The Justice Department has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State, The Hill reports. FBI agents from Little Rock, where the foundation was started, have taken the lead in the investigation and have interviewed at least one witness. Officials said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.
The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the foundation complied with applicable tax laws. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill criticized the FBI for re-opening the case, calling the probe “disgraceful” and suggesting it was nothing more than a political distraction from President Trump’s Russia controversies. “Let’s call this what it is: a sham,” Merrill said. “This is a philanthropy that does life-changing work, which Republicans have tried to turn into a political football. It began with a now long-debunked project spearheaded by Steve Bannon during the presidential campaign. It continues with Jeff Sessions doing Trump’s bidding by heeding his calls to meddle with a department that is supposed to function independently.”