Secretaries of State get used to a lot of travel, especially those who manage to stick around for a full presidential term as Hillary Clinton did. Lesser mortals would have to adjust to life outside the fast lane, but not the presumed frontrunner in the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination sweepstakes. According to documents reviewed by America Rising, the charitable foundation created by the Clintons spent almost $8.5 million on travel costs for the former First Couple in 2013:
Earlier this week, the Clinton Foundation released its IRS Form 990 for 2013, which details questionable spending practices, including $8.4 million in travel spending, that could benefit an upcoming Presidential campaign.
“The Clinton Foundation has raised hundreds of millions that it claims is for charitable causes, but clearly overlaps with Hillary Clinton’s political ambitions. The Foundation must be transparent in all spending so voters can see how it used charitable funds to subsidize expensive air travel, a lavish personal lifestyle, the courting of political donors, or other campaign related travel,” said America Rising PAC Executive Director Tim Miller.
“With 10 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s spending going toward ‘travel,’ and the Foundation’s acknowledgement that it approves chartered private jet flights for Bill and Hillary Clinton, it’s past time for the self-described ‘most transparent person in public life’ to provide a detailed accounting of how her family foundation spends the money it raises,” he added.
Politico’s Maggie Haberman picks up the story about the charity‘s expenditures:
The travel expenses were nearly double the total in previous years. The filing indicates that the increase was related to the Clinton Global Initiative, which was spun off as a separate entity during the four years Hillary Clinton was secretary of state to avoid conflicts of interest, then reincorporated last year into the Foundation.
But the filings come at a time when both Bill and Hillary Clinton have been under scrutiny for their exclusive travel, particularly Hillary Clinton. The bill for political campaigns to pay for the Clintons’ travel during the fall midterm season is likely to top $1 million. …
Clinton’s only political travel in 2013 was related to Terry McAuliffe, the Clintons’ longtime friend who won the Virginia governorship that year. The rest of her travel public travel appeared to be for paid speeches, which were covered by the entity she was speaking to, according to contract terms.
Based on her public schedules from last year, her foundation-related travel appears to have been minimal.
If that’s the case — and previously-uncovered speaking contracts indicate that the venues normally covered those travel costs — then how did a charitable foundation spend over $8 million in a year on travel? Do other charitable foundations spend 10% of their budget on private jets and other trappings of One Percenter travel? How did such a high bill get rung up when Hillary supposdly didn’t even do that much travel for the foundation?
The purpose of this charity is, of course, to keep the Clinton donor machine momentum moving forward towards the 2016 campaign. It’s also to keep Hillary’s profile high and to provide a shield for the avalanche of money the Clintons have made since leaving the White House “dead broke.” It makes one wonder how much the Clinton Foundation spent on Hillary’s travel in 2014, although it’s almost certain that her team made sure to comply with the letter of the law. The foundation ripped America Rising for alleging that the travel costs picked up by the foundation were explicitly political. “There was no overlap. Period,” her spokesman told Haberman. “The accusation is patently, but not surprisingly given its source, false.”
I’d bet that they complied with the law, but let’s not kid ourselves. The entire point of the Clinton Foundation is politics, especially to add gravitas to Hillary’s next run for the presidency. If this foundation had any other real purpose, the spending of $8.5 million in a year on private jets and first-class travel would be a monstrosity. Charity for the Clintons begins at home, and ends on the Gulfstream.