The Washington Post reports that the Trump campaign blasted Hillary Clinton’s ties to for-profit universities in an email last week, making serious criminal accusations. These claims appear to be based on the book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich by Peter Schweizer.
“As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton laundered money to Bill Clinton through Laureate Education, while Bill Clinton was an honorary chairman of the group,” Trump said in the email statement. “Clinton’s State Department provided $55.2 million in grants to Laureate Education from 2010-2012. Laureate thanked Bill for providing unbelievable access to the Secretary of State by paying him off $16.5 million. This is yet another example of how Clinton treated the State Department as her own personal hedge fund, and sold out the American public to fund her lavish lifestyle.”
There are quite a few facts in there, but unfortunately most of them are wrong. Laureate Education is a giant network of for-profit universities across the globe. Bill Clinton was the honorary chairman of the group from 2010-2015, for which he was paid $16.5 million.
The State Department did not however provide $55.2 million in grants to Laureate Education at that time. The Washington Post could find no evidence of grants of this size, and it looks as though the State Department only granted Laureate $1.5 million dollars between 2009 and 2016. The vast majority of these grants were given out between 2013 and 2016, after the years of Clinton’s tenure as secretary. “The State Department is not aware of any grants provided directly to Laureate Education since 2009, though we are aware of some grants to educational institutions within or affiliated with the Laureate Education network,” said John Kirby, a State Department spokesman.
Trump appears to be confusing two similar organizations. International Youth Foundation is a sister company to Laureate Education, and the founder of Laureate Douglas Becker also serves as volunteer chairman of the IYF Board of Directors. The State Department did give this organization $52 million dollars in grants, though these two organizations are separate.
There seems to be no evidence that Laureate received the type of grants that Trump is claiming, much less any evidence that these grants were the result of a money laundering scheme to funnel money to Bill Clinton or that Laureate received “unbelievable access.” Trump did not say that there is the appearance of impropriety here that should be looked into, he made the wild accusation that “Hillary Clinton laundered money to Bill Clinton through Laureate Education.” That is a serious accusation, one that Trump cannot back up with evidence and seems to not have occurred at all.