A commitment to transparency, or a late attempt to cover tracks? The Washington Post reported last night that the Clinton Foundation had refiled its tax returns from the last four years. It leads off by claiming that the revisions are just to “more accurately account” for government-based revenue, but that “conservative critics of the foundation” would use the new filing to “raise new questions.” The Post then helpfully reminds people that the Clintons perform charitable works through their foundation, and twice reference president Donna Shalala’s insistence that this is no biggie.
The real story comes at the end of the Post’s article, emphasis mine:
According to Shalala, past returns accurately reflected the Foundation’s overall revenues and spending. Still, she said the forms had failed to properly account for the sources of the charity’s revenue, particular [sic] failing to note millions in government grants.
Shalala said “there is no change in our bottom line numbers: assets, liabilities, and net assets.” She said the decision to refile was based on the fact that the tax return “serves as a public disclosure document for our friends, supporters, partners, and the general public.”
The Foundation indicated that the amended forms also better denoted millions in income to the foundation that came as a result of speeches given to benefit the organization by Bill Clinton, as well as Chelsea Clinton.
Oh and by the way, their fundraising improved significantly in 2014, too. I wonder why?
The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation last year raised $178 million ― its biggest annual fundraising haul in five years ― as it prepared for a possible future without its two biggest names.
The fundraising tally was revealed in tax filings publicly released Monday night. They showed that the foundation finished 2014 with by far the largest cash reserves in its 17-year history ― $354 million (against only $22 million in liabilities).
Golly … donors got super interested just as Hillary was deciding to run for President. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.
But back to the tax refilings for 2010-2014. The overall numbers didn’t change, but now we find out that there were millions of dollars in government grants to the foundation that never got disclosed before? If that goes back four years, then that coincides with Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Who directed government grants to a foundation set up by a high-ranking government official? Did those grants come from the State Department? If so, who approved them?
The income stream from Bill and Chelsea is somewhat less surprising, but still curiously omitted from tax disclosures during Hillary’s tenure at State. Why not break those out earlier? Are there connections to countries and other entities with business at State at the time?
The Post seems curiously incurious on these points, especially since the foundation at least appears to have only reluctantly gotten around to disclosing this income from the same time that Hillary was at State. Shouldn’t these be worth a question or two from “conservative critics,” and perhaps the media, too?
Update: Well, well, well. According to Reuters via the Huffington Post, it’s six years, and the government revenue wasn’t from the US (via Gabriel Malor):
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and an associated charity refiled tax returns for six years with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to amend their reporting of donations from foreign governments and other errors, the charities said on Monday.
The foundation refiled its Form 990 tax returns for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, while the Clinton Health Access Initiative refiled its returns for 2012 and 2013 after Reuters discovered errors in the forms earlier this year.
Suddenly the foundation wants to be more transparent about foreign government revenue during the period when Hillary ran the State Department. And then, only because Reuters discovered “errors” when investigating their returns. Golly, do you think the rest of the media will ask questions about this now … or will it just be “conservative critics”?