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Linda Qiu
By Linda Qiu October 23, 2016

Do Clinton donors 'throw gays off of buildings'? No, that's ISIS

Donald Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway scolded "chest beaters" for criticizing Trump’s (false) claims of voter fraud while ignoring worrying donations to Hillary Clinton’s foundation.

"We respect the principles of American democracy," Conway said on Meet the Press Oct. 23, 2016. But, "if we’re so concerned about the principles of American democracy, as so many chest beaters were this week, ask Hillary Clinton why she takes tens of dollars from countries that hate women, that disrespect women, that throw gays off of buildings?"

We wanted to fact-check Conway’s claim. We found Conway is confusing a few points.

First, Clinton herself hasn’t taken donations from foreign countries, which is illegal for political candidates. The Clinton Foundation, however, has taken donations from countries that have poor records when it comes to their treatment of women and the LGBT community (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman).  

Second, Conway’s use of the present tense implies the Clinton Foundation continues to accept these donations, while the latest gifts came in 2014. The foundation has agreed to cease accepting foreign donations should Clinton win the presidency.

And finally, same-sex relations in some of these countries is punishable by death, but they do not "throw gays off of buildings." That’s something done by ISIS, which is obviously not a Clinton Foundation donor.

The donations

As part of a memorandum of understanding between the Obama administration and the Clinton Foundation when Clinton was named secretary of state, the foundation agreed to disclose its donors (reported in broad ranges).

The foundation has taken between $1 million and $5 million each from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman. Kuwait donated between $5 million and $10 million, and Saudi Arabia between $10 million and $25 million. (Qatar’s 2022 World Cup committee gave between $250,001 and $500,000 while "Friends of Saudi Arabia", a group the New York Times reports was started by a Saudi Prince, donated between $1 million and $5 million.)

The Emirati as well as part of the Saudi and Omani gifts came in 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Altogether, that’s $18 million to $50 million from these countries. The donations supported the foundation's charitable efforts and the countries are considered allies of the United States.

‘Hate’ and ‘disrespect’ women

Adult Saudi women must obtain permission from a male guardian to travel, marry or exit prison and may be required to provide consent to work or access health care, according to Human Rights Watch. They are also not allowed to drive or seek divorce.

Women in the UAE also have to seek permission from a male guardian to marry and, once married, the law mandates obedience to her husband. The country does not specifically prohibit domestic violence and allows for punishment with certain conditions.

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In Qatar, the same provisions for marriage and obedience prevail while marital rape and domestic violence are not criminalized.

Kuwait does not prohibit domestic violence, sexual harassment or marital rape.

Oman bans gender-based discrimination in theory, but women are discriminated against in divorce, inheritance and child custody cases in practice.

‘Throws gays off buildings’

PolitiFact Arizona has previously reported that extramarital sex, including same-sex intercourse, is punishable by death in the UAE and for Muslims in Qatar.

Men engaging in sodomy can be stoned to death and non-married men are subjected to 100 blows of the whip and one-year banishment in Saudi Arabia. They face up to seven years in prison in Kuwait. Kuwaiti law also prohibits "imitating the opposite sex in any way." Same-sex relations carry a penalty from six months to three years in Oman.

But Conway’s description of gay men and women being thrown off of buildings is not accurate for these countries. It is ISIS that throws men suspected of being gay off of buildings. As a terrorist group, they cannot and have not donated to the Clinton Foundation.

We asked the Trump campaign if Conway misspoke when she conflated ISIS’ actions with those countries that have donated to the Clinton Foundation. We did not hear back.

Our ruling

Conway said Clinton "takes tens of millions of dollars from countries that hate women, that disrespect women, that throw gays off of buildings."

Conway is talking about donations the Clinton Foundation has taken from U.S. allies is the Middle East for humanitarian project. Her statement is exaggerated and muddles a few facts.

Clinton, as a political candidate, cannot take donations from foreign countries. The Clinton Foundation has accepted $18 million to $40 million from countries that have treated women and gays harshly. The latest gifts came in 2014 and are not current as Conway implies. Furthermore, there’s no evidence that these countries have thrown gays off of buildings. Conway may have been thinking of ISIS, which has not and cannot donate to the Clinton Foundation.

We rate her claim Mostly False.

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Do Clinton donors 'throw gays off of buildings'? No, that's ISIS

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