The DNC's Clinton Foundation Is The 'Biggest Fraud Ever Investigated' - Analyst
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Speaking to Sputnik about reports of a new Justice Department probe into the Clinton Foundation over possible pay-to-play politics during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, philanthropy law expert Charles Ortel outlined why he believed the Clinton Foundation may very well be 'the largest unprosecuted fraud in history'.
This week, law enforcement officials told Washington political newspaper The Hill that at least one witness had been questioned, and additional efforts were planned in a probe into possible illegal activities during Clinton's tenure as America's top diplomat.
Clinton, who served as secretary of state between 2009 and 2013, is suspected of having traded political favors in exchange for lavish contributions to the foundation, established by her husband Bill Clinton in 2001 after the end of his tenure as president. According to The Hill, the FBI is taking the lead in the probe, and their investigation will include looking into whether tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use.
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Speaking to Sputnik, investor, writer, and vocal Clinton Foundation critic Charles Ortel outlined the vast possible extent of the Clintons' illegal activities.
"I started focusing on this in February of 2015," Ortel explained. "It took me about several weeks to figure out that this is the largest unprosecuted fraud in world history. By my calculations, the declared incoming amounts of the Clinton Foundations are about $2.3 billion, but when you consider all the affiliates around the world, it runs in the many hundreds of billions of dollars."
According to the Wall Street analyst, "The great complexity of this charity, volatility in currency exchange rates, and lax controls, in the [sense] that so many of the trustees and donors are basically political allies of the Clintons who stand to benefit from payments from governments [and other entities make it] rife with potential for fraud."
"My training is in banking and investment analysis," Ortel stressed. "Under US law, a charity like this has to produce audited books that account and comply with auditing standards that are very strict. Anyone with a modicum of training can see that there is no legally compliant audit [of the Clinton Foundation] over a twenty year period."
Therefore, in Ortel's view, "the real question here is not 'Is it a fraud?' Of course it's a fraud! The questions are: Why did so many governments around the world let this fraud go on for so long? And why didn't [the FBI] see this fraud [in 2001-2005, when it was investigating the Foundation]? Why did they let it escalate? Those are the big questions in my mind."
© AP PHOTO/ FRANK FRANKLIN II
Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves to supporters as her husband former President Bill Clinton, second from right, Chelsea Clinton, second from left, and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, join on stage Saturday, June 13, 2015, on Roosevelt Island in New York
Sputnik: Has there been a standard audit of the Clinton Foundation in recent years?
Charles Ortel: [The question is] what we mean by an audit. There are upper case Audits and lower case audits. Because of its size, this foundation is required to produce a strict audit each year that double-checks the tax forms, and independent third parties prove that what's in the tax forms is actually true and accurate.
© AP PHOTO/ JACQUELYN MARTIN
There are federal laws that apply to that, there are state laws that vary in their severity, but New York and California are very strict for example. [The foundation] has never complied with those laws: it's passed on fake audits as being real audits. That's a very serious crime. We have a 71-year-old African American congressperson who's going to go to jail for five years for $800,000 in charity fraud over a twenty year period. [The Clinton Foundation case is about] over $2.3 billion. And this is by a former president, and an aspiring president.
Sputnik: You're making very serious allegations. Could you elaborate into why you say the audits that were provided were fake audits? We're so used to hearing about fake news, and now we have fake audits as well.
Charles Ortel: In America, in addition to the laws that are out there, there are regulations that lay out what is and isn't an audit. I have done extensive work on this; it's free, it's on my site, charlesortel.com, there are extensive exhibits; I also have a podcast show, Sundays with Charles, featuring many hours going through these exhibits in detail, but in sum and substance: audits have to have an income statement, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. There is no cash flow statement for Clinton Foundation audits from 2001-2004, in the period when they built the Little Rock complex. That's just a gross error. Those audits are not on the Clinton Foundation website. They're available in state filings. I have them. I've checked them. They flatly say that the audits don't comply with US law.
© REUTERS/ JEFF OVERS
Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is seen speaking, in this undated photograph received via the BBC, during an interview at Claridge's hotel for the BBC's Andrew Marr Show which was broadcast in London, Britain October 15, 2017.
Sputnik: So who's responsible? Who has been negligent in ignoring what you're saying in these insufficient or noncompliant filings?
Charles Ortel: The way it works is, you file with the IRS to get federal tax exemptions. That's the first step for a charity. If you want to solicit in a state like New York, you also have to file to get New York state tax exemptions; the taxes in New York are very high. [The Clinton Foundation has] never done that properly.
So the answer to your question is: in any state where you solicit to raise funds, you have to register, fill out forms, explain the true state of your foundation, and generally have to file a copy of your most recent audit. So the answer is that inside the United States, they're in trouble in every state that regulates charities.
Outside the United States, different countries have different rules. I'm not sure what Russia's are, but I know England's rules very well. There's gross non-compliance in England, across Europe and everywhere in the world.
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Sputnik: Is this non-compliance common among charitable organizations, or is this a scandal in its audacity to cover up the fact that this information wasn't provided?
Charles Ortel: It's audacious. You have in the Clintons audacious people. I guess they decided that if they're going to go for fraud, to go for the biggest fraud ever prosecuted, and get away with it. This has been a long process for me to get on this radio station with you, and to have this kind of discussion, because most people at the beginning will say 'Come on, a former president, an aspiring president, somebody must have seen this?' And that's what the Clintons and other fraudsters depend on: That you've got a doubt and you turn off your suspicious gene and just say 'Well they must have had somebody check it.' [In reality], they didn't do it right.