The Wall Street Journal this week reported that FBI field offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Little Rock AR are investigating the Clinton Foundation, looking into allegations of political corruption, racketeering and pay to play.
The Clinton Foundation has several charity programs that are operating in Latin America, Haiti, the Caribbean and South America, and the field offices are looking into all of them.
The Wall Street Journal reported that FBI agents in Los Angeles had gotten information about the Clinton Foundation from a public corruption case and had sent out some subpoenas for bank records that were related to the foundation. The paper also stated that the effort was unusual in that it involved several field offices across the country.
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) October 30, 2016
The Washington DC office has been looking at financial relationships between the foundation and Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. The Virginia Democrat has denied any wrongdoing, and his attorney has said that the probe is regarding whether he failed to register as an agent of a foreign entity.
The Clinton Foundation has repeatedly denied doing anything wrong and has stated that the charity is well run and has done a lot of good in needy countries.
The New York FBI field office has done the majority of the work on the Clinton Foundation case, and also has gotten help from the Little Rock office.
In February, the FBI conducted a presentation for the Justice Department, and it did not go well at all.
Some inside the agency have said that the FBI did not show compelling evidence that would justify going after the Clinton Foundation, and that some prosecutors did not think it was a strong case. However, others have reported that the Justice Department was icy and dismissive of the case.
Anticorruption prosecutors at DOJ stated at the FBI meeting that they would now allow more aggressive investigation, such as subpoenas and formal witness interviews. However, the FBI stated that they thought they were acting within their authority to pursue leads with the methods they were already using.
Approximately one week after Comey announced in July that he was not going to recommend prosecution in the Clinton email scandal, the FBI then refocused the probe on the Clinton Foundation. It was decided that the New York FBI field office would lead the investigation, and the Little Rock office would assist.
It was decided that the DC field office would look into another matter that involved McAuliffe. The FBI decided earlier in the spring that McCabe would recuse himself from that probe because the governor had contributed to his wife’s political campaign in the past.
The investigations into the Clinton Foundation involve both possible corruption and racketeering charges. Public corruption is a very broad category of white collar crimes that are defined as a breach in public trust or an abuse of power by people who are public officials.
Corruption can occur when the individual or the entity receives bribes or solicits bribes. All states have laws against public corruption, but federal corruption charges are more likely when the person is in the federal government, or when there is a conspiracy to do public corruption that goes across state lines.
Racketeering laws are organized at the federal level under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Legislators designed these laws to deal with loopholes that let some criminal bosses to escape prosecution for criminal activities because they were able to avoid associating with the criminal acts that their underlings had committed.
RICO states that people may not acquire, establish or operate any business or enterprise that gets any income illegally, or use any enterprise or business to commit any illegal acts.
At the FBI, this decision was viewed skeptically by some; they felt that the probe would have been a lot stronger if the Clinton Foundation and McAuliffe probes were combined. At the DOJ, anti corruption prosecutors believed that both of the proves were weak and were based too much on public information.
Several new polls that were released over the weekend indicate that Hillary Clinton’s lead in the presidential race has taken a beating, after FBI Director James Comey announced that he is reopening the email server investigation.
The announcement last week was related to a completely separate investigation of child pornography allegations against former congressman, Democrat Andrew Weiner. The disgraced former New York congressman is married to Huma Abedin, who is Clinton’s closest confidant.
New questions also are being raised about the possible political interference the Obama administration has been allegedly involved in with the case. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice tried several times to shut down the FBI field office probes.