A Clinton Foundation official asked an aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if the government would allow the well-connected charity to accept a donation from an oil company with extensive ties to Iran.
Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, did not deny the request when she received it in August 2012, instead asking the foundation official to clarify his point, according to an email obtained by Citizens United through the Freedom of Information Act.
The email shows Petronas, a Malaysian state-owned oil company, wanted to send CEO Shamsul Azhar bin Abbas to a Clinton Global Initiative event as a paying member.
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Abbas does not appear in the Clinton Foundation’s donor record, nor does the company he oversaw.
But Amitabh Desai, the Clinton Foundation’s director of foreign policy, raised concerns about Petronas’ commercial connections to Iran amid sanctions against the country.
“For years they were shipping oil to Iran,” Desai told Mills in an email. “Would the CEO attending CGI as a paying member be of concern for [the U.S. government]?”
Mills met Desai’s request with skepticism.
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