Senator Chuck Grassley has written a series of letters to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew demanding answers about a shady uranium deal with a company tied to the Clintons.
"On April 23, The New York Times reported on details regarding the Clinton Foundation’s ties to a number of investors involved in a business transaction that resulted in the acquisition of Uranium One, owner of U.S. based uranium assets, by Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ), a subsidiary of Rosatom, a Russian government owned company. The transaction raised a number of national security concerns because it effectively ceded 20% of U.S. uranium production capacity to the Russian government. Due to that foreign involvement, a review of the transaction was conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), whose membership includes the Secretary of State and of which Treasury is the chair. In addition, during critical stages of the acquisition approval, interested parties made large donations – some in the millions of dollars – to the Clinton Foundation while Ms. Hillary Clinton held the position of Secretary of State. When millions of dollars flow to decision makers who have substantial discretion to provide support for or against approval of controversial transactions, public confidence in the integrity of the process requires a commitment to transparency and responsiveness to oversight inquiries," reads the letter from Senator Grassley to Attorney General Lynch.
Clinton Foundation Accepts Multiple Donations from Interested Parties in Deal
In light of the gravity of the decision to allow a Russian takeover of almost a quarter of U.S. uranium assets, it is in the public interest to determine the facts and circumstances of the transaction, including any potential donations that could have influenced the CFIUS review process. The purpose of CFIUS is to ensure that national security is not undermined by transactions that result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign person.
The timing of donations to the Clinton Foundation raises the appearance of potential influence in CFIUS’s review process. According to The New York Times, in September 2005, Mr. Frank Giustra won a uranium deal in Kazakhstan for UrAsia, his company at the time.2 The deal was cut days after he visited the country with President Bill Clinton and after that deal in 2006, Mr. Giustra donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.3 UrAsia eventually merged with a South African company and became Uranium One.
Reports further indicate that between 2008 and 2010, Uranium One and former UrAsia investors donated $8.65 million to the Clinton Foundation.4 During this period of time, Uranium One’s legal hold on the Kazakhstan-based uranium deposits was in doubt. Allegedly, Uranium One executives contacted U.S. Embassy officials in Kazakhstan to help ensure the validity of their mining licenses.5 According to The New York Times, the State Department cable explaining the circumstances was copied to Secretary Clinton, among other individuals.6 In 2009, when the validity of the mining licenses was at issue, the Chairman of Uranium One, Mr. Ian Telfer, donated $1 million to the Clinton Foundation via his family charity called the Fernwood Foundation.7 In the same year, ARMZ acquired a 17% stake in Uranium One and the parties sought an initial CFIUS review.8
In June 2010, Rosatom, via ARMZ, sought majority ownership in Uranium One. According to news reports, Mr. Telfer donated $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation during this crucial time.9 In total, Mr. Telfer donated over $2 million through 2013.10 In addition, in June 2010, President Clinton was paid $500,000 for a speech in Russia, funded by a Russian investment bank that assigned a buy rating to Uranium One stock and also reportedly had ties to the Kremlin.11 In October 2010, CFIUS approved Rosatom’s plan to acquire a controlling 51% stake and, in January 2013, Rosatom purchased all remaining Uranium One shares.12
If the news reports are true, Secretary Clinton’s involvement in the decision-making process needs to be more closely examined given that the Clinton Foundation was accepting donations from parties who had a stake in the outcome of the uranium deal.
Similar Deals Denied by CFIUS
In contrast to the Rosatom deal, similar transactions have been scuttled by CFIUS. For example, in December 2009, Northwest Nonferrous International Investment Corp, a subsidiary of China’s largest aluminum producer, attempted to acquire a U.S. based mining company.13