A recently disclosed phone record from then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to Bangladesh’s prime minister revealed that she tried to use her position to help a Clinton Foundation donor, Circa recently reported.
In an email to Circa from Deputy Press Secretary Md Nazrul Islam, the office of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stated that Clinton called that office in March 2011 “insisting” that Hasina not remove Dr. Muhammed Yunus from his position as chairman, or managing director, of the country’s Grameen Bank. Yunus is a 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Grameen America, the bank’s nonprofit which Yunus chairs, has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative; Grameen Research, also chaired by Yunus, has donated between $25,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to the report.
In the email, Islam said “the Prime Minister told Mrs. Clinton that according to Grameen Bank rules and regulations, no one can hold the position of managing director [past 60 years of age],” and that Yunus had been drawing “salaries and allowances illegally for 10 years,” according to Circa. Yunus was 70 at the time of his removal in 2011.
The call brings forth a reminder of the more-often-than-not grey area of the United States’s federal ethics laws that “require government officials to recuse themselves from matters that could impact their spouse’s business,” according to Circa.
“People in public life shouldn’t be raising money from anybody, anywhere, or for anything,” Richard Painter told Circa. Painter is the former Chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush. “But until we fix the campaign finance system, this is the way it’s going to be.”
“Mrs. Clinton’s newly disclosed call to reinstate Dr. Yunus marks one of the most direct involvements in an official government matter that impacted one of her husband’s donors,” according to the report. “It may trigger new calls for a criminal investigation into the foundation’s activities but ‘it’s not likely that anything would come of it,’ [according to Painter].”