Before there was controversy surrounding the Clinton Foundation, there was the alleged bribery and kickbacks surrounding the Bill Clinton Library.
Well, it’s back — just days before the presidential election.
Monday, the FBI released an archive of documents from an investigation into President Bill Clinton’s controversial 2001 presidential pardon of a fugitive financier, and the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton isn’t pleased.
The 129 pages of heavily censored material about Bill Clinton’s presidential pardon of Marc Rich were published Monday on the FBI’s Freedom of Information Act webpage and noted by one of the bureau’s Twitter accounts Tuesday.
The newly released documents reveal details from a 2001 federal investigation into Bill Clinton’s pardon at the end of his administration of Marc Rich, who was indicted in 1983 and evaded prosecution in Switzerland. Rich died in 2013.
Clinton suspiciously pardoned Rich after a massive donation to his presidential library was made.
The FBI documents cited public records showing that an unidentified person donated to “the William J. Clinton Foundation, a foundation that supports the Clinton presidential library.”
Rich’s ex-wife, Denise Rich, pledged a $450,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation’s project to develop and build the presidential facility. The new FBI archive does not name Denise Rich, but FBI agents sought to talk to her as part of the probe into her former husband’s pardon.
Despite the extensive redactions, the FBI archive cites evidence being prepared for a federal grand jury, agents’ reports and internal memos. Agents appeared to be interested in a New York dinner in which the Rich pardon may have been discussed.
The federal probe started under then-U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, who now heads the Securities and Exchange Commission for the Obama administration. When White left office in 2003, she was replaced by James Comey, the FBI director now under fire by Clinton for notifying Congress last week about his agency’s decision to review emails to and from Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
The Rich investigation did not lead to federal charges under Comey and the case was closed in 2005.
The Clinton campaign questioned the bureau’s decision to make the file public so close to Tuesday’s election.
“Absent a (Freedom of Information Act) deadline, this is odd,” Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted. “Will FBI be posting docs on Trumps’ housing discrimination in ’70s?” Fallon’s reference was to news accounts of a 1973 federal housing discrimination lawsuit, later settled, against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
But their complaints of a double standard are way off. Earlier in October, the FBI unit published historical files as far back as 1966 about Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump. The FBI has also conducted multiple investigations into Trump’s ties with Russia, CNN reported, but have come up without a single criminal connection
In response to questions Tuesday from The Associated Press, the FBI said that the Marc Rich documents “became available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI’s public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures.” The bureau said that under law, documents requested three or more three times are made public “shortly after they are processed.” That processing, the bureau said, is on a “first in, first out basis.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.