The Clinton Global Initiative’s closure comes as several international scandals emerge linking government corruption in various states to the Clinton Global Initiative and its parent organization the Clinton Foundation.
I. New Zealand
Reports began to emerge in November 2016 that New Zealand Prime Minister John Key had given over $7.7 million in taxpayers’ money to the Clinton Global Initiative. This donation was part of a 2013 pledge to ultimately give $13.7 million to the CGI. The revelations created a political scandal which was an influencing factor in John Key’s announcement that he would resign from his position. The New Zealand Herald has since criticized government support for the Clinton Global Initiative, highlighting other reports of controversy and scandal which have dogged the Clinton Foundation in recent years.
In July 2016, Norwegian paper Dagbladet reported that from 2007 to 2015, the governments of Jens Stoltenberg and Erna Solberg of Norway sent the Clinton Foundation and its various initiatives over 584 million Kroner. Jens Stoltenberg went on from his position as Prime Minister of Norway to become the current Secretary General of NATO.
Norway also was rocked by a child abuse scandal which came to light in November 2016. On November 20, the Associated Press reported that 20 individuals had been arrested and 31 more were being sought as part of an investigation known as “Dark Room” which began in 2015. Many of the suspects were described as being highly educated and the arrestees included lawyers and politicians. Investigator Hilde Reikrås told the Norwegian press that further arrests beyond those currently charged were expected.
American media outlets such as the New York Times, ABC News, and The Washington Post initially ran reports on the arrests. However, within a few weeks of the news breaking, these news corporations removed any mention of the Norway child abuse ring from their webpages. Listed below are archives of the links, showing that they no longer direct to a valid news article:
New York Times Archive taken on December 9, 2016
ABC News Archive taken on January 16, 2017 showing a redirect from the former article to the website’s home page
Washington Post Archive taken on January 16, 2017
The reason for the sudden redaction of these stories by the above news corporations is currently unknown. The proximity of the revelation of both financial and abuse scandals, both of which involved members of the Norwegian government raises the question of whether or not the two might have been related in any possible way.
Reports have also emerged that Germany donated over £4 million in taxpayer funds to various Clinton Foundation initiatives. The funds appear to have been funneled primarily through Germany’s Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (BMUB) or Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.
Angela Merkel has a history of seemingly changing her stances on political issues after meetings with Clinton Foundation representatives. In 2015, when Germany was mulling over a third round of austerity measures for Greece, CNN reported that Merkel was inclined to refuse a new stimulus for the struggling nation.
On the same day as CNN’s article ran however, an email from Wikileaks revealed that foreign policy advisors to Bill Clinton and John Podesta disapproved of Merkel’s decision to refuse further austerity to Greece. The decision was made to have Clinton call Merkel by phone and express his desire that she move ahead with the Greek stimulus.
Within nine days of the date that the above email was sent on, the BBC reported that Merkel was “flip flopping” and would now consider a third round of austerity measures for Greece. When austerity was actually given to Greece it was criticized as being far too generous and not in Germany’s economic interests.