Evan Schneider



Did Rosatom Conquer the Clintons?

Three days ago the New York Times released a bombshell of an article linking Rosatom, the Russian atomic energy agency to the Clinton Global Initiative, the philanthropic NGO of former President William Clinton and now candidate Hillary Clinton via the uranium mines of Kazakhstan, Canada, and Wyoming. What are the implications of what the Kremlin’s mouthpiece Pravda called in an article a Russian nuclear energy conquest of the world?

Some background first. From 2006-2013, millions of dollars were transferred to the Clinton Global Initiative from Canadian businessmen, investors, and beneficiaries of the merger of Rosatom and South African-Canadian Uranium One. The merger of Rosatom with Uranium One was then approved in 2010 by the inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, in which the then Secretary Hillary Clinton, representing the US Department of State played a key role. While foreign direct investment benefits the United States, it behooves everyone involved that the process is fair and transparent.

At this point, there are two things to consider: 1. What is the history of such donations for the Clinton Global Initiative, and 2. Is this activity new or to be expected by the instruments of the Russian Federation?

Hillary Clinton has been lauded for her work as Secretary of State, having her blackberry attached to her hand semi-permanently and racking up nearly one million miles on her trips throughout the world. Her work negotiating the New START Treaty with Russia, opening up Myanmar, and laying the groundwork for the US “rebalance to Asia” is notable and should be lauded.

Nonetheless, there is a troubling string of donations linking the then Secretary Clinton and donations to the Clinton Global Initiative to foreign powers. According to the Washington Post, “A third of the foundation donors who have given more than one million dollars are foreign governments or entities.” While this is not unique in the world of NGOs and think tanks, it is an apparent conflict of interest to have a sitting Secretary of State deciding the fate of a company by which he or she has directly benefited. Moreover, as campaign finance reform is a key plank in Candidate Clinton’s political platform, it seems odd that such murky dealings would take place.

Activities of organizations and companies associated with the Russian Federation are more straightforward. Since the collapse of the USSR, the Russian Federation has used a culture of corruption to co-opt elites throughout Europe. On the highest level to this point, it was seen by the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder first negotiating the Nord Stream Pipeline and then after his retirement serving on its shareholder committee. While this is the biggest example, the more recent fall of the Bulgarian government in 2014 due to Russian energy machinations within the Cabinet is another demonstration of the Kremlin’s pernicious policies.

While many of the details are still missing, Candidate Hillary Clinton best answer the main ones before the Iowa Caucasus of 1 February 2016. Complex tales of donations or corrupt dealings must be faced head on in order to disprove or remove pernicious elements from the US elite, especially if that individual may become President of the United States. While it is not yet clear if Russian money has washed up on the shores of the US, the question lingers whether Rosatom conquered the Clintons.