Hansjorg Wyss, a billionaire Swiss citizen and multi-million dollar Clinton Foundation donor, gave 30 contributions to American political campaigns over a nine-year period, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Federal law has imposed a strict, across-the-board ban since 1966 on foreign nationals giving to U.S. political campaigns. The ban was later included in the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act. The only exception is for foreign nationals who possess a green card. The ban applies to all levels of political campaigns.
Wyss donated $41,000 to seven congressional candidates and to four national political action committees from 1998 to 2003, according to Federal Election Commission records under the name of Hansjorg Wyss.
Colorado campaign finance records also report that Wyss gave $50,000 to Coloradans for Responsible Growth in March 2000, a statewide environmental political action committee that closed its doors only two years later, in part because it reportedly never filed the required financial statements.
In April 2006, Wyss gave $10,000 to Jim Baca, a Democrat running for New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands, according to the State of New Mexico Ethics Administration.
Wyss has a long-term relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as with John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s present national campaign director and former White House Chief of Staff for President Clinton. Wyss committed $5 million to the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” program to empower women and girls in December 2013.
Wyss paid Podesta $87,000 for “consultant” services when the latter served as a top aide to President Barack Obama. Wyss is a major contributor to the Center for American Progress and a member of its board of directors. The center was founded by Podesta and has received $5.1 million from Wyss since 2011, according to Internal Revenue Service filings.
Lawrence M. Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, told TheDCNF contributions by a foreign citizen are a “serious violation.” Noble was general counsel at the Federal Election Commission for 13 years.
“If he doesn’t have a green card and he’s not a U.S. citizen, then he can’t give to U.S. elections,” Noble said.
Former FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith told TheDCNF that if Wyss gave the donations knowingly and willingly, “the FEC is pretty aggressive in referring this kind of violation to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.”
Although Wyss has maintained multiple residences in the United States since the 1960’s, he’s never sought U.S. citizenship. He said in a 2014 speech in Bern, Switzerland reported by the Swiss news organization Blick, “I only have a Swiss passport as a proof of identity. No Green Card. No American passport. So here I stand, as a true Swiss, in my homeland,” according to the Swiss media outlet Bite.
Documents obtained by TheDCNF show that Wyss is an E-2 visa holder, and does not have a green card. A Feb. 8, 2010, letter prepared by Wyss lawyer Joseph M. Sedlack said “HJW is lawfully in the U.S. pursuant to a ‘E-2VISA’” and “is not a permanent resident of the US under a ‘green card.’” Sedlack is with the Reed Smith LLP law firm.
TheDCNF also asked Carolyn Short, another Reed Smith attorney who represents Wyss, if Wyss was a U.S. citizen. She did not reply.
Noble said some foreign nationals might plead ignorance but “given his sophistication, he should he have known” that he was not permitted to give to political campaigns. Smith, the former FEC Commissioner, agreed, saying “the guy’s got access to some of the top lawyers in the country.”
In a related development, the Justice Department earlier this month refused to turn over documents sought by Citizens United under the Freedom of Information Act in seeking to understand why Wyss’ top four executives went to jail but he didn’t in a medical scandal in which five patients died as a result of an illegal drug testing program run by his former company.
Wyss was named in 2009 by a federal grand jury as the “Person No. 7” who directed the four jailed executives to ignore federal safety rules requiring the FDA’s prior approval of drug tests on humans. Wyss was CEO of the company, Syntheses, which paid a $22 million fine under the 2011 settlement that sent the four executives to prison.
Justice Department officials claimed release of documents, “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” They also declined to “acknowledge the existence of such records pertaining to this individual.”
Citizens United president David Bossie denounced the rejection, telling TheDCNF “the American people deserve to know what’s going on inside their government, particularly the activities of political appointees at the Justice Department.”
Wyss also now faces racketeering charges in a Washington State civil suit that claims he profiteered in the drug testing scheme that caused the death of 67-year old Reba Golden and four other people.
Additionally, he was at the center of a nasty sexual scandal that allegedly resulted in a private $1.5 million settlement with a former employee. The settlement came to light after Wyss made a $5 million commitment to the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” project designed to protect women and girls.
Dave Skinner, a researcher with the Hydra Project, noted that Wyss preferred giving funds through his private foundation rather than highly visible political donations. “He’s always been low profile. He’s always operated under the radar,” Skinner said.
Wyss has a penchant for secrecy, claiming in a May, 2011 Swiss newspaper interview that “nobody knows me, and I hope that it stays like this.”
Federal staff under Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez reportedly knew but ignored that Hillary Clinton was using a private and unsecured email to transfer sensitive government information, according to documents released Friday.
The America Rising PAC acquired the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request. They show agency officials knew that Hillary shouldn’t be using a private email long before the whole thing became a national scandal. She used the email to send sensitive government information. PAC Communications Director Jeff Bechdel argued Perez should be asked if he supported his staff ignoring the matter.
“Anyone who deals in governmental records knew immediately that Secretary Clinton’s private email was inappropriate and a brazen effort to duck Freedom of Information laws,” Bechdel said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “That includes Secretary Perez’s staff.”
American Rising conducts opposition research against Democrats. Critics have alleged Hillary may have used the private email in order to hide something. Hillary stored the emails on private server housed in her Chappaqua, N.Y. home. During an investigation into the matter, it was revealed she had deleted data from her private email server. Perez has already shown that he supports Hillary and her run for president. He endorsed her campaign Thursday.
“Perez should be asked if he agrees with Secretary Clinton or his own employees who identified Clinton’s unethical behavior immediately,” Bechdel added.
The information request asked for correspondence from Agency Records Officer Rachel Vera. The information revealed Vera knew immediately what Hillary did was inappropriate. She emailed with Office of Asset and Resource Management Director Tanisha Bynum Frazier on the topic.
“What in the heck was State thinking,” they reportedly said during the email conversation. “You may want to share with the group as to how NOT to handle things and how you can end up in nationwide news.”
The Labor Department did not respond to a request for comment from TheDCNF.
Just when she thought she had skated by on Benghazi and her email infractions, it now appears that Hillary Clinton’s woes on these issues may be far from over.
There is a largely unknown security scandal emerging, which centers not on the doomed U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi, but on the American Embassy in Tripoli about 400 miles away.
This scandal, combined with classified information on Clinton’s private server and sensitive material looted from the dangerously unprotected Benghazi compound, may spell trouble in Hillary Clinton-land, especially in regard to the presidential candidate’s national security credentials.
The larger stack of evidence, presented here by Breitbart Jerusalem, shows the astonishing scope of the Clinton State Department’s apparent failure to protect highly sensitive – at times classified – national security secrets.
In at least one case, sensitive information was likely obtained by our terrorist enemies in Libya, as a federal indictment charges.
In another case, classified communications equipment and hard drives housed at a dangerously insecure U.S. embassy reopened by Clinton were protected, embarrassingly, by a female office manager and other staffers – not by U.S. marines.
Forget Benghazi… take a look at Tripoli embassy security
The U.S. diplomatic facility in Tripoli was first upgraded to embassy status in 2006. Due to security concerns, Clinton temporarily shut it down during the 2011 revolution that toppled Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. In September 2011, after Gadhafi fell, the embassy was reopened.
The story begins in 2012, immediately after the embassy received notice of the first assault on the Benghazi mission.
Largely ignored in the firestorm surrounding the Benghazi attacks is the fact that – like the Benghazi mission – the U.S. embassy in Tripoli did not meet the State Department’s minimum security standards for a diplomatic outpost established without a security waiver from the Secretary of State.
These security standards were established by the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999, or SECCA, which was passed in the aftermath of two embassy bombings in Africa in 1998.
Rep. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), a Benghazi investigator who was the fifth highest ranking member of the House GOP leadership, declared on the House floor on January 15, 2014:
It was known in the State Department and at the highest levels that neither facility in Libya – the one in Tripoli or the one in Benghazi – met the minimum physical security standards set after our embassy was attacked in Kenya in 1998. Who made the decision to put so many American diplomats in those facilities that did not meet that standard?
Eric Allan Nordstrom, a former regional secretary officer in Tripoli who is now the supervisory special agent with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, confirmed that the Tripoli embassy did not meet the minimum standards.
At an October 10, 2012 congressional hearing on Benghazi, Nordstrom said:
Neither the buildings in Benghazi nor the buildings in Tripoli met those standards, nor was there a plan for the next phase of construction, what was called the interim embassy, would they meet the standards either. That interim embassy was scheduled to be on the ground for approximately 10 years. That was a major cause of concern, and that was the main physical security issue that we continued to raise.
Contrary to a misleading claim propagated by Clinton herself, there was no Marine Security Guard (MSG) contingent protecting the Tripoli embassy during the 2012 attacks. They were only deployed in the aftermath of the fatal Benghazi assault.
In her 2014 memoir, Hard Choices, Clinton claims there were marines guarding the Tripoli embassy:
So while there were Marines stationed at our embassy in Tripoli, where nearly all of our diplomats worked and which had the capability to process classified material, because there was no classified processing at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, there were no Marines posted there.
But the former head of Africa Command, General Carter Ham, testified before Congress on June 26, 2013 that “There was no Marine security detachment in Tripoli.”
Breitbart Jerusalem has confirmed with the press office of the U.S. Marines that no marine contingent was deployed in Tripoli on September 11, 2012.
These details are relevant because the primary duty of the MSG is to protect classified information and equipment vital to U.S. national security.
So who was safeguarding the classified information processed by U.S. officials in Tripoli under Clinton’s watch? In one case, it seems, one guard was a female office manager.
‘She was smashing hard drives with an ax’
In May 2013, Gregory N. Hicks – the No. 2 at the Tripoli embassy the night of the attacks – testified before Congress that about three hours after the first attack on the Benghazi mission, his staff in Tripoli was alerted to Twitter feeds asserting the terror group Ansar al-Sharia was behind the attack. Other tweets warned of a pending attack on the embassy in Tripoli.
Hicks described a scene in which the office staff began to destroy classified materials for fear of an attack.
“We had always thought that we were… under threat, that we now have to take care of ourselves, and we began planning to evacuate our facility,” he testified.
“When I say our facility, I mean the State Department residential compound in Tripoli, and to consolidate all of our personnel… at the annex in Tripoli.”
Hicks said he “immediately telephoned Washington that news afterward and began accelerating our effort to withdraw from the Villas compound and move to the annex.”
He recalled how his team “responded with amazing discipline and courage in Tripoli in organizing withdrawal.”
Continued Hicks: “I have vivid memories of that. I think the most telling, though, was of our communications staff dismantling our communications equipment to take with us to the annex and destroying the classified communications capability.”
“Our office manager, Amber Pickens, was everywhere that night just throwing herself into some task that had to be done. First she was taking a log of what we were doing,” he said.
“Then she was loading magazines, carrying ammunition to the – carrying our ammunition supply to… our vehicles, and then she was smashing hard drives with an ax.”
The vivid scene, however, was not mentioned once during Clinton’s Benghazi testimony last month or during her testimony on the subject in 2013. This despite Clinton being directly asked about the response by the Tripoli embassy during last month’s testimony.
The dramatic incident in Tripoli was also not referenced in the State Department’s own Accountability Review Board probe of the Benghazi attack.
Terror kingpin obtains sensitive documents… why not classified?
Major questions linger about why Hillary Clinton’s State Department did not classify the reportedly sensitive documents and material that ran through the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi. The material was clearly not adequately protected, as the assault on the mission summarily exposed.
During Clinton’s Benghazi testimony to lawmakers last month, Clinton claimed that unlike the Tripoli compound, Benghazi did not house classified material. She conceded that some unclassified material was left behind after the attacks.
It is instructive to focus on what materials were housed in Benghazi, especially in light of a November 2012 report by Fox News quoting sources in Washington and on the ground in Libya, including a witness, confirming computers were stolen during the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.
Also, two days after the compound was looted, the London Independent reported documents inside the U.S. mission were said to “list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups.”
And the Washington Post three weeks later reported documents inside the U.S. mission contained “delicate information about American operations in Libya.”
The Post revealed that one of its own journalists visited the vacated facility weeks after the attack and personally found scattered across the floors “documents detailing weapons collection efforts, emergency evacuation protocols, the full internal itinerary of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’s trip and the personnel records of Libyans who were contracted to secure the mission.”
Stevens’ itinerary at times also reportedly passed through Clinton’s private email server, including his exact whereabouts and movements while he was stationed in the Libya danger zone.
The 2012 Fox News report also divulged that after the U.S. mission was looted, some of the Libyans employed there received death threats via text message. It is unclear whether the threats were prompted by the stolen documents and computers.
Some of the sensitive information was obtained by the Ansar al-Sharia terrorist group, which was implicated in the Benghazi attacks.
Breitbart Jerusalem reviewed the 21-page, 18-count federal indictment against Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the Benghazi-based leader of Ansar al-Sharia.
The extensive indictment charges that Khatallah stole “documents, maps and computers containing sensitive information” from the Benghazi mission. The charge sheet further accuses Khatallah of conspiring to “plunder property from the Mission and Annex, including documents, maps and computers containing sensitive information.”
In other words, according to the federal indictment, Khatallah was partially motivated to storm the Bengahzi compound in order to obtain sensitive documents – materials that were ripe for the plundering in the unsecured Benghazi mission.
Echoing her e-mail controversy, during her Benghazi testimony last month Clinton was confronted about her seemingly ambiguous definition of sensitive and classified materials stored at the Benghazi mission.
One particular exchange on the matter may be telling:
CLINTON: We know it through our own investigation about what documents were at Benghazi, and there were no classified materials, to the best of our information.
POMPEO: Yes, ma’am. Do you know if there was sensitive information?
CLINTON: I suppose it depends on what one thinks of as sensitive information. There was information there and some of it was burnt, either wholly or partially. Some of it was looted. And some of it was recovered eventually.
POMPEO: Madam Secretary, do you know where that material that was looted went? Do you know into whose hands it fell? And do you know the nature and contents of that material? You seem very confident it wasn’t classified. I don’t share your confidence. But nonetheless, do you know where that material went?
CLINTON: I think that it – it is very difficult to know where it ended up. But I want to just reiterate the point that I made. This was not a facility that had the capacity to handle classified material. And there was, to the best of our information, Congressman, no classified material at the Benghazi facility.
POMPEO: Ma’am, the fact that it wasn’t capable of handling classified material doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any classified material there. Is that correct?
CLINTON: Well, the procedure is not to have classified material at such a facility. And again, to the best of our knowledge, there was not any there.
POMPEO: Yes, ma’am. You’re not supposed to have classified e- mail on your private server either.
CLINTON: And I did not, Congressman.
As the nation’s chief diplomat, Hillary Clinton was responsible for ascertaining whether information in her possession was classified and acknowledged that “negligent handling” of that information could jeopardize national security, according to a copy of an agreement she signed upon taking the job.
A day after assuming office as secretary of state, Clinton signed a Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement that laid out criminal penalties for “any unauthorized disclosure” of classified information.
Experts have guessed that Clinton signed such an agreement, but a copy of her specific contract, obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute through an open records request and shared with the Washington Free Beacon, reveals for the first time the exact language of the NDA.
“I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of SCI by me could cause irreparable injury to the United States or be used to advantage by a foreign nation,” the agreement states.
Clinton received at least two emails while secretary of state on her personal email server since marked “TS/SCI” – top secret/sensitive compartmented information – according to the U.S. intelligence community’s inspector general.
The State Department said in September that Clinton’s private email system, set up at her Chappaqua, N.Y., home, was not authorized to handle SCI.
The Democratic presidential frontrunner defended her unauthorized possession of SCI and her sending of emails containing classified information by claiming that the information was not marked as classified when it was sent or received.
The language of her NDA suggests it was Clinton’s responsibility to ascertain whether information shared through her private email server was, in fact, classified.
“I understand that it is my responsibility to consult with appropriate management authorities in the Department… in order to ensure that I know whether information or material within my knowledge or control that I have reason to believe might be SCI,” the agreement says.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the NDA.
According to government security experts, the type of information that receives a TS/SCI designation is sensitive enough that most senior government officials would immediately recognize it as such.
“TS/SCI is very serious and specific information that jumps out at you and screams ‘classified,’” Larry Mrozinski, a former U.S. counterterrorism official, told the New York Post in August. “It’s hard to imagine that in her position she would fail to recognize the obvious.”
Additional emails on Clinton’s server contained information that was “born classified,” according to J. William Leonard, who directed the U.S. Information Security Oversight Office from 2002 to 2008.
“If a foreign minister just told the secretary of state something in confidence, by U.S. rules that is classified at the moment it’s in U.S. channels and U.S. possession,” Leonard told Reuters in August.
Clinton’s NDA spells out stiff criminal penalties for “any unauthorized disclosure of SCI.” The FBI is currently investigating whether Clinton’s private email server violated any federal laws.
In addition to her SCI agreement, Clinton signed a separate NDA for all other classified information. It contains similar language, including prohibiting “negligent handling of classified information,” requiring her to ascertain whether information is classified and laying out criminal penalties.
It adds, “I will never divulge classified information to anyone unless: (a) I have officially verified that the recipient has been properly authorized to receive it; or (b) I have been given prior written notice of authorization” from the proper authorizes.
Mills sent classified information to officials at the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation in 2012, an email released by the State Department in September shows.
Mills’ NDA required her to inquire about the classification of information in her possession if she was unsure about its status. However, her attorney said that she “presumed” that the information she sent to the foundation was unclassified because it had been sent to her at her unclassified State Department email address.
Lock your doors or learn your lesson, that’s the message from New Haven police.
Officers in East Rock are starting a pilot program.
“Cars will be checked for visible valuables,” said New Haven City Spokesperson Laurence Grotheer.
If they see a valuable Grotheer says they’ll take it if you car doors are unlocked. They’ll leave a note and you can pick it up at the police station property room.
“I think it might work,” said Audrey who lives in the neighborhood.
“It seems odd,” said Kristen Zalota who lives in East Rock. “It’s an interesting way to combat crime I guess.”
It seems a little invasive, I’m uncomfortable with the idea,” said Corey Hassell.
Grotheer says there’s a *caretaker* provision in state law that allows them to do it.
“There is an exemption in standard search warrant provisions to allow for this caretaker action,” said Grotheer.
With the holidays coming officers typically see a spike in car burglaries. That’s what they hope to stop with this pilot program. When I asked about some feeling it’s invasive Grotheer says they should tell the police.
“I suppose that would be part of the feedback we would get and the trial would reflect that. The results of this pilot program,” said Grotheer.
New Haven civil rights attorney John Williams says police are the ones who should learn a lesson here.
“What they’re doing here is in my judgement is not questionable a 4th amendment violation. They ought to get sued. I hope they do get sued,” said Williams.
He says this pilot program is against search warrant federal laws.
Williams saidm “In effect what they’re doing is stealing these people’s property. They have no right to enter their car at all because just because it’s not locked doesn’t mean it’s not your private property.”
Grotheer says all laws are open to interpretation.
New Haven police did not respond to our requests for interviews.