Muftic: Does quid always mean quo? |

Muftic: Does quid always mean quo?

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

Mitt Romney said it “looks like” Hillary Clinton committed “bribery,” based upon what he read in a New York Times story, regarding dealings of a Russian purchase of interest in a U.S. uranium company. He, coming from the investment world, of all people, should know to wait until all facts were known and that there is proof that a quid resulted in a quo.

I once had an international investment banker whose job it was to negotiate finance deals with foreign governments and corporations sit down and tell me how corruption works in business dealings abroad. The problem is that most many countries who do business around the world think that even the more honest countries work the same as they do. They give a quid and expect a quo. Often they give quids without being asked. They just believe they will get a quo anyway.

My banker friend gave me an example. His firm was competing against other international banking firms from various countries for a lucrative deal in an Eastern European country emerging from Communism. It was famous for corruption.

One gimmick was that the ruling strong arm president, allegedly elected democratically, set up a charitable foundation in the name of a family member, who in this case used the foundation as a cash cow. The winning ticket depended on making a sizeable contribution to the charity. The request for a donation was made in advance of the contract being awarded. Incidentally, both U.S. law and his firm would not allow it, and his firm lost the contract.

When you hear about the Clinton Family Foundation commenting that not all of those donations from foreign governments were given from the goodness of their hearts, realize that most of the world believes their quid, even if not tied to a quo in advance, will result in a quo and giving to a family foundation provides the mechanism.

Hillary Clinton must show there was no quo there and answer every one of the instances raised by her attackers. She has begun. The State Department Assistant Secretary of State who chaired the committee approving the Russian uranium deal, issued a statement attesting that Clinton never intervened. The statement from the Assistant Secretary got buried in the very end of a New York Times article bringing the matter to public attention.

One part of the story particularly raising eyebrows is that Russian contributions to the Foundation were never disclosed. The Foundation admitted the error that the Russian gift was co-mingled with non-governmental donations in their report and tax filings, but it was listed in the annual reconciled audit statement posted on the Foundation’s web site. Per a charity watchdog: No Clinton was on the Foundation payroll; the Foundation did pay their airfare.

That was substandard work on the part or the New York Times and the Clinton Cash author, in their eagerness to rake some muck. Hopefully going forward, Clinton’s defense gets media coverage equal to the allegations.

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