Just like any suspect philanthropic organization, the Clinton Foundation does do some good work. The Foundation’s labors in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are credited with mitigating a humanitarian disaster, but the Foundation’s ethical lapses and suspect funding sources – all of which are closely linked to an individual vying to lead the free world – should not be minimized by this organization’s altruistic intentions or noble accomplishments.
The Clinton Foundation has taken donations from unsavory sources like Saudi Arabia and Brunei. The Foundation allegedly also took donations from Algeria while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State in violation of an ethics agreement the Foundation signed with members of Barack Obama’s administration. After Clinton left the state department, a Chinese construction firm, with what was reported to be close ties to the communist government in Beijing and a suspect safety violations record both in the People’s Republic and in the United Sates, heaped contributions on the foundation.
“Multiple sources familiar with Clinton’s funding say the special federal money has supplemented the salaries of some [Foundation] employees,” Politico reported last month. While Clinton was acting as America’s chief diplomat, The New York Times described her as “one of the most aggressive global cheerleaders” for American companies like General Electric, Microsoft, Boeing, and Exxon Mobile. Maybe it was just a coincidence that these firms were also prolific contributors to the Clinton Foundation. Progressive social justice advocates will be disappointed to learn that the Clinton Foundation’s male executives were handsomely paid in comparison to their female counterparts. “Of the top eleven positions in the foundation, women only have three — and they’re #9, #10, and #11,” Ed noted in March.
“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,” Reuters reported last month. “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.”
Ahead of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Clinton Foundation is clearly in need of some rehabilitation. The magazine Town & Country is eager to help. In an expansive spread in that magazine featuring an interview with former President Bill Clinton, the periodical lavished the Foundation with praise for its philanthropic work. When asked if the Clinton Foundation is in need of reform either now or when/if Hillary Clinton becomes president, the former commander-in-chief suggested that they might have to address the institution’s ethically suspect practices.
“First, I would have to assess what she wants me to do,” Bill Clinton said when asked what his role with the organization might be under a Hillary administration. “And second, we might have to change the [foundation] rules again. But we haven’t talked about that yet, and I don’t think we should.”
“It’s hard for any party to hang on to the White House for 12 years, and it’s a long road,” he added. “A thousand things could happen.”
Whatever occurs, Clinton’s priority is to keep the foundation alive, “whether I’m running it or not. I’ve told Hillary that I don’t think I’m good [at campaigning] anymore because I’m not mad at anybody. I’m a grandfather, and I got to see my grand daughter last night, and I can’t be mad.”
The Clinton Foundation will come under intense scrutiny during Hillary’s White House bid, but it was able to get away with all of these practices while she served in Barack Obama’s cabinet. Why wouldn’t the Clintons think they might be able to get away with failing to reform the institution if the former first lady became the president?