Why Bribery Laws Don’t Apply To The Clintons

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Washington, D.C. (Accredited Times) – As many people know, I don’t particularly like Donald Trump.  Trump is a racist, sexist, xenophobic bully, who is completely oblivious to White Privilege.  But you know what?  I don’t go around falsely accusing Trump of nonexistent crimes.  When I attack Trump, it’s for real crimes, such as colluding with Russia or engaging in hate against undocumented Americans.

In contrast, many Trump supporters love accusing the Clintons of nonexistent crimes.  The newest accusation is that Hillary Clinton somehow took “bribes” in exchange for selling out American uranium supplies to the Russians.  Not surprisingly, the accusation arose shortly after the Accredited Times published an article supporting another Clinton Presidential run in 2020.

The alleged bribes purportedly took the form of (1) $145 million paid to the Clinton Foundation, which supposedly accrued, at least in part, to the personal benefit of the Clintons; and (2) millions of dollars in “speaking fees” paid directly to the Clintons for their personal benefit.  In exchange for the alleged bribes, Hillary Clinton, then serving as Secretary of State, purportedly approved the transfer of a major uranium company, Uranium One, to Rosatom, a Russian state-owned entity.

The facts of the case aren’t particularly in dispute.  The Clintons undoubtedly received the money, and Hillary undoubtedly approved the transaction and used her influence to push the transaction through.  In addition, the Clintons undoubtedly used the Clinton Foundation for personal purposes, including paying campaign staff members and paying for the Clintons’ campaign-related travel — meaning that the Clintons personally benefited from the “donations” to the Clinton Foundation.  But the “bribery” allegation is clearly false for an obvious reason:  bribery laws do not apply to the Clintons.

Of course, the Clintons’ behavior would ordinarily run afoul of 18 U.S.C. § 201, the domestic bribery statute.  The Department of Justice and other enforcement authorities routinely prosecute individuals and companies for making “charitable contributions” and “speaking fees” to obtain government approvals or government-related business.  In fact, improper “charitable contributions” and “speaking fees” are so commonplace in many third world countries that companies regularly include anti-corruption policies covering these specific issues.  Because cases typically involve the third world, the particular statute at issue has ordinarily been the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) (15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1 et seq.), which prohibits bribing non-U.S. officials; however, the standard in the FCPA is the same as the standard in 18 U.S.C. § 201(b), the domestic bribery statute.  In fact, it’s easier to prosecute a U.S. official because 18 U.S.C. § 201(c) contains an “anti-gratuities” provision (still a felony, but with lower penalties) that removes the normal requirement of proof of a quid pro quo.  Section 201(c) only requires proof that the cash or other thing of value was provided “for or because of” an official act, such as approving a transfer of a uranium company to a Russian entity.  It does not require a quid pro quo.

Examples of cases involving improper payments via “charitable contributions” include:

  • In the Matter of Schering-Plough Corporation:  Between 1999 and 2002, Schering-Plough’s subsidiary paid $76,000 to the “Chudow Castle Foundation,” a charitable foundation whose president was a government official with the Silesian Health Fund, a Polish governmental body involved in purchasing pharmaceutical products.  The SEC alleged that Schering-Plough violated anti-corruption law by making the payments, which were allegedly intended to induce the official to approve the purchase of Schering-Plough products.  Schering-Plough paid a $500,000 civil penalty to settle the case.
  • In the Matter of Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc.:  In 2013, representatives of Nu Skin’s Chinese subsidiary, Nu Skin, made a “donation” of approximately $154,000 to a charity to help avoid a fine in China.  The money was allegedly paid to a charity chosen by a high-ranking Communist Party official who could influence the investigation.  Nu Skin paid $765,688 in penalties to resolve the case.
  • Enforcement actions have also been filed against SQM, Statoil, Stryker, Eli Lilly, Michael Cohen (Och-Ziff Capital Management), Vanya Baros (same), VimpelCom, Alstom, and Samuel Mebiame — all of which involved alleged corrupt payments, in part, in the form of charitable contributions.

The practice of making improper payments via charitable foundations is so pervasive that the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have an anti-corruption resource guide that includes a section covering the issue.

The Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have also aggressively prosecuted individuals and companies for making corrupt “speaking fees” (a.k.a., honoraria or lecture fees).  For example, in 2013, Stryker agreed to pay a settlement of over $13 million in part for making “392 commission payments, or ‘honoraria,’ to [government officials] employed in the public healthcare system in order to obtain or retain business . . . .”  In 2016, Novartis also agreed to pay a settlement of over $25 million in part for paying “approximately $25,000” in “lecture fees” to a government official to help obtain business.  Although companies can pay legitimate honoraria, corrupt payments are often disguised as honoraria or other “commission” payments.  The key questions are (1) whether the amount is excessive compared to the typical market rate, and (2) whether the circumstances otherwise indicate that the honorarium is provided as an inducement to obtain or retain business, including, for example, winning a governmental approval of some kind.

Under previous precedent, it’s obvious that what the Clintons did would have normally been completely illegal.  Under 18 U.S.C. § 201(c), the Department of Justice would not have to prove any explicit agreement of an approval in exchange for the cash.  All the Department of Justice would have to prove is that the money was paid “for or because of” Hillary Clinton’s potential role in the Uranium One approval process.  The companies and individuals who paid the money would be guilty — and so would the official(s) and intermediaries who received the money.

However, longstanding prior precedent also holds that bribery laws do not apply to the Clintons.  Although the federal bribery laws do not contain an explicit exception for the Clintons, James Comey and other well-respected law enforcement officials actively chose not to prosecute the Clintons in numerous other cases involving clear instances of corruption.  For example, when Bill Clinton traded a pardon for Marc Rich in exchange for large sums of money, James Comey found that Clinton had done nothing wrong.  This precedent is of equal value and should not be ignored:  the Clintons are above the law.

Many, of course, might be upset at the law in this case.  Many might even remark that “Clinton privilege” contradicts longstanding precedent going back to Magna Carta, which solidified the principle that no man is above the law.  However, Magna Carta did not mention womyn, like Hillary Clinton, and, worse, it was written by dead white males.  As a result, it is hardly a document worth following.  I prefer to follow longstanding precedent established by such legal giants as Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder, who are both African-Americans, not to mention the eminent James Comey.

In short, the fake news industry needs to shut up about the Clintons and the Uranium One non-issue.  The Clintons are innocent, and there is no possible legal basis for pursuing corruption charges against them.

Pbier

This is such a welcome and insightful article. Despite apparently clear legal precedents, it would be simply ultra vires for any court or tribunal in any jurisdiction to prosecute the Clintons for bribery. I would go a stage further – just in case, you know – and extend this exemption to alleged murder or manslaughter. Some people see correlations and coincidences where none exist.

Let’s just focus on the good the Clintons have done for all people and…children in places like Haiti.

trav777

And Libya

Abu
Abu

Guinea Conakry west Africa will be next.

MillionDollarBonus

Excellent legal case BLM. The well-established precedent is for the Clintons not to be charged for crimes, even when there is lots of evidence that they committed them, so why should this case be treated any differently? It’s not that the Clintons are “above the law”. It’s that this IS the law. Correct me if I’m wrong BLM, as you are our legal correspondent, but if something is precedent, it IS law. Isn’t that right?

Make my votes count
Make my votes count

WOW BLM what a breaking news story. Is this an exclusive you have broken here. In addition to AT I spend a great deal of Time on MSNBC, CNN and other unbiased accredited news sources.
I have not seen any news on this matter from those other sources. Just the usual important stuff like Trumps fight with Flake and George Bush harassing a female actress.
I am sure once they pick up your story we can count on them to see we get the truth and they will explain how it is legal for them and perfectly OK.

#accredited-times-pick

Bureaucrat
Bureaucrat

We got bigger ex-President scandals to be concerned about.

The Clinton stuff doesn’t even make a headline on the CNN page, so we know the Clinton stuff is either a misunderstanding or another ring-wing conspiracy.

As for the bigger ex-President scandal – look top and center on the CNN page. George H.W. Bush raped a woman from his wheelchair during a photo op!!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/25/entertainment/heather-lind-george-bush-harassment/index.html

hungrypirana
hungrypirana

A cat may have nine lives. The Clinton’s already used theirs up. 38 years’ of crimes is pressing their luck, don’t you think?????

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz

Joe Arpiao and 37 State Attorneys General don’t give a damn about your crap analysis. I trust you’re aware of penalties for legal advice being rendered without licensing?

trav777

excuse me, I AM a lawyer and I personally reviewed the post before it was made and signed off on it. Using the government’s OWN methodology for determining if something is legal by getting a lawyer to come up with a rationale and opinion that it is, no charges can ever be brought otherwise you’re saying that GWB and his entire regime, including Obama’s too, were guilty of war crimes!

That flies in the face of accredited thought everywhere. We have many unnamed anonymous sources who we rely on and the word “ACCREDITED” is right there in the site title!

We are simply using the same legal methodology that enabled enhanced interrogation and multiple humanitarian interventions and how dare you question us?

Actual LAWYERS gave OPINIONS as to legality and that should be as good for you as it was for the DOJ and every other law enforcement official when we waterboarded and exported suspects for rendition in non Geneva Convention States.

#accredited-times-pick

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