a contribution to the Clinton Foundation available for inspection."
Boeing donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. It also lobbied the State Department while Clinton helmed the agency.
Clinton went to bat for Boeing early in her tenure at State. She pushed Russian officials to approve a multi-billion-dollar contract for Boeing planes, the Washington Post reported last year.
After it landed the contract, Boeing announced that it would donate $1 million to a pavilion at the World’s Fair, a project on which Clinton had labored at State, the Post reported.
[T]o secure the donation, the State Department had set aside ethics guidelines that first prohibited solicitations of Boeing and then later permitted only a $1 million gift from the company. Boeing had been included on a list of firms to be avoided because of its frequent reliance on the government for help negotiating overseas business and concern that a donation could be seen as an attempt to curry favor with U.S. officials.
The November 2009 episode was an indicator of a mutually beneficial relationship between one of the world’s major corporations and a potential future president. Clinton functioned as a powerful ally for Boeing’s business interests at home and abroad, while Boeing has invested resources in causes beneficial to Clinton’s public and political image.