Reporters HAMMER tongue-tied State Dept. spokesman on Clinton disclosure agreement

Two veteran reporters reduced State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke to stuttering like Porky Pig while trying to answer questions about the Clinton Foundation’s lack of transparency with foreign donors.

In a video posted by the Washington Free Beacon, the AP’s Matt Lee asked Rathke a very simple question:  Is it a problem for the State Department that the Clinton Foundation didn’t follow through on its memorandum of understanding to annually disclose donors?

The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation agreed in a memorandum of understanding with the State Department to publish its donor lists annually, which it admitted it had not done in years.

Rathke ducked the question and said the State Department welcomes the “new commitments from the Clinton Foundation” to disclose its donor list.  Only those commitments came years later after Hillary Clinton was no longer secretary of state.

Picking up on Lee’s line of questioning, Reuters’ Arshad Mohammed asked, “What is the usefulness of a memorandum of understanding designed to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest if it was not adhered to?”

Avoiding a direct answer, Rathke said “we are not aware of any influence—undue influence—on decision-making.”

Undeterred, Mohammed asked again, “What is the usefulness of a promise that is not kept?”

When Rathke deferred again, Mohammed explained, “I’m talking about the failure of the Clinton Health Access Initiative to disclose on an annual basis from 2010 all new donors.”

“They didn’t do it.  They said they would do it,” he continued. “They publicly acknowledged that they didn’t do it, and they publicly acknowledged that they were bound” by the terms of their agreement.

Mohammed asked again.  “What is the usefulness of having a memorandum of understanding that is designed to promote transparency if the people who made the commitment to be transparent fail to do so?”

Rathke continued to evade Mohammed’s question, the answer to which is so painfully obvious that every twisted response he gave sounded more and more cringeworthy.

“The question is, if somebody says ‘I am going to be transparent’ and then they fail to be transparent, does that not call into question the utility of the agreement in the first place?” Mohammed said.

After Mohammed’s grilling, Lee resumed his line of questioning.  “It’s an easy question: Is it a problem for the State Department or not?”

The tongue-tied Rathke, having never answered Lee nor Mohammed’s questions, simply ended the interview.

“I think I’ve said all I’m going to say,” he said.

Rathke’s lack of an answer speaks volumes.

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Steve Berman

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