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Clinton Foundation Head Declines Questions About Congressional Inquiry

Hillary Clinton and Donna Shalala enjoy a laugh while speaking at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

WASHINGTON — Clinton Foundation president Donna Shalala dodged questions about a congressional request for all communications between the foundation and the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State.

Shalala was in Washington for a speech at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Leaders Summit, where the nation’s “healthiest schools” were honored. Following her speech at the event, PJM began to ask Shalala about the letter she received from House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) about the committee’s investigation into connections between the State Department and the foundation. Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) was copied on the letter.

Shalala, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under former president Bill Clinton, waved and walked away when PJM mentioned the letter sent to her by Chaffetz.

Later, after the event concluded, PJM started to asked Shalala if the foundation is going to release the names of all its donors.

“We already do,” she said as she went up the escalator of the hotel.

PJM began to ask a follow-up question but a Clinton Foundation staffer stepped in and said, “She’s heading to a dinner if you could just give us a minute. Thank you so much.”

PJM started to ask about the Oversight Committee letter when the staffer interrupted.

“She’s on her way to some personal activities, so we appreciate your understanding,” she said.

“My main question is why the Clinton Foundation accepted money —” PJM said before the staffer interrupted again.

To date, the foundation has reportedly not disclosed all of its foreign and domestic donors. According to a Reuters report in March 2015, “officials at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the foundation confirmed no complete list of donors to the Clintons’ charities has been published since 2010.”

Also, a recently released batch of emails have shown further connections between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.

Chaffetz has asked Shalala to provide all emails that were sent between State Department officials and foundation employees during Clinton’s time in the Obama administration from Jan. 21, 2009, to Feb. 1, 2013. Chaffetz gave Shalala a deadline of Sept. 15, which appears to have been missed.

A committee aide told PJM that Chaffetz received a “partial response to its letter on September 8 and is evaluating next steps.” The aide declined to share any further information.

Chaffetz wrote in the letter that the committee is “examining recent reports that State Department employees aided the William J. Clinton Foundation (‘Clinton Foundation’) during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tenure.” Chaffetz cited reports that State Department employees “interviewed applicants for Clinton Foundation positions” and that Clinton Foundation employees “contacted the State Department in an effort to find jobs for Clinton Foundation donors.”

The letter mentioned another report that stated Clinton Foundation employees “may have requested that Clinton aides at the State Department obtain diplomatic passports for them.”

“In addition to favors from State Department staff, Clinton Foundation donors also gained access to Secretary Clinton herself,” Chaffetz wrote. “The Associated Press reported ‘[m]ore than half the people outside of government who met with [Secretary] Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money – either personally or through companies or groups – to the Clinton Foundation.’”