WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking the key government agencies involved for a full accounting of their actions to approve a controversial uranium deal, despite disapproval of similar foreign takeovers and amid potential conflicts of interest concerns over millions of dollars in financial donations to the family foundation linked to one of the designated decision-making agencies, the State Department under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“When millions of dollars flow to decision makers who have substantial discretion to provide support for or against approval of controversial transactions, public confidence in the integrity of the process requires a commitment to transparency and responsiveness to oversight inquiries,” Grassley wrote to the agencies.
Grassley is seeking details behind the acquisition of U.S.-based uranium assets by a Russian government-owned company. Such acquisitions are reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), whose membership includes the secretary of State and of which the Treasury secretary is the chair. The purpose of such reviews is to ensure that national security is not undermined by transactions that result in control of U.S.-based assets, such as uranium, by a foreign entity. CFIUS approved the uranium deal, despite having denied similar controversial transactions.
While Hillary Clinton was secretary of State and during critical stages of the uranium deal and CFIUS review process, the Clinton Foundation accepted multiple donations of millions of dollars from parties with an interest in the uranium deal, according to media reports.
“It’s unclear what led CFIUS to approve the uranium company transaction and whether the conflicts of interest involving the secretary of State and her family foundation were disclosed and vetted at the time,” Grassley said.
Grassley asked a series of detailed questions about these concerns to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Jose W. Fernandez, the State Department designee to CFIUS during Clinton’s tenure.
Grassley’s letters are available here, here, here and here.