The State Department doled out $13 million in grants for longtime friend and Clinton Foundation donor Muhammad Yunus during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, according to federal records.
The grants were provided in 18 separate transactions from the U.S. Agency for International Development to the Bangladesh-based Grameen bank, according to a Sunday evening report from the Daily Caller News Foundation, for which Yunus served as a founding board member. Groups associated with Yunus through business relationships received an additional $11 million.
Yunus oversaw the distribution of microcredit loans to impoverished borrowers for the bank for over 30 years. Thanks in part to years of lobbying by former president Bill Clinton, Yunus received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for what the committee called "efforts through microcredit to create economic and social development from below."
When the Bangladeshi government in 2011 began investigating the bank over charges that funds had been mismanaged, Hillary Clinton intervened as secretary of state, contacting the country's officials directly in addition to holding a news conference in the U.S. to express "concern and hope" that the bank would "continue to function productively." Yunus was nonetheless forced out of his position later that year by his government.
While the information about State Department grants is relatively new, Yunus' previous ties to the Clintons are well-documented. Department emails released last year revealed that Amitabh Desai, the Clinton Foundation's director of policy, corresponded with Clinton's top aides at the State Department, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, about Yunus' situation in 2012.
The fact that Yunus has contributed more than $100,000 to the foundation casts doubt on whether that correspondence should have taken place. The FBI reportedly opened an investigation in January to probe whether work at the department was inappropriately commingled with work at the foundation.
"At the end of the day, you have Secretary Clinton traveling to a foreign country on an official trip urging a foreign government to stop investigating a donor to the Clinton Foundation," Citizens United President David Bossie previously told the Washington Examiner.
Yunus' defenders have suggested the investigation was politically motivated and have continued to praise the bank for serving low-income borrowers. They also take some comfort in the fact that the 75-year-old Yunus has never been convicted of wrongdoing. Instead, he was forced out of his position by regulators on the basis that he was legally too old to continue serving.