ABC’s WNT Rediscovers Clinton Foundation Scandal After 13-Day Blackout

After having not covered the Clinton Foundation scandal since April 23, ABC’s World News Tonight finally returned to the story with a full report on its Wednesday broadcast about the Clinton Foundation’s lavish summit in Morocco and how the host owns a mining company that’s been accused of committing human rights violations. 

Anchor David Muir reintroduced viewers to the scandal following the 13-day blackout by touting the “growing questions about foreign donations” to the foundation as Bill and Chelsea Clinton are “traveling overseas for the foundation, holding an event just tonight” at a resort in Morocco.

Reporting from New York, chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross set the scene by simply noting how ironic the optics of the summit are: “On the outskirts of Marrakech, Morocco, at a five star luxury golf resort, the Clinton Foundation and its privileged guests gathering over welcome cocktails and canapes, to help the world's underprivileged.”

Concerning the growing scandal facing the Clinton family’s charity, Ross brought up how “former President Bill Clinton brushed off criticism about the millions of dollars in foreign money the foundation received while his wife was secretary of state” as well as the recently announced changes to which foreign governments can give to the foundation.

While Morocco is one of the countries that the foundation will no longer accept donations from, Ross explored the problems behind the person who’s funding the summit:

[T]he foundation event is being hosted by a controversial government-owned Moroccan mining company, the OCP Group, which gave $1 million. Human rights groups say the company's phosphate mines in nearby Western Sahara, promoted in corporate videos, violate U.N. provisions that to protect the people who live there. 

The ABC News correspondent added that “[t]he company denies the allegations, but it is spending lots of money to gain influence in Washington, according to Michael Isikoff of our partner, Yahoo! News.”

Ross then turned to Isikoff, who pointed out how the OCP Group has “spent over $1.3 million since 2012 to lobby its case before the State Department and other federal agencies.”

Before Muir returned to discuss with Ross the role Chelsea Clinton has played in the foundation’s activities since Hillary joined the 2016 presidential field, Ross closed his report with this: “Tonight, another lavish event for the Clinton Foundation’s supporters, held in great secrecy with no reporters allowed inside.”

As for Wednesday’s CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News, neither program mentioned the Clinton Foundation scandal after devoting full segments on Tuesday to hyping the response from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to the allegations.

When NBC Nightly News ran its segment on Clinton, the newscast ended a 12-day blackout of its own when it came to the Clinton Foundation scandal.

The transcript of the segment that aired on ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on May 6 can be found below.

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
May 6, 2015
6:41 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Clinton Controversy]

DAVID MUIR: We're going to turn next here tonight to Hillary Clinton's run for president, and growing questions about foreign donations to her husband's foundation. Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea traveling overseas for the foundation, holding an event just tonight and our team right there in Morocco at the Clinton Foundation Summit. ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross tonight asking, where is the money coming from and who is paying?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Clinton Foundation; Foreign Donations Raising Questions] 

BRIAN ROSS: On the outskirts of Marrakech, Morocco, at a five star luxury golf resort, the Clinton Foundation and its privileged guests gathering over welcome cocktails and canapes, to help the world's underprivileged. In his opening remarks today, former President Bill Clinton brushed off criticism about the millions of dollars in foreign money the foundation received while his wife was secretary of state. 

BILL CLINTON: I just work here, I don't know. 

ROSS: Now that Hillary Clinton is on the presidential campaign trail, far from the luxury of Marrakech, the foundation says it has put limits on future foreign donations. 

CLINTON: There's one set of rules that's for politics in America and another set for real life.

ROSS: The new rules include no more money from Morocco, but the foundation event is being hosted by a controversial government-owned Moroccan mining company, the OCP Group, which gave $1 million. Human rights groups say the company's phosphate mines in nearby Western Sahara, promoted in corporate videos, violate U.N. provisions that to protect the people who live there. 

RFK CENTER FOR JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS’s DAVID MCKEAN: Any time the human rights of a population are systemically suppressed in this type of way it's a serious concern. 

ROSS: The company denies the allegations, but it is spending lots of money to gain influence in Washington, according to Michael Isikoff of our partner, Yahoo! News. 

YAHOO NEWS’s MICHAEL ISIKOFF: It spent over $1.3 million since 2012 to lobby its case before the State Department and other federal agencies.

ROSS: Tonight, another lavish event for the Clinton Foundation’s supporters, held in great secrecy with no reporters allowed inside.

MOROCCAN GUARDS [TO CAMERA CREW]: No, no, no.

MUIR: And Brian is with us here tonight. We've seen Chelsea Clinton out with her father. She's defending the foundation tonight. 

ROSS: That's right. She's now taken an active role in the foundation, telling supporters the foundation continues to do good work despite all the criticisms and continuing questions about its finances, David. 

MUIR: Brian Ross tonight. Brian, thanks. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Africa Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Yahoo! ABC World News Tonight Video Clinton Foundation David Muir Brian Ross Michael Isikoff Bill Clinton Hillary Clinton
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