A congressional hearing on the Clinton Foundation turned into a fiasco on Thursday after Republicans clashed with their own witnesses — two private investigators who refused to turn over documents that they claimed showed evidence of criminal wrongdoing at the Clinton Foundation.
John Moynihan and Larry Doyle, financial analysts who say they have uncovered evidence of pay-to-play and financial crimes at the Clinton Foundation, were invited to testify on their findings by the House Oversight Committee’s Republican Chairman Mark Meadows.
But tensions erupted between Meadows and the two witnesses after Moynihan and Doyle refused to turn over 6,000 pages of documents that they say back up their claims — documents that the pair has already given to the FBI and the IRS.
“If you’re not going to share [the documents] with the committee and cut to the chase, my patience is running out,” said Meadows. After consulting briefly with their attorney, who was present, Moynihan and Doyle said they still would not turn over their report but would answer questions about it.
Moynihan is a private financial investigator whose online biography says he previously worked for the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency. Doyle said he went into financial investigation after a career on Wall Street.
During their testimony, Moynihan and Doyle said they carried out an extensive forensic investigation of the Clinton Foundation based on public records, tax filings, and private interviews with Clinton Foundation officials. The investigators said Clinton Foundation CFO Andrew Kessel admitted to them in a taped conversation that Bill Clinton used the foundation’s bank accounts for personal expenses.
“He told us that Mr. Clinton mixed and matched his personal business with that of the foundation,” said Moynihan.
They also said they viewed foundation emails from 2002 discussing deals with the government of Mozambique. Moynihan said this was evidence that the Clinton Foundation was working on behalf of foreign governments even though the foundation’s stated mission in IRS filings at the time was to build Bill Clinton’s presidential library.
“The foundation began working as an agent of a foreign government early in its life and continued” to do so, said Moynihan.
Moynihan and Doyle said they could not turn over the documents from their investigation to the committee because they did not want to infringe on ongoing investigations at government agencies.
They said they hope to make money off their investigation and have turned over the documents to the IRS as part of a “probable cause” submission. The IRS does sometimes pay whistleblowers and tipsters from taxes they recoup in such cases.
But Meadows questioned that explanation, saying he spoke to the IRS before the hearing and was told the witnesses’ work with the committee would have no impact on the status of the IRS investigation. “I don’t find how [refusing to turn over information] provides a good foundation for truth and transparency,” said Meadows.
Republican Rep. Jody Hice also criticized the witnesses. “I feel like you’re using us for your own benefit,” said Hice, adding that there was a “little game going on here.”
Moynihan argued that he and Doyle were invited to the hearing and would have happily not attended. “Let me be very clear. You invited us. If you don’t want us, disinvite us,” he said.
Moynihan added that there was no benefit to sharing the documents with the committee because congress doesn’t have law enforcement capabilities. “That’s why we presented to government agencies, which you’re not,” said Moynihan. Meadows promised to subpoena the documents from his witnesses.
“Don’t get cute with me,” he told Moynihan. “I thought you said you were all about the rule of law, all about the truth.”
Thursday’s hearing will be the last one led this year by Meadows, who will hand over the chairman’s gavel to the incoming House Democratic majority at the beginning of 2019.
Meadows said the hearing was necessary in light of news that the foundation’s donations plummeted by 58 percent after Hillary Clinton lost the election. The drop in contributions "could suggest pay to play activity in the years prior to the decrease in donations," said Meadows.
Meadows also expressed disappointment that the Department of Justice declined to send U.S. Attorney John Huber, who is reportedly investigating the foundation, to testify on Thursday.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, the ranking Democrat on the committee, objected to the hearing as a rehash of "conspiracy theories."
"It’s two weeks before Christmas and my Republican friends are re-gifting an old trope that needs desperate reworking," said Connolly.