Top Justice Department officials pushed for a public corruption probe of the Clinton Foundation earlier this year, but were overruled by their colleagues after a bank alerted the FBI to the "suspicious activity" of a foreign donor to the charity.
Three Justice Department field offices agreed that the agency should pursue the investigation at the behest of the FBI, CNN reported Thursday.
During a previously unreported meeting earlier this year, high-ranking Justice Department officials clashed over the possibility of pursuing a public corruption investigation. According to CNN, the agency had already looked into the Clinton Foundation in 2015 following the publication of a book, Clinton Cash, that detailed allegations of influence peddling.
Hillary Clinton's involvement in the activities of foundation donors while serving as secretary of state has raised questions about whether she followed the ethics requirements imposed on her and her husband at the outset of her tenure.
While the FBI announced last month its intention to close a year-long probe of Clinton's private email use without recommending charges, the law enforcement agency had remained silent on the existence of a separate, rumored investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
The revelations have given Republicans fresh opportunities to address the controversies surrounding the Clinton Foundation.
"The fact that multiple FBI field offices sought a public corruption probe into the Clinton Foundation is the latest in a growing list of damning revelations exposing Hillary Clinton's unethical wheeling and dealing at the State Department," said Michael Short, spokesman for the Republican National Committee.