The Clinton Foundation stinks, and the press is finding it hard to ignore the stench.
In February, The New York Times revealed that the Clinton Foundation violated an ethics agreement signed by ranking members of President Barack Obama’s advisory staff that prohibited the organization from accepting donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. Weeks later, Politico discovered that the private sector Clinton Foundation’s staff received compensation that was provided by the American taxpayers. Days later, a CBS News investigation revealed that a Chinese firm described as having “close ties” to the communist government in Beijing gave the Clinton Foundation $2 million in 2013.
Today, a Reuters report determined that Hillary Clinton violated a 2008 pledge to the president in which she promised to disclose all the donors who had contributed to the Clinton Foundation in order to avoid the impression that she was being unduly influenced by foreign governments. Clinton failed to live up to that pledge.
At the outset, the Clinton Foundation did indeed publish what they said was a complete list of the names of more than 200,000 donors and has continued to update it. But in a breach of the pledge, the charity’s flagship health program, which spends more than all of the other foundation initiatives put together, stopped making the annual disclosure in 2010, Reuters has found.
In response to questions from Reuters, officials at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the foundation confirmed no complete list of donors to the Clintons’ charities has been published since 2010. CHAI was spun off as a separate legal entity that year, but the officials acknowledged it still remains subject to the same disclosure agreement as the foundation.
The finding could renew scrutiny of Clinton’s promises of transparency as she prepares to launch her widely expected bid for the White House in the coming weeks. Political opponents and transparency groups have criticized her in recent weeks for her decision first to use a private email address while she was secretary of state and then to delete thousands of emails she labeled private.
CHAI, which is best known for helping to reduce the cost of drugs for people with HIV in the developing world, published a partial donor list for the first time only this year.
Remember, the scandalous fundraising practices engaged in by the Clinton Foundation is entirely distinct from the scandal involving Hillary Clinton’s decision to conduct all of her electronic communications via a poorly secured private account. They overlap, however, when one becomes inclined to ask what Clinton knew of her family foundation’s controversial fundraising practices and when she was aware of them. The answers to those questions will remain elusive so long as investigators have no access to her emails, as is required by the Freedom of Information Act.
While the commentary class is nonchalant about Clinton’s mounting scandals, her grassroots supporters are starting to sweat. They should. The longer she waits to address these scandals, the more tarnished and vulnerable she becomes.