When the Clintons released their 2015 tax returns Friday, Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller noticed something about the couple’s charitable giving:
Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill deducted $1,042,000 in charitable contributions last year — $1 million of which went to their own family non-profit, the Clinton Foundation…
The documents show that the power couple earned $10,745,378 last year, mostly on income earned from giving public speeches.
The other $42,000? That went to a PGA golf event.
The couple’s giving in 2015 is really par for the course. As ABC’s Liz Kreutz points out, nearly all of the Clinton’s charitable giving since 2007 has been to their own charity:
At least 98.5% of the Clintons' charitable donations from 2007-2015 have gone directly to Clinton Foundation or Clinton Global Initiative.
— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) August 12, 2016
The Clinton Foundation is a very unusual charity. The group Charity Watch determined that 88% of the money given to the Foundation was spent on programs, as opposed to overhead. However, a review of the group’s tax filings by the Federalist found that millions of dollars considered program expenses were actually things like travel costs, office supplies and money spent on conferences.
In 2013, the NY Post concluded the Foundation had spent $50 million on travel expenses since 2003:
According to previously undisclosed data provided by the Clinton Foundation, presidential trips accounted for 13 percent of the 2010 travel budget and 10 percent of the 2011 travel budget.
That puts Bill Clinton’s single-year travel tab for 2011 at more than $1 million. A foundation official wouldn’t say how many presidential trips occurred in that time frame.
If this data is accurate then the amount the Clinton’s gave to their own charity in 2015 is about what the charity spends flying Bill Clinton around the world in a given year. That doesn’t necessarily mean the group isn’t doing real charity work, but it does show the Clintons get some unusual personal benefits from their charitable giving that most people who give to charity would not.