Thursday, April 30, 2015



We have an interesting mix of devastating deflation in large leveraged assets, like homes and commercial real estate, and devastating hyper-inflation among scarce non-leveraged or less leveraged resource prices, like water and food. Prices of goods and services have doubled in a few short years, a 20-30% stabilized inflation rate.

Home prices are plummeting again nationwide, as there are few qualified buyers. Commercial real estate is being given away for any creative deal that unloads the seller. Yet, a crappy non-biodegradable fast food meal is $10-15 after the raft of national, state and local taxes. A decent car is $50-80K, a high end SUV will run you $75-$100K, and rolling coffin econoboxes are $30-40K. Gas is creeping back up as massive new national and state gas tax hikes bring it to $4-5/gallon even at $60 oil, $8-10/gallon if oil creeps back to $100.

The Dow is down 70% from year 2000 as measured in gold oz, or buying power.

This is typical pre-cataclysm price action. The United States of America is in its death throws.

There’s a word that both the Federal Reserve and the White House didn’t mention Wednesday that has played havoc with the U.S. economy this year — the dollar.
Search the text of the Federal Open Market Committee’s statement, or the statement put out by the White House after the disappointing first-quarter gross domestic product report, and you won’t find any direct mentions of the strength of the greenback.

Part of that is down to politics and the mantra that only the Treasury speaks about the dollar. Because, without mentioning the dollar, the Fed pretty well describes what has happened.
“Inflation continued to run below the Committee’s longer-run objective, partly reflecting earlier declines in energy prices and decreasing prices of non-energy imports,” the Fed said.

That doesn’t sound like much, but look carefully at the back part of that sentence — the reference to “decreasing prices of non-energy imports.” That’s another way to say that consumers and businesses can buy more stuff and services from abroad for less.

And, why is that? Because the dollar is up 26% against the euro over the last 52 weeks, and about 17% vs. a broader set of currencies as measured by the WSJ dollar index BUXX, +0.03% .

The White House allusion to the dollar is even more subtle. Written by Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, the White House statement does note that volumes of U.S. exports are sensitive to foreign GDP growth. This weak growth has of course helped the dollar to rise.

Furman has previously been on the record about the dollar being a headwind for U.S. growth. Whether the new tone is a result of pressure internally from colleagues at Treasury or more a political shift isn’t clear.

Either way, both the Fed and the White House are finding it hard to ignore the biggest elephant in the room.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015



Brooke Baldwin has apologized via Twitter. Will she, though, apologize on the air where she originally offered the smear? Or, like her colleague Carol Costello, who refused to apologize on-air after she told her audience to enjoy a recording of Bristol Palin’s assault, will she only offer a cowardly apology elsewhere?

Brooke Baldwin and CNN spread one of the most defamatory and unfair stereotypes about our veterans there is. They deserve an on-air apology and a full retraction.

Via Twitter, Baldwin is bizarrely attempting to deflect blame away from herself. I say “bizarre” because most of us first hear things from others. We then go through the grown-up process of filtering out anti-science smears. Baldwin chose to repeat this one:

After more than a year of CNN pouring gasoline all over America with hysterical, and oftentimes phony, stories of American racism, the left-wing network’s afternoon anchor Brooke Baldwin finally took it to the next level by blaming American veterans for the Baltimore riots.
In a pathetic suck-up interview with Democrat Congressman Elijah Cummins, Baldwin never once had the moral courage to ask the failed Baltimore City congressman if the left-wing policies ushered in by a half-century of a Democrat monopoly in Baltimore might have something to do with the city’s ills. Instead, she said of young military veterans who become police officers, “I love our nation’s veterans, but some of them are coming back from war, they don’t know the communities, and they are ready to do battle.”


The context was a discussion about increased training and retraining for the Baltimore police.

There’s no question Baldwin is hoping to launch a narrative with that smear.

This is pure CNN; throwing out anti-science smears towards the best people this country has to offer while it is in reality the rioters who are “doing battle.” It is savages who are looting and burning and causing anarchy, not the police. But it is the Baltimore police who have 15 wounded among their ranks. It is the Baltimore police who calmly did not do much battle during Monday night’s riots.
Baldwin and CNN just can’t help themselves. This is a cable news network that relentlessly launches Hate Campaigns to smear decent people, like Christians, as a way to deflect from the evils done by the Gaystapo and the thugs who are tearing down predominantly black, working class cities like Ferguson and Baltimore.

Essentially, what Baldwin said to the world was, “Don’t hire veterans! They’re too damaged to be trusted with authority.” We’re back to the Vietnam-era where leftists smear our heroes to cover up the real problems. CNN wants us to believe unstable veterans are the problem in Baltimore, not unstable families.

But she loves veterans.

Wine and live television tend to reveal just how ugly some people really are.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC

UPDATE: The Washington Free Beacon requested I link their YouTube page because I used their video.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Firms Paid Bill Clinton Millions As They Lobbied Hillary "Robthem" Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton accepted a total of $2.5 million in speaking fees from companies lobbying the State Department under Hillary Clinton. Pictured here at the closing Plenary session of the seventh Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) at the Sheraton New York Hotel on September 22, 2011, in New York City.

Former President Bill Clinton accepted more than $2.5 million in speaking fees from 13 major corporations and trade associations that lobbied the U.S. State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, an International Business Times investigation has found. The fees were paid directly to the former president, and not directed to his philanthropic foundation.

Many of the companies that paid Bill Clinton for these speeches -- a roster of global giants that includes Microsoft, Oracle and Dell -- engaged him within the same three-month period in which they were also lobbying the State Department in pursuit of their policy aims, federal disclosure documents show. Several companies received millions of dollars in State Department contracts while Hillary Clinton led the institution.
The disclosure that President Clinton received personal payments for speeches from the same corporate interests that were actively seeking to secure favorable policies from a federal department overseen by his wife underscores the vexing issue now confronting her presidential aspirations: The Clinton family is at the center of public suspicions over the extent of insider dealing in Washington, emblematic of concerns that corporate interests are able to influence government action by creatively funneling money to people in power.

“The dynamic is insidious and endemic to this system,” said Meredith McGhee, policy director of the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance watchdog group in Washington. "The fact is that the wealthiest .01 percent on the outside of government believes -- fervently -- that by paying speaking fees, or making campaign contributions, that it can gain access and influence."

Rules Do Not Apply

Federal ethics rules aim to discourage officials and their spouses from accepting gifts from interests “seeking official action” from a government agency. But the rules do not apply to speaking fees, said Craig Holman an advocate for tightened ethics structures at Public Citizen, a watchdog group in Washington.

The rules at issue “wouldn’t have any regulations that would make this illegal, unless of course there were a quid pro quo, and that would be a violation of the bribery laws,” Holman told IBTimes. “There isn’t an ethics rule that prohibits someone like Bill Clinton from charging exorbitant speaking fees and collecting those speaking fees from businesses that have interests before the administration.”

But regardless of the rules, he added, the dynamic through which President Clinton has been able to profit from the same companies eager to gain the ear of his wife’s department “poses a very troubling conflict-of-interest situation that is going to continue to dog Hillary over the course of the campaign."
The Clintons did not respond to IBTimes’ questions about the propriety of the speaking arrangements. A spokesperson for the White House referred questions to the State Department and the Clinton Foundation, neither of which responded.

When she became secretary of state in 2009, Hillary Clinton agreed to subject Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements to a conflict-of-interest review by an ethics counsel in Clinton’s State Department. Documents from Judicial Watch show the counsel’s office approving the bulk of the speaking engagements -- even those that came during or after periods when the firms paying Bill Clinton were filing disclosure forms notifying government regulators that they were lobbying the State Department.

The revelation that the Clinton family accepted money from 13 firms actively working to influence the Clinton-run State Department follows IBTimes’ report on Monday showing that Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton $200,000 just before the banking giant began lobbying the State Department. It also follows earlier IBTimes reports on money flowing into the Clinton Foundation from Pacific Rubiales and Cisco Systems just before Clinton took actions at the State Department that benefited those companies.

Ten of the 13 firms that both lobbied the State Department and paid Bill Clinton speaking fees did so within the very same three-month reporting period. This group includes five technology firms -- Oracle, Dell, Microsoft, SalesForce and VeriSign -- that collectively paid Bill Clinton a total of $1.05 million.

Federal records show that Microsoft and Oracle were lobbying Clinton’s State Department on, among other issues, immigrant work visas. Oracle was also lobbying in pursuit of legislation dealing with penalties for aiding espionage. Dell was concerned with tariffs imposed by European countries on its computer products. VeriSign was lobbying on cybersecurity and Internet taxation. SalesForce was lobbying on cloud computing, security controls and electronic privacy issues.

Three of the technology firms that paid Bill Clinton while lobbying Hillary Clinton’s agency also received lucrative State Department contracts. Microsoft received almost $4 million in such contracts after receiving none the year before Clinton joined President Barack Obama's Cabinet. Oracle received $6.5 million in State Department contracts, a large increase from prior years. Dell secured contracts worth more than $28 million, up from just $2.5 million in the year before Clinton became secretary of state.

A spokesman for Dell told IBTimes that the company had paid for President Clinton to address the company’s customers at a conference as a means of sharing his insights on global issues.

“As a former president, he has a unique perspective on world affairs and we were eager for him to share that perspective with our customers,” said the Dell spokesman, David Frink. He characterized Dell’s lobbying of the State Department as basic corporate engagement.

“Dell regularly communicates with the U.S. government, and is asked its opinion by government officials, on various subjects,” Frink said. “As a global company, we are happy to share our perspective on trade, technology, taxes and other issues that affect the company, our customers and our team members.”

Microsoft and Oracle did not respond to questions.

'Insightful And Informativ

Bill Clinton received $200,000 from the National Retail Federation in January 2012, during the same time period the group was lobbying the State Department. At that time, the trade association, which represents retail businesses, was opposing legislation to fight Chinese currency manipulation that could cost companies doing business there. The group said its payments to Bill Clinton had nothing to do with its work lobbying the former president’s wife.

“The National Retail Federation works with agencies and speaker bureaus to find prominent national and international leaders to address our members and attendees in the hope that they will find the remarks insightful and informative,” said Stephen Schatz, the group’s spokesman. He said the group’s events have featured similarly prominent speakers in the past.

The mining conglomerate BHP Billiton paid the former president $175,000 to speak at a board of directors meeting in Australia in June 2012. During that time period, the firm's federal disclosures show, it was lobbying the State Department about "mining interests in Gabon."

Other speaking fees flowed to Bill Clinton just before or just after firms lobbied his wife's State Department.

The trade association representing drug companies, PhRMA, paid Bill Clinton $200,000 to speak at its annual members meeting in April 2011 -- only weeks after federal records show it lobbied Hillary Clinton's State Department on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which could boost drug company profits by tightening patent protections for pharmaceutical products. After Bill Clinton received the cash from PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), Hillary Clinton gave a speech in November 2011 promoting the TPP.

Scott Coffina, who served as an associate counsel to President George W. Bush, told IBTimes the payments to Bill Clinton by firms lobbying Hillary Clinton’s agency are “worthy of an investigation.”

“Did she recuse herself from any matters involving foundation donors or entities who paid President Clinton for speeches or other services? Maybe she did, and if so, she should get credit for it,” said Coffina, a former federal prosecutor. “I’d also want to know the opposite — whether she intervened in a decision-making process on behalf of a donor or benefactor.”



Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a dubious record: she’s gone longer than any presidential candidate in modern history without appearing on a national television news network or conducting a sit down interview with national media.

Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, announced she would run for president via a recorded two-minute video message on Twitter Sunday April 12th. Following the announcement, Clinton dashed off to Iowa in her “Scooby” van without giving any time to the national press, and very little time – if any – to local reporters.

The New York Post reports that Charity Navigator, which describes itself as “the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities,” has added the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation to its “watch list” of problematic nonprofits.

This decision wasn’t made because of the Clinton Foundation’s remarkably lucrative sideline as a uranium superstore for Russian strongmen, but because its finances are opaque and dishonest, and because such a tiny amount of the money it rakes in actually goes to charitable endeavors. “The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid,” notes the New York Post. “The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.”

Good charities are supposed to put at least 75 cents of every dollar collected toward their mission. To put it mildly, the Clinton Foundation’s 6 cents on the dollar is well below that threshold. The Foundation’s “atypical business model,” as Charity Navigator very delicately put it, “doesn’t meet our criteria.”
Therefore, the Clintons ended up on a list of dicey “charities” right next to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, which is also able to file phony tax paperwork for years on end without much hassle from the Internal Revenue Service. Banana republics where political clout overrides the rule of law are wonderful, provided you’re one of the insiders. The rest of us don’t get to say “whoops, my bad!” and refile years of tax paperwork when the media catches us hiding millions of foreign dollars.

Charity Navigator isn’t the only watchdog organization with its back up. “It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons,” the Post quotes Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation.

Say this much for Hillary Clinton: she’s shamelessly brazen in her hypocrisy. She wrote an op-ed for the Des Moines Register saying we can “fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all” – at the very same moment her Foundation is refiling the paperwork on all those foreign millions they previously didn’t think were worth mentioning, and the entire nation is fighting its gag reflex over the endless tawdry stories of suspiciously favorable treatment given to big-money interests after they dropped fat wads of cash into the Clintons’ piggy bank.

Of course, when Hillary talks about getting “unaccountable money” out of politics, she’s talking about rewriting the First Amendment to silence critics of the pay-for-play Big Government elite. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision that has become such a favored hate fetish of the Left concerned an unflattering documentaryabout Hillary Clinton, after all.

But people who give megabucks to Hillary Clinton, using a variety of shady techniques? Those people are super awesome. Their money doesn’t make “our dysfunctional system” worse at all, even when Hillary and her operatives go to extreme lengths to ensure that money is as “unaccountable” as possible.

Clinton apologists are already field testing the “no smoking gun” distraction – as if nothing short of hidden-camera footage that shows Hillary accepting a burlap sack with a dollar sign painted on the side from Vladimir Putin, in exchange for a lead-lined briefcase full of uranium, is enough to qualify the Clintons’ finances as scandalous, or worthy of criminal investigation. Ask Bob McDonnell how the legal standards for “quid pro quo” corruption work, at least for politicians who don’t have the magic “D” after their names.

When that doesn’t work, Clintonworld will fall back on the “everybody does it” defense – and that’s the problem. The standard operating procedure of modern Big Government is a non-stop flood of big money traded for big favors. The only difference between much of what our federal and state governments do, and the nauseating corruption our forefathers would have relentlessly prosecuted as criminal conduct, is a stack of properly-filed paperwork.

Purifying politics by “cleaning up” the money in politics is a fool’s errand, if not a distraction pushed by Big Government acolytes. The problem is the amount of political influence for sale, not the sums of money paid to purchase it. We’ve passed a huge volume of transparency laws, good-government regulations, and campaign finance restrictions over the past few decades, and none of it stopped Hillary Clinton from peddling influence, evading oversight, and destroying subpoenaed documents.
This business of pretending the Clinton Foundation is a “charity” ties into another big problem we have to get past: the fraudulent equation of political graft and wasteful Big Government programs with charity. How many government programs could meet Charity Navigator’s standard of getting 75 percent of their incredibly vast funding to the poor and sick? And yet, we’re supposed to believe this corrupt and wasteful system is the only real method of ensuring social welfare. If you oppose throwing more money into the black hole of a mega-State whose finances bear more than a passing resemblance to those of the Clinton Foundation, you supposedly hate everyone politicians claim they want to help.
Something tells me the Clinton Foundation’s most… energetic donors will not pay much attention to Charity Navigator’s watch list.


Thursday, April 23, 2015


Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company … 

A Uranium One sign that points to a 35,000-acre ranch owned by John Christensen, near the town of Gillette, Wyo. Uranium One has the mining rights to Mr. Christensen’s property

The headline in Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when the newspaper served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”

The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.
But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one.
At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.
Frank Giustra, left, with former President Bill Clinton at a Clinton Foundation news conference in 2007

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.

The New York Times’s examination of the Uranium One deal is based on dozens of interviews, as well as a review of public records and securities filings in Canada, Russia and the United States. Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of the forthcoming book “Clinton Cash.” Mr. Schweizer provided a preview of material in the book to The Times, which scrutinized his information and built upon it with its own reporting.

Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.

In a statement, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, said no one “has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as secretary of state to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.” He emphasized that multiple United States agencies, as well as the Canadian government, had signed off on the deal and that, in general, such matters were handled at a level below the secretary. “To suggest the State Department, under then-Secretary Clinton, exerted undue influence in the U.S. government’s review of the sale of Uranium One is utterly baseless,” he added.
American political campaigns are barred from accepting foreign donations. But foreigners may give to foundations in the United States. In the days since Mrs. Clinton announced her candidacy for president, the Clinton Foundation has announced changes meant to quell longstanding concerns about potential conflicts of interest in such donations; it has limited donations from foreign governments, with many, like Russia’s, barred from giving to all but its health care initiatives. That policy stops short of Mrs. Clinton’s agreement with the Obama administration, which prohibited all foreign government donations while she served as the nation’s top diplomat.

Either way, the Uranium One deal highlights the limits of such prohibitions. The foundation will continue to accept contributions from foreign individuals and businesses whose interests, like Uranium One’s, may overlap with those of foreign governments, some of which may be at odds with the United States.

When the Uranium One deal was approved, the geopolitical backdrop was far different from today’s. The Obama administration was seeking to “reset” strained relations with Russia. The deal was strategically important to Mr. Putin, who shortly after the Americans gave their blessing sat down for a staged interview with Rosatom’s chief executive, Sergei Kiriyenko. “Few could have imagined in the past that we would own 20 percent of U.S. reserves,” Mr. Kiriyenko told Mr. Putin.

Now, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine, the Moscow-Washington relationship is devolving toward Cold War levels, a point several experts made in evaluating a deal so beneficial to Mr. Putin, a man known to use energy resources to project power around the world.

“Should we be concerned? Absolutely,” said Michael McFaul, who served under Mrs. Clinton as the American ambassador to Russia but said he had been unaware of the Uranium One deal until asked about it. “Do we want Putin to have a monopoly on this? Of course we don’t. We don’t want to be dependent on Putin for anything in this climate.”
Continue reading the main story

A Seat at the Table
The path to a Russian acquisition of American uranium deposits began in 2005 in Kazakhstan, where the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra orchestrated his first big uranium deal, with Mr. Clinton at his side.

Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining financier, wins a major uranium deal in Kazakhstan for his company, UrAsia, days after visiting the country with former President Bill Clinton.
Mr. Giustra donates $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.
UrAsia merges with a South African mining company and assumes the name Uranium One. In the next two months, the company expands into the United States.
JUNE 2008
Negotations begin for an investment in Uranium One by the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom.
Uranium One and former UrAsia investors make $8.65 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One investors stand to profit on a Rosatom deal.
JUNE 2009
Rosatom subsidiary ARMZ takes a 17 percent ownership stake in Uranium One.
Investors give millions more in donations to the Clinton Foundation.
JUNE 2010
Rosatom seeks majority ownership of Uranium One, pending approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, of which the State Department is a member.

Rosatom says it does not plan to increase its stake in Uranium One or to take the company private.
JUNE 29, 2010
Bill Clinton is paid $500,000 for a speech in Moscow by a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that assigned a buy rating to Uranium One stock.
Rosatom’s majority ownership approved by Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
Rosatom takes full control of Uranium One and takes it private.

The two men had flown aboard Mr. Giustra’s private jet to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where they dined with the authoritarian president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev. Mr. Clinton handed the Kazakh president a propaganda coup when he expressed support for Mr. Nazarbayev’s bid to head an international elections monitoring group, undercutting American foreign policy and criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, his wife, then a senator.

Within days of the visit, Mr. Giustra’s fledgling company, UrAsia Energy Ltd., signed a preliminary deal giving it stakes in three uranium mines controlled by the state-run uranium agency Kazatomprom.

If the Kazakh deal was a major victory, UrAsia did not wait long before resuming the hunt. In 2007, it merged with Uranium One, a South African company with assets in Africa and Australia, in what was described as a $3.5 billion transaction. The new company, which kept the Uranium One name, was controlled by UrAsia investors including Ian Telfer, a Canadian who became chairman. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Giustra, whose personal stake in the deal was estimated at about $45 million, said he sold his stake in 2007.

Soon, Uranium One began to snap up mining companies with assets in the United States. In April 2007, it announced the purchase of a uranium mill in Utah and more than 38,000 acres of uranium exploration properties in four Western states, followed quickly by the acquisition of the Energy Metals Corporation and its uranium holdings in Wyoming, Texas and Utah. That deal made clear that Uranium One was intent on becoming “a powerhouse in the United States uranium sector with the potential to become the domestic supplier of choice for U.S. utilities,” the company declared.

Still, the company’s story was hardly front-page news in the United States — until early 2008, in the midst of Mrs. Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, when The Times published an article revealing the 2005 trip’s link to Mr. Giustra’s Kazakhstan mining deal. It also reported that several months later, Mr. Giustra had donated $31.3 million to Mr. Clinton’s foundation.

Though the article quoted the former head of Kazatomprom, Moukhtar Dzhakishev, as saying that the deal required government approval and was discussed at a dinner with the president, Mr. Giustra insisted that it was a private transaction, with no need for Mr. Clinton’s influence with Kazakh officials. He described his relationship with the former American president as motivated solely by a shared interest in philanthropy.

As if to underscore the point, five months later Mr. Giustra held a fund-raiser for the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, a project aimed at fostering progressive environmental and labor practices in the natural resources industry, to which he had pledged $100 million. The star-studded gala, at a conference center in Toronto, featured performances by Elton John and Shakira and celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Robin Williams encouraging contributions from the many so-called F.O.F.s — Friends of Frank — in attendance, among them Mr. Telfer. In all, the evening generated $16 million in pledges, according to an article in The Globe and Mail.

"None of this would have been possible if Frank Giustra didn’t have a remarkable combination of caring and modesty, of vision and energy and iron determination,” Mr. Clinton told those gathered, adding: “I love this guy, and you should, too.”

But what had been a string of successes was about to hit a speed bump.

Arrest and Progress
By June 2009, a little over a year after the star-studded evening in Toronto, Uranium One’s stock was in free-fall, down 40 percent. Mr. Dzhakishev, the head of Kazatomprom, had just been arrested on charges that he illegally sold uranium deposits to foreign companies, including at least some of those won by Mr. Giustra’s UrAsia and now owned by Uranium One.

Publicly, the company tried to reassure shareholders. Its chief executive, Jean Nortier, issued a confident statement calling the situation a “complete misunderstanding.” He also publicly contradicted Mr. Giustra’s contention that the uranium mining deal had not required government blessing. “When you do a transaction in Kazakhstan, you need the government’s approval,” he said, adding that UrAsia had indeed received that approval.

But privately, Uranium One officials were worried they could lose their joint mining ventures. American diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks also reflect concerns that Mr. Dzhakishev’s arrest was part of a Russian power play for control of Kazakh uranium assets.

At the time, Russia was already eying a stake in Uranium One, Rosatom company documents show. Rosatom officials say they were seeking to acquire mines around the world because Russia lacks sufficient domestic reserves to meet its own industry needs.
Ian Telfer, the former chairman of Uranium One, in 2014

It was against this backdrop that the Vancouver-based Uranium One pressed the American Embassy in Kazakhstan, as well as Canadian diplomats, to take up its cause with Kazakh officials, according to the American cables.

“We want more than a statement to the press,” Paul Clarke, a Uranium One executive vice president, told the embassy’s energy officer on June 10, the officer reported in a cable. “That is simply chitchat.” What the company needed, Mr. Clarke said, was official written confirmation that the licenses were still valid.

The American Embassy ultimately reported to the secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton. Though the Clarke cable was copied to her, it was given wide circulation, and it is unclear if she would have read it; the Clinton campaign did not address questions about the cable.
What is clear is that the embassy acted, with the cables showing that the unnamed energy officer met with Kazakh officials to discuss the issue on June 10 and 11.

Three days later, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rosatom completed a deal for 17 percent of Uranium One. And within a year, the Russian government would substantially up the ante, with a generous offer to shareholders that would give it a 51 percent controlling stake. But first, Uranium One had to get the American government to sign off on the deal.

The Power to Say No
When a company controlled by the Chinese government sought a 51 percent stake in a tiny Nevada gold mining operation in 2009, it set off a secretive review process in Washington, where officials raised concerns primarily about the mine’s proximity to a military installation, but also about the potential for minerals at the site, including uranium, to come under Chinese control. The officials killed the deal.

Such is the power of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The committee comprises some of the most powerful members of the cabinet, including the attorney general, the secretaries of the Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy, and the secretary of state. They are charged with reviewing any deal that could result in foreign control of an American business or asset deemed important to national security.

The national security issue at stake in the Uranium One deal was not primarily about nuclear weapons proliferation; the United States and Russia had for years cooperated on that front, with Russia sending enriched fuel from decommissioned warheads to be used in American nuclear power plants in return for raw uranium. Instead, it concerned American dependence on foreign uranium sources. While the United States gets one-fifth of its electrical power from nuclear plants, it produces only around 20 percent of the uranium it needs, and most plants have only 18 to 36 months of reserves, according to Marin Katusa, author of “The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped From America’s Grasp.”

“The Russians are easily winning the uranium war, and nobody’s talking about it,” said Mr. Katusa, who explores the implications of the Uranium One deal in his book. “It’s not just a domestic issue but a foreign policy issue, too.”
When ARMZ, an arm of Rosatom, took its first 17 percent stake in Uranium One in 2009, the two parties signed an agreement, found in securities filings, to seek the foreign investment committee’s review. But it was the 2010 deal, giving the Russians a controlling 51 percent stake, that set off alarm bells. Four members of the House of Representatives signed a letter expressing concern. Two more began pushing legislation to kill the deal.
Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, where Uranium One’s largest American operation was, wrote to President Obama, saying the deal “would give the Russian government control over a sizable portion of America’s uranium production capacity.”
“Equally alarming,” Mr. Barrasso added, “this sale gives ARMZ a significant stake in uranium mines in Kazakhstan.”

Uranium One’s shareholders were also alarmed, and were “afraid of Rosatom as a Russian state giant,” Sergei Novikov, a company spokesman, recalled in an interview. He said Rosatom’s chief, Mr. Kiriyenko, sought to reassure Uranium One investors, promising that Rosatom would not break up the company and would keep the same management, including Mr. Telfer, the chairman. Another Rosatom official said publicly that it did not intend to increase its investment beyond 51 percent, and that it envisioned keeping Uranium One a public company.

American nuclear officials, too, seemed eager to assuage fears. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission wrote to Senator Barrasso assuring him that American uranium would be preserved for domestic use, regardless of who owned it.

“In order to export uranium from the United States, Uranium One Inc. or ARMZ would need to apply for and obtain a specific NRC license authorizing the export of uranium for use reactor fuel,” the letter said.

Still, the ultimate authority to approve or reject the Russian acquisition rested with the cabinet officials on the foreign investment committee, including Mrs. Clinton — whose husband was collecting millions of dollars in donations from people associated with Uranium One.

Undisclosed Donations
Before Mrs. Clinton could assume her post as secretary of state, the White House demanded that she sign a memorandum of understanding placing limits on her husband’s foundation’s activities. To avoid the perception of conflicts of interest, beyond the ban on foreign government donations, the foundation was required to publicly disclose all contributors.

To judge from those disclosures — which list the contributions in ranges rather than precise amounts — the only Uranium One official to give to the Clinton Foundation was Mr. Telfer, the chairman, and the amount was relatively small: no more than $250,000, and that was in 2007, before talk of a Rosatom deal began percolating.

But a review of tax records in Canada, where Mr. Telfer has a family charity called the Fernwood Foundation, shows that he donated millions of dollars more, during and after the critical time when the foreign investment committee was reviewing his deal with the Russians. With the Russians offering a special dividend, shareholders like Mr. Telfer stood to profit.

His donations through the Fernwood Foundation included $1 million reported in 2009, the year his company appealed to the American Embassy to help it keep its mines in Kazakhstan; $250,000 in 2010, the year the Russians sought majority control; as well as $600,000 in 2011; and $500,000 in 2012. Mr. Telfer said that his donations had nothing to do with his business dealings, and that he had never discussed Uranium One with Mr. or Mrs. Clinton. He said he had given the money because he wanted to support Mr. Giustra’s charitable endeavors with Mr. Clinton. “Frank and I have been friends and business partners for almost 20 years,” he said.

The Clinton campaign left it to the foundation to reply to questions about the Fernwood donations; the foundation did not provide a response.

Mr. Telfer’s undisclosed donations came in addition to between $1.3 million and $5.6 million in contributions, which were reported, from a constellation of people with ties to Uranium One or UrAsia, the company that originally acquired Uranium One’s most valuable asset: the Kazakhstan mines. Without those assets, the Russians would have had no interest in the deal: “It wasn’t the goal to buy the Wyoming mines. The goal was to acquire the Kazakh assets, which are very good,” Mr. Novikov, the Rosatom spokesman, said in an interview.
Continue reading the main story

Amid this influx of Uranium One-connected money, Mr. Clinton was invited to speak in Moscow in June 2010, the same month Rosatom struck its deal for a majority stake in Uranium One.
The $500,000 fee — among Mr. Clinton’s highest — was paid by Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that has invited world leaders, including Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, to speak at its annual investor conference.

Renaissance Capital analysts talked up Uranium One’s stock, assigning it a “buy” rating and saying in a July 2010 research report that it was “the best play” in the uranium markets. In addition, Renaissance Capital turned up that same year as a major donor, along with Mr. Telfer and Mr. Giustra, to a small medical charity in Colorado run by a friend of Mr. Giustra’s. In a newsletter to supporters, the friend credited Mr. Giustra with helping get donations from “businesses around the world.”

A Renaissance Capital representative would not comment on the genesis of Mr. Clinton’s speech to an audience that included leading Russian officials, or on whether it was connected to the Rosatom deal. According to a Russian government news service, Mr. Putin personally thanked Mr. Clinton for speaking. 
John Christensen in a field on his property in Wyoming that has been used in the mining process by Uranium One.

A person with knowledge of the Clinton Foundation’s fund-raising operation, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about it, said that for many people, the hope is that money will in fact buy influence: “Why do you think they are doing it — because they love them?” But whether it actually does is another question. And in this case, there were broader geopolitical pressures that likely came into play as the United States considered whether to approve the Rosatom-Uranium One deal.
Diplomatic Considerations
If doing business with Rosatom was good for those involved with the Uranium One deal, engaging with Russia was also a priority of the incoming Obama administration, which was hoping for a new era of cooperation as Mr. Putin relinquished the presidency — if only for a term — to Dmitri A. Medvedev.

“The assumption was we could engage Russia to further core U.S. national security interests,” said Mr. McFaul, the former ambassador.

It started out well. The two countries made progress on nuclear proliferation issues, and expanded use of Russian territory to resupply American forces in Afghanistan. Keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon was among the United States’ top priorities, and in June 2010 Russia signed off on a United Nations resolution imposing tough new sanctions on that country.

Two months later, the deal giving ARMZ a controlling stake in Uranium One was submitted to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States for review. Because of the secrecy surrounding the process, it is hard to know whether the participants weighed the desire to improve bilateral relations against the potential risks of allowing the Russian government control over the biggest uranium producer in the United States. The deal was ultimately approved in October, following what two people involved in securing the approval said had been a relatively smooth process.

Not all of the committee’s decisions are personally debated by the agency heads themselves; in less controversial cases, deputy or assistant secretaries may sign off. But experts and former committee members say Russia’s interest in Uranium One and its American uranium reserves seemed to warrant attention at the highest levels.

“This deal had generated press, it had captured the attention of Congress and it was strategically important,” said Richard Russell, who served on the committee during the George W. Bush administration. “When I was there invariably any one of those conditions would cause this to get pushed way up the chain, and here you had all three.”

And Mrs. Clinton brought a reputation for hawkishness to the process; as a senator, she was a vocal critic of the committee’s approval of a deal that would have transferred the management of major American seaports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates, and as a presidential candidate she had advocated legislation to strengthen the process.
The Clinton campaign spokesman, Mr. Fallon, said that in general, these matters did not rise to the secretary’s level. He would not comment on whether Mrs. Clinton had been briefed on the matter, but he gave The Times a statement from the former assistant secretary assigned to the foreign investment committee at the time, Jose Fernandez. While not addressing the specifics of the Uranium One deal, Mr. Fernandez said, “Mrs. Clinton never intervened with me on any C.F.I.U.S. matter.”

Mr. Fallon also noted that if any agency had raised national security concerns about the Uranium One deal, it could have taken them directly to the president.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, the State Department’s director of policy planning at the time, said she was unaware of the transaction — or the extent to which it made Russia a dominant uranium supplier. But speaking generally, she urged caution in evaluating its wisdom in hindsight.

“Russia was not a country we took lightly at the time or thought was cuddly,” she said. “But it wasn’t the adversary it is today.”

That renewed adversarial relationship has raised concerns about European dependency on Russian energy resources, including nuclear fuel. The unease reaches beyond diplomatic circles. In Wyoming, where Uranium One equipment is scattered across his 35,000-acre ranch, John Christensen is frustrated that repeated changes in corporate ownership over the years led to French, South African, Canadian and, finally, Russian control over mining rights on his property.

“I hate to see a foreign government own mining rights here in the United States,” he said. “I don’t think that should happen.”

Mr. Christensen, 65, noted that despite assurances by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that uranium could not leave the country without Uranium One or ARMZ obtaining an export license — which they do not have — yellowcake from his property was routinely packed into drums and trucked off to a processing plant in Canada.

Asked about that, the commission confirmed that Uranium One has, in fact, shipped yellowcake to Canada even though it does not have an export license. Instead, the transport company doing the shipping, RSB Logistic Services, has the license. A commission spokesman said that “to the best of our knowledge” most of the uranium sent to Canada for processing was returned for use in the United States. A Uranium One spokeswoman, Donna Wichers, said 25 percent had gone to Western Europe and Japan. At the moment, with the uranium market in a downturn, nothing is being shipped from the Wyoming mines.

The “no export” assurance given at the time of the Rosatom deal is not the only one that turned out to be less than it seemed. Despite pledges to the contrary, Uranium One was eventually delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and taken private. As of 2013, Rosatom’s subsidiary, ARMZ, owned 100 percent of the company.

Among the Donors to the Clinton Foundation 

Frank Giustra
$31.3 million and a pledge for $100 million more
He built a company that later merged with Uranium One.
Ian Telfer
$2.35 million
Mining investor who was chairman of Uranium One when an arm of the Russian government, Rosatom, acquired it.
Paul Reynolds
$1 million to $5 million
Adviser on 2007 UrAsia-Uranium One merger. Later helped raise $260 million for the company.
Frank Holmes
$250,000 to $500,000
Chief Executive of U.S. Global Investors Inc., which held $4.7 million in Uranium One shares in the first quarter of 2011.
Neil Woodyer
$50,000 to $100,000
Adviser to Uranium One. Founded Endeavour Mining with Mr. Giustra.
GMP Securities Ltd.
Donating portion of profits
Worked on debt issue that raised $260 million for Uranium One.