Clintons admit to breaching Obama rule on funding
The Clintons' global charity has admitted violating White House ethics rules by accepting money from the government of Algeria while Hillary Clinton, inset, was still serving as America's top diplomat.
Republicans said the donations from Algeria and other foreign governments were evidence of a "conflict of interest" and demanded that the money be returned. The Clinton Foundation, which has raised nearly $2bn since Bill Clinton left office in 2001, has long been seen as a potential source of embarrassment for Mrs Clinton as she prepares to run for the White House in 2016.
The foundation's global humanitarian work has been powered by industrial-scale fundraising from corporations, billionaires and foreign governments. Barack Obama was concerned enough about the potential for conflicts of interest that he made Mrs Clinton agree to a set of ethical rules before nominating her as secretary of state in 2009.
The Clinton Foundation admitted to the 'Washington Post' that it had broken those rules at least once by taking a $500,000 cheque from the Algerian government in 2010. The charity said the money was not solicited and arrived without notice after Mr Clinton appealed for the world to help Haiti in the wake of its devastating earthquake. The donation reportedly coincided with an intense effort by Algeria to lobby Mrs Clinton's State Department over US criticism of its human rights record.
The incident appears to justify the early fears of Mr Obama's aides: that foreign governments would try to donate to the Clinton Foundation in a bid to influence US policy.
According to the 'Washington Post', other countries' including Qatar, Kuwait and Oman also donated to the foundation during Mrs Clinton's four years as secretary of state. Those donations did not break the rules because the countries were already donors before Mrs Clinton took office. Saudi Arabia and Canada have reportedly begun donating to the foundation since Mrs Clinton left office and the ethical rules were relaxed. While the Clinton Foundation was started by Mr Clinton after he left the White House it has since been renamed as the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
Republicans said the disclosures showed Mrs Clinton could potentially be influenced by foreign donors if she were to win the White House in 2016. "These renewed ethics charges only raise further questions as to how Hillary Clinton will be affected," said America Rising, a Republican group.
Joe Biden, the US vice president and long-shot possibility to challenge Mrs Clinton, declined to come to her defence when asked about the issue. (© Daily Telegraph London)