Amar Singh is listed a donor to the Clinton Foundation, and also met Hillary Clinton to lobby for the nuclear deal in 2008.

news Friday, April 24, 2015 - 05:30
Less than two weeks after Hillary Clinton announced her decision to run for the President of the United States of America (USA), she has hit a roadblock. Reports have emerged in the US media that Hillary Clinton lobbied with the US government and the country’s legislators on behalf of commercial interests supporting the Clinton Foundation, run by her husband and former US President Bill Clinton. The favorite story so far has been the Russians getting help from the Clintons to grab uranium reserves in the US. But, our favorite is the Indian link. The Indo-Nuclear deal has had various protagonists in the last decade. From the Bush era to the near end of Obama's presidency, several corporate and political interests have lobbied with each other's governments to shape the deal to their own convenience, and for increased civil nuclear cooperation between India and the US. The dramatis personae, known so far, are the respective governments, US commercial interests like General Electric and Westinghouse Electric, Indian commercial interests like Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), the Indian National Congress under the leadership of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who spared no effort to get the deal through, and of course the peripatetic Amar Singh. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were involved in the US legislative process for the deal in their capacity as Senators, and later as Secretary of State and President of the US respectively. Lobbying for the Indian government in the US were also businessmen like Sant Singh Chatwal, who was later convicted for financial irregularities. What set the cat among the pigeons were media reports (click here for another one) in 2008 that Amar Singh was one of the most significant India contributors to the Clinton Foundation, donating anywhere between $1 and $5 million. Singh has since denied that he donated the money to the foundation, said that he had urged his well-wishers to do so. He was an important political operative throughout the nuclear deal, being a carrier of messages, and spreading goodwill amongst important stakeholders. Singh is even alleged to have arranged cash for Indian Members of Parliament to vote in favor of the nuclear deal in July 2008. What is not known very widely is that Amar Singh also made trips to the US to lobby with US Senators, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In an interview during his trip, when asked if Hillary would gather support for the deal, he said, “Yes. She assured me her full cooperation and Sant Chatwal has been actively associated with it (lobbying on behalf of the deal). I also requested Madam Clinton to put her weight behind this...” So here is what we know. Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation have close links with Westinghouse and GE. The Clintons, of course, are the most power political couple in Washington, with the capability to effectively lobby with the Hill and the White House, and beyond. Westinghouse and GE have commercial interests in the Indo-US nuclear deal, and have been linked with Clinton Foundation in similar deals with Russian nuclear interests. Singh is listed as a donor to the Clinton Foundation, and met with Hillary Clinton to lobby for the nuclear deal. Anil Ambani, known to be close to Singh, has openly voiced his interests in the nuclear deal which would open up the Indian nuclear industry to private players. Hillary Clinton played a significant role in the gathering support for the deal in the US, and has remained supportive of the deal in her capacity as the Secretary of State in Obama administration. To put it simply, Amar Singh, a representative of the then Indian government and Indian corporate interests, donated money to the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Foundation is closely linked to nuclear energy companies like Westinghouse and GE, who have commercial interests in the Indo-US nuclear deal. And, Hillary Clinton was a key player throughout the life of the nuclear deal, shepherding it through its many ups and downs. In the run up to the US presidential race, the Clintons will need to answer if Hillary's office and the Clinton Foundation were a front for corporate interests in the US and India, and for Indian politicians, to lobby with the US government and its legislators to sign off on the nuclear deal.  

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