AUSTRALIA has finally ceased pouring millions of dollars into accounts linked to Hillary Clinton’s charities.
Which begs the question: Why were we donating to them in the first place?
The federal government confirmed to news.com.au it has not renewed any of its partnerships with the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation, effectively ending 10 years of taxpayer-funded contributions worth more than $88 million.
Despite that, the official website for the charity shows contributions from both AUSAID and the Commonwealth of Australia, each worth between $10 million and $25 million.
News.com.au approached the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment about how much was donated and why the Clinton Foundation was chosen as a recipient.
A DFAT spokeswoman said all funding is used “solely for agreed development projects” and Clinton charities have “a proven track record” in helping developing countries.
Australia jumping ship is part of a post-US election trend away from the former Secretary of State and presidential candidate’s fundraising ventures.
Norway, one of the Clinton Foundation’s most prolific donors, is reducing its contribution from $20 million annually to almost a quarter of that, Observerreported.
One reason for the drop-off could be increased scrutiny on international donors. The International Business Times reported in 2015 on curious links between donors and State Department approval.
IBT wrote that the State Department approved massive commercial arms sales for countries which had donated to the Clinton charity.
More than $165 billion worth of arms sales were approved by the State Department to 20 nations whose governments gave money to the Clinton Foundation, data shows.
The counties buying weapons from the US were the same countries previously condemned for human rights abuses. They included Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
But what does Australia gain from topping up the Clinton coffers? The Australian reported in February that Australia was “the single biggest foreign government source of funds for the Clinton Foundation” but questions remain unanswered about the agreement between the two parties.
“It’s not clear why Canberra had to go through an American foundation to deliver aid to Asian countries (including Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam). There is now every chance the payments will become embroiled in presidential politics.”
The Daily Telegraph wrote in October that “Lo and behold, (Julia Gillard) became chairman (of the Clinton-affiliated Global Partnership for Education) in 2014”, one year after being defeated in a leadership ballot by Kevin Rudd.
Australia cutting ties with the Clinton charities is surprising given Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s years of support.
In a press release dated September 22, 2014, Ms Bishop committed to five years of support for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the sister organisation of the Clinton Foundation.
“Since 2006, Australia has contributed $88 million to CHAI,” the statement read.
President-elect Donald Trump promised to follow through with an investigation into the foundation if he became leader of the free world. But this week he backed away from that stance.
“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,’’ he told The New York Times.
“She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways, and I am not looking to hurt them at all. The campaign was vicious.”
The Clintons maintain they’ve done nothing wrong. In a statement, spokesman Brian Fallon said no one “has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as Secretary of State to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.”