Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The Justice Department is investigating whether the Clinton Foundation acted illegally while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
The probe, which was first reported by the Hill, is being led by the Federal Bureau of Investigations field office in Little Rock, Arkansas, and is overseen by the U.S. attorney's office in the state.
According to the Hill, FBI agents interviewed at least one witness in the past month and will likely take further action in the coming weeks as officials examine whether the Clintons took part in any pay-to-play schemes, possibly promising political favors in exchange for foundation donations.
Investigators also intend to see if the foundation follow tax codes or whether it converted tax-exempt assets for personal or political use.
It is not immediately known what specific donations are under investigation and what new evidence, if any, may have triggered the current investigation. There is skepticism that the probe will lead to any official charges.
On Friday morning, Nick Merrill, Clinton's chief spokesman, said the investigation was "disgraceful."
"Let's call this what it is: a sham," Merrill said. "This is a philanthropy that does life-changing work, which Republicans have tried to turn into a political football. It began with a now long-debunked project spearheaded by Steve Bannon during the presidential campaign. It continues with Jeff Sessions doing Trump's bidding by heeding his calls to meddle with a department that is supposed to function independently."
Craig Minassian, spokesman for the Clinton Foundation, said the inquiry wouldn't interfere with the organization's charitable acts -- for which it has raised billions of dollars from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Algeria.
"Time after time, the Clinton Foundation has been subjected to politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false. None of this has made us waver in our mission to help people," Minassian said. "The Clinton Foundation has demonstrably improved the lives of millions of people across America and around the world while earning top ratings from charity watchdog groups in the process."
Both as a candidate and during his time in office, U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for an inquiry into his former political rival.
The Clinton Foundation investigation is separate from the FBI investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state during her presidential campaign.