This Is How Corruption Works: A Hillary Clinton Example

Eric Zuesse

Hillary Clinton approved the construction in South Africa of the world’s two largest coal-fired power-plants, and helped them get Export-Import Bank financing (U.S. taxpayer backing); then, some of her friends received construction contracts to build them.

This was revealed by Itai Vardi in a terrific investigative news report at the desmog blog, on March 7th. Here’s an abbreviated version of it, courtesy of that extraordinary fine news-site:

The plants – named Medupi and Kusile – were set to each emit a staggering 25 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere a year. To help finance the Medupi plant, the South African government turned to The World Bank, requesting a $3.5 billion loan.

South Africa lobbied World Bank officials and sought to gain the support of the US government. A series of diplomatic cables from then-US ambassador to South Africa to Washington reveal a number of quiet efforts to persuade the US government to support the loan. The cables, released by Wikileaks, were written in the latter part of 2009 and early 2010, leading up to the decisive vote on the loan in April 2010. …

In late March 2010, … according to newly released Clinton emails, the South African foreign minister contacted the State Department requesting to speak with the Secretary on the phone. The emails state that the minister was specifically seeking the US government’s ‘support’ for the loan. …

Clinton said: … ‘this project is essential to deliver electricity – which I think our experts agree is right.’ …

Seven days later, The World Bank approved the huge loan. The United States, along with the UK and Holland, abstained during the vote. …

‘I am not going to give them points for abstaining. This was totally the easy way out,’ said Karen Ornstein of Friends of the Earth. ‘If the US were to follow its own clean coal guidance for multilateral development banks it would have had to vote no on this loan.’ …

To construct the Kusile coal plant, South Africa sought a different funding route, now eyeing private capital.

To this end, in 2010 Eskom solicited its main contractor for the plant, Kansas City-based infrastructure engineering and construction company Black & Veatch to apply for financing from the US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). As an independent government agency, the bank invests in projects that guarantee the employment of American workers and suppliers.

In April 2011, the Ex-Im Bank approved the $850 million loan for the Kusile plant — again to the great dismay of environmentalists. The decision came despite more than 7,500 public comments in opposition to the project. Activists were baffled as to why the governmental bank approved the loan for the controversial project.

[PHOTO] Black & Veatch Director Parties with Hillary Clinton.

One of Black & Veatch’s directors, Harold (‘H.P.’) Goldfield, wears several other important hats.

A veteran Washington insider, Goldfield is a former Reagan-era administrator and ex-director at the Ex-Im Bank. He is currently the vice chair of Albright Stonebridge, the lobbying and advising firm of longtime Clintonite and former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Goldfield is also a Senior International Affairs Advisor at the international law firm Hogan Lovells. One of the firm’s Partners, Howard Topaz, is Bill and Hillary Clinton’s personal tax advisor.

Seven months after the Ex-Im Bank approved Black & Veatch’s financing for the project, Hillary Clinton attended an exclusive 60th birthday party thrown for H.P. Goldfield at the posh Hamptons home of investor George Hornig. In a photo from the party Clinton is seen in extremely good spirits, glowingly hugging a group that included Goldfield and former US ambassador and State Department official, Richard Haass. [Richard Haas subsequently became appointed to head the Wall-Street-funded Council on Foreign Relations.]

[PHOTO] “Image credit: Hamptons Magazine

The Albright Stonebridge Connection 

During the time Ex-Im Bank considered Black & Veatch’s request, Madeleine Albright’s daughter, Alice Albright served as the bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

The released Clinton emails show that at the time the bank was considering the Kusile loan, Clinton and Madeleine Albright maintained a close relationship. …

Two weeks prior to the bank’s deliberations, Albright sent a direct email to Clinton, suggesting she hire ‘Wendy.’

This presumably refers to Wendy Sherman, then Vice Chair at Albright Stonebridge – a title she shared at the firm with H.P. Goldfield – who later that year was appointed by Clinton to serve as Under Secretary for Political Affairs. Albright ended the message with ‘I’m off to Prague to research new book but always ready to talk. Love, Madeleine.’

According to an email from December 2011, Clinton and Albright met again, this time in Prague. Albright wrote, ‘Happy to help on whatever you need wherever and whenever.’ Six months later, Clinton’s schedule reveals she attended Madeleine Albright’s 75th birthday party at Alice Albright’s house.

Since the approval of the coal plants, several figures involved in the matter landed positions at Albright Stonebrige. Upon retiring form the Foreign Service in 2013, former Ambassador Don Gips was hired as Senior Counselor. Former State Department official Johnnie Carson, who was part of the Clinton team during South Africa’s lobbying for the World Bank loan, also became Senior Counselor for the firm.

Ex-Im Bank’s Ties to Hillary Clinton 

The Ex-Im Bank is headed by Fred Hochberg, a longtime Clinton family associate, financial contributor, and campaign bundler. Hochberg’s partner, Tom Healy, was nominated during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, a State Department body. Between 2012-2014 Healy served as Chair of the Board.

Hillary’s emails during these years reveal her close connection to both Hochberg and Healy. In February 2012, one of Clinton’s daily schedules includes attending Hochberg’s 60th birthday party at the upscale DC dining spot, Sidra’s Home Restaurant.

A few months later Hochberg extended a personal invitation to Clinton to attend a friend’s book launch. Hochberg then sent a happy birthday wish to Hillary, signing with ‘Much love, Fred.’ Tom Healy sent his own personal birthday note that year, adding ‘I didn’t get to say hello in Haiti on Monday because the rain started and we rushed to the airport.’

In 2014, The Ex-Im Bank announced the appointment of new members to its Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee. Former ambassador Gips, and Shahid Qadri, Black & Veatch’s Vice President and Regional Director Africa, were among them.

That carefully researched news-report, which was headlined “Hillary Clinton Showed Support, Associates Profited from Ex-Im Bank Financing World’s Largest Coal Plants in South Africa”, isn’t unusual for the best of all news-sources on environmental matters, the desmog blog. Vardi’s report there provides an indication as to why Secretary of State Clinton, unlike any other Secretary of State before or since, refused to use the government’s authorized and secure email system and its predecessors, the systems that were for official U.S. Government business (which was what has been disclosed here from her private email server all of this clearly was, though Hillary Clinton has stated many times she never used her private server for government business).

That reason is: she didn’t want voters (nor prosecutors) to be able to know how she transacts her corruption.

No wonder Wall Street loves her.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.