By LOUIS FLORES
The Clinton Global Initiative, a project affiliated with the Clinton Foundation, is being closed, according to news reports of regulatory filings made with the New York State Department of Labor. The intention to close the Clinton Global Initiative was first reported last October, when former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton were reportedly attempting to address criticism of the charity's fundraising practises.
Since former First Lady Clinton lost her 2016 campaign to become U.S. President, her loss unencumbers the Clinton Foundation from potential conflicts of interest that were the source of some of the criticism she faced during her presidential campaign. It is unexplained why the Clintons are still moving forward with the closure, given the receding of some of the conflicts of interest. Requests made by Progress Queens to the Clinton Foundation for interviews for this report were not answered.
After the October press reports first noted that the Clinton Global Initiative would be closing, a report was published by The Wall Street Journal noting that agents from at least four field offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been investigating the Clinton Foundation to determine whether "there was evidence of financial crimes or influence-peddling." The Clinton Global Initiative was formed by former President Clinton and the lobbyist Doug Band to hold annual conferences by raising money from foreign governments, domestic and foreign corporations, and other big money donors, creating potential conflicts of interest for former First Lady Clinton whilst she served as U.S. Secretary of State. The revelation about the FBI's information-gathering of the Clinton Foundation was made as the public was learning new details of a reported, separate Federal investigation of former First Lady Clinton's use of an unsecure server to send, receive, and store classified information whilst she was U.S. Secretary of State.
The conflicts of interest that existed between former First Lady Clinton, whilst she served as U.S. Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation, and the charity's donors inspired supporters of President-elect Donald Trump to urge him during the presidential campaign to "lock her up" once he was able to exert influence over the U.S. Department of Justice. After Mr. Trump won the election, he walked back the campaign promise he made to his supporters, saying he was no longer interested in investigating the Clintons, according to a report published by The New York Times.
Complex investigations conducted by the FBI that involve potential wrong-doing are typically supervised by U.S. Attorneys, who, in turn, must seek some approvals from senior DOJ officials in Washington for cases involving significant political figures, according to some provisions in the United States Attorneys' Manual. FBI agents from the New York Field Office were reportedly involved in collecting information about the Clinton Foundation, according to The Wall Street Journal report, meaning, that U.S. Attorneys from New York may have been supervising at least some aspects of the FBI's activities.*
It has been reported that because of criticism of conflicts of interest and as a consequence of former First Lady Clinton's election loss, the Clinton Foundation had been experiencing difficulty raising large donations. Some have said that the drop in fundraising explains the decision to close the Clinton Global Initiative, but there may be another explanation.
Resignations are acceptable outcomes to resolve Federal investigations
Because President Barack Obama supported former First Lady Clinton's unsuccessful presidential campaign and because President-elect Trump has expressed no interest in compelling a DOJ investigation of the Clintons, there are no orders or messages being telegraphed to top Federal law enforcement officials to complete a thorough investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Furthermore, because there is a provision in the United States Attorneys' Manual that gives Federal prosecutors the discretion to negotiate resignations as a way to resolve public corruption investigations, it is not known if the follow-through to close the Clinton Global Initiative was negotiated to end the reported activities of the FBI to collect information about the Clinton Foundation.
Progress Queens made requests for information about this process to the press offices of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan and U.S. Attorney Robert Capers in Brooklyn. The Manhattan press office did not answer an advance question submitted by Progress Queens, and the Brooklyn press office declined to answer the advance question. In a prior report published by the online news Web site, The Daily Caller, it was reported that U.S. Attorney Bharara had been leading the New York investigation by the FBI. Progress Queens has previously reported that some large Federal investigations that were important to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch were being managed through the office she formerly headed, that of U.S. Attorney Capers.
Because of general law enforcement policy not to acknowledge or comment on investigations, it is rare for top Federal law enforcement officials to publicly announce that investigations have ended without the pressing of charges. Two exceptions to this pattern were noted recently when U.S. Attorney Bharara announced the closure of his office's investigation into the premature shuttering of the Moreland Commission and when FBI Director James Comey prematurely announced the closure of the Federal investigation into former First Lady Clinton's use of the unsecure server. Because the offices for both U.S. Attorneys in New York declined to answer a process question, it is not known if the only notice the public may receive about the ending of the reported Federal investigation of the Clinton Foundation will be the filings made with the State Department of Labor.
*This section was amended to refer to the correct newspaper report.