Charisma Caucus

Clinton Foundation CEO Admits to Pay-for-Play

Donna Shalala
Clinton Foundation CEO Donna Shalala confirmed pay-for-play "courtesy meetings" in the Hillary Clinton-led State Department as a result of donations to the foundation. (Video Screenshot Image)

During an interview Wednesday with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, Clinton Foundation CEO Donna Shalala, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, was asked to defend the foundation from claims it engaged in "pay-for-play" corruption.

Rather than deny that it happened, however, she confirmed it was going on—suggesting that it wasn't improper at all.

Mitchell first played a clip from a recent rally held by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. In it, he says, "It's called pay for play. Over and over and over people who donated to the Clinton Foundation or gave money to Bill Clinton got favorable treatment from Hillary Clinton's State Department."

After playing the clip, Mitchell asked Shalala, "True of false?"

"First of all, there is no question there were phone calls made to get appointments for people but Mohammad Yunus. A Nobel Laureate. Melinda Gates? These are people any Secretary of State would have seen, courtesy appointments," she responded.

Mitchell then asked if businesspeople got the same treatment as donors to the Clinton Foundation. And shockingly, Shalala didn't deny the accusation.

"There were also business people," she said. "No question. I don't see evidence that there was policy decisions made as a result of that other than courtesy appointments. And people in public life are used to doing that kind of—making courtesy appointments for people.

"I certainly did it as [HHS Secretary] with requests from Republicans in Congress so I don't find it unusual. We have to be careful that it's not linked to policy decisions as opposed to simply seeing prominent people that ask for appointments."

The Trump campaign didn't let that one go without a comment. Campaign spokesman Jason Miller said it "speaks volumes that the Clinton Foundation's CEO would casually admit on national television that its donors received access and 'courtesy appointments'" in the Clinton State Department.

"This is emblematic of the corrupt pay-to-play culture Hillary Clinton and those in her orbit bring to the table, where it so pervasive it is actually uncontroversial to those involved," he said. "This is why a special prosecutor needs to be appointed to independently investigate the growing evidence of corruption between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state."

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