As the Daily Beast puts it in their link to this Wall Street Journal article, the message from Clintonland is “sorry, not sorry.” Two months after revelations that the Clinton Foundation took millions of dollars from foreign governments during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, some of which represent the worst offenders of human and women’s rights in the world, the Clinton Foundation insists that they’re keeping the cash, as Mary Katharine also noted last night:
The board of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has decided to continue accepting donations from foreign governments, primarily from six countries, even though Hillary Clinton is running for president, a summary of the new policy to be released Thursday shows.
The rules would permit donations from Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the U.K.—countries that support or have supported Clinton Foundation programs on health, poverty and climate change, according to the summary.
That means other nations would be prohibited from making large donations to the foundation. But those governments would be allowed to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative, a subsidiary of the foundation where companies, nonprofit groups and government officials work on solutions to global problems.
In other words, this is nothing but a threadbare dodge. The main foundation fund won’t take checks from oppressive regimes, but their subsidiary will. Progress! It remains to be seen whether the national news media will swallow this as some sort of improvement, or take umbrage at the assumption the Clintons clearly hold about low intellect and integrity within the Fourth Estate. I’d bet on the former, but I’m willing to be surprised.
Even those countries still allowed to give to the main fund might create political headaches, James Grimaldi reports:
Still, even the allowed countries would pose issues for a Hillary Clinton administration. Canada’s Foreign Department has made Clinton Foundation donations and is also leading the charge to win approval for the Keystone XL pipeline. Germany and the U.K. are two of the five countries, including the U.S., that drafted an antinuclear accord with Iran. The U.S. and Germany also differ on how best to respond to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
True, but those are more normal policy headaches. Hillary Clinton will struggle to distinguish her own stands on foreign policy from Barack Obama’s, and shift blame for the disasters of Libya and Egypt on her own watch. Those will be bigger headaches for Hillary than this, but it still leaves the question of foreign influence on presidential elections — a question Reince Priebus plans to keep asking, according to Grimaldi.
Still, the biggest problem for Hillary remains: campaigning on Woman Power while her family foundation got fat on cash from oppressors. The baldfaced hypocrisy of the foundation’s acquisitiveness has some human-rights activists aghast, but not exactly active. One filmmaker working to raise awareness of oppression of women in Pakistan suggests that all candidates should pledge against taking money from the regimes who treat women as chattel. Raheel Raza’s proposal would be rather limited in application, though:
A prominent Pakistani-born women’s rights activist is asking presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, to pledge not to accept donations from foreign nations that oppress women. Raheel Raza, the Canadian journalist behind the documentary film Honor Diaries, is requesting all the presidential candidates, from both parties and both “men and women,” to sign her pledge.
“This week, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for President,” said Raza in a statement. “As a woman, I congratulate her, but as a women’s rights advocate, I’m concerned about the $13,000,000-$40,000,000 the Clinton Foundation reportedly took from regimes that persecute women, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE.”
Raza’s pledge is not limited to presidential campaigns, asking candidates to promise to “never take money from regimes that oppress women, even after I leave public office, including any libraries or foundations in my name.”
“If you’re running for President—and if you want women’s votes—you should sign ‘The Pledge to Women’ and say ‘no’ to money from regimes that forbid women to vote or run for office,” said Raza.
That won’t be a problem in the current Republican field. None of the candidates operates a family foundation with charitable activities that doubles as a parking place for their campaign talent. None of the potential Democratic challengers to Hillary do either. Perhaps Raza was just being polite, but why not speak out against the one national candidate to whom this applies by demanding that Hillary’s family foundation give the cash back or get out of the race? Wouldn’t that also be activism? It’s enough to remind one of the late 1990s, when all of those activists demanding an end to sexual harassment in the workplace rallied around the family who ruined those who endured it in the capitals of Little Rock and Washington DC.