State Department Says No Undue Influence After Foreign Gifts to Clinton Foundation

JUSTIN FISHEL
State Department Says No Undue Influence After Foreign Gifts to Clinton Foundation (ABC News)

A State Department spokesman said today that the department doesn't see any evidence that Hillary Clinton took actions as secretary of state that were influenced by donations to the Clinton Foundation.

“We are not aware of any evidence that actions taken by Secretary Clinton were influenced by donation to the Clinton Foundation or speech on honoraria of former President Clinton," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said during a press briefing Monday.

The statement comes on the eve of the official release of “Clinton Cash,” a book about Secretary Clinton's tenure at the State Department, which alleges she used her influence as secretary of state to provide favors to foreign governments who made donations to the Clinton Foundation, a non-profit charity group establish by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

However, Rathke also acknowledged that the Clinton Foundation says it has more documents to disclose. He said the State Department is aware of media reports that the foundation “did not meet some of the obligations to publish annually the names of new contributors" and that the department "welcomes" the foundation's commitment to make those documents public. Nevertheless, Rathke said, "we are aware of -- of no evidence that -- that there was undue influence.”


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Michael Short, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, told ABC News in an emailed statement he suspects the Clintons are purposefully withholding critical information. “If there wasn’t something to hide, Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have deleted tens of thousands of emails from her secret email server and the State Department wouldn’t be dragging its feet on virtually every public records request that comes their way,” Short said.

When Hillary Clinton took office in 2009 she signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Department that outlined ethics agreements pertaining to her relationship with the Clinton Foundation. It stipulated she would not participate in a way that could influence compensation to Bill Clinton, that the foundations agreed to publish annually the names of new contributors or contributors that were increasing donations, and that President Clinton's attorney would forward all speaking or consulting arrangements to the State Department for ethical review.

Bill Clinton defended himself and Secretary Clinton in an interview this morning on NBC. "There is no doubt in my mind that we have never done anything knowingly inappropriate in terms of taking money to influence any kind of American government policy,” Clinton said. Clinton also defended his speaking fees, which are reported to be worth nearly $10 million annually. “I gotta pay our bills. And I also give a lot of it to the foundation every year.”