On Monday night, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC combined to ignore the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal with zero coverage of it in their evening newscasts. ABC and NBC also failied to mention the growing controversy surrounding the millions of dollars in donations to the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments and individuals associated with them.
The CBS Evening News, however, stood out as the lone network to even mention the Clintons with a report from CBS News correspondent Julianna Goldman that scrutinized the millions in donations from foreign individuals and spotlighted one member of Chinese parliament who gave $2 million to the organization in 2013.
Anchor Scott Pelley led off the segment by declaring that “another controversy is bubbling up” for Clinton even before she officially announces her candidacy for president with this one involving the foundation started by the Clinton family.
Pelley noted a promise from the foundation that it would not accept donations from foreign governments if Clinton mounts a run for the White House, but he wondered: “[B]ut what about donations from foreign companies linked to their governments?”
>> Read our full coverage of the Hillary Clinton e-mail and Clinton Foundation scandals here<<
Following an opening soundbite from Clinton, Goldmann brought up the “$42 million from foreign governments” as well as a CBS News analysis that found donations totaling “at least $170 million from foreign individuals, organizations and companies covering a range of industries, such as banking, energy and shipping.”
Billionaire and delegate to Chinese parliament Wang Wenliang became the central focus for the remainder of the segment as his business Rilin Enterprises had “pledged $2 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2013” and built the Chinese Embassy in the United States.
In addition, Goldman reported on the less-than-stellar record of Rilin Enterprises:
Even so, the company has faced a long history of complaints regarding its treatment of construction workers at its various building sites. Documents show Wenliang was cited twice by Jersey City officials for housing workers in crowded conditions. The company says the charges from 2011 were settled and the 2013 charges were dismissed.
Goldman concluded her segment by continuing to raise concerns about the Clinton Foundation: “Campaign finance law prohibit foreign interests from investing in U.S. elections, and Scott, the concern is that a donor today could be looking for something in return from a future president.”
Earlier on Monday, Goldman filed a similar but lengthier report on CBS This Morning while ABC’s Good Morning America covered the Clinton e-mail scandal with a report from ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.
Instead of mentioning either one of the current Clinton scandals, both ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir and NBC Nightly News dedicated a full segment and brief, respectively, to the millions filling out brackets ahead of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament (otherwise known as March Madness) that officially begins on Tuesday.
The relevant portions of the transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on February 16 are transcribed below.
CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
March 16, 2015
6:42 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Questionable Donations]
SCOTT PELLEY: Now for the race to the White House. Before Hillary Clinton is even officially in it, another controversy is bubbling up. While she was Secretary of State, the Clinton charitable Foundation stopped, for the most part, taking donations from foreign governments, and it says it will likely do the same again if she runs for president, but what about donations from foreign companies linked to their governments?
JULIANNA GOLDMAN: Since its founding, the Clinton Foundation has raised at least $42 million from foreign governments, and according to an analysis by CBS News, at least $170 million from foreign individuals, organizations and companies covering a range of industries, such as banking, energy and shipping.
CLINTON: We're now up to more than $3,100 commitments.
GOLDMAN: Like Rilin Enterprises, a Chinese construction and trade conglomerate that pledged $2 million to the Clinton foundation in 2013. It's run by billionaire Wang Wenliang, who’s a delegate to the Chinese parliament and the firm was one of the contractors that built the Chinese embassy.
JIM MANN: You want to have the closest security and intelligence connections with the company that's going to build your embassy.
GOLDMAN: Jim Mann has written several books on China's relationship with the U.S.
MANN: If the point is that you're not going to take money from foreign governments, then his construction company is as close to not just the Chinese government, but its ministry of state security as they could possibly be.
GOLDMAN: In a statement, a Rilin spokesperson says Wang has a “long history of generous philanthropic giving” and “The Clinton Foundation is one of the many organizations Mr. Wang has donated to.” Even so, the company has faced a long history of complaints regarding its treatment of construction workers at its various building sites. Documents show Wenliang was cited twice by Jersey City officials for housing workers in crowded conditions. The company says the charges from 2011 were settled and the 2013 charges were dismissed. Campaign finance law prohibit foreign interests from investing in U.S. elections, and Scott, the concern is that a donor today could be looking for something in return from a future president.