UpFront Politics: Editor's Choice

The Clinton Foundation

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Posted: October 21, 2016 at 2:18 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The thought of “The Clinton Foundation” originated about 1997, and then President Clinton was focused on fundraising for a project in Little Rock, Arkansas.  It was finally brought to fruition and established in 2001; Bruce Lindsey took over as CEO in approximately 2004.  Chelsea claimed her seat on the board in 2011, and raised money for the organization by giving speeches she received upwards of $ 65,000.  Hillary finally joined in 2013, with a vision to focus on issues facing women and children all over the world, as well as placing emphasis on economic development.

Dubbed as a “humanitarian” organization located in New York, and also with an office based in Little Rock, Arkansas, its projects span the globe. In 2015 its assets were $223 million and the organization consisted of some 2,000 employees.  In 2013 the name was changed to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Foundation.

The organization does not award grants as most non-profits bearing the name foundation but instead focuses on a more “hands-on approach” with a total of nine different projects in which some branch off into more specialized project, it has proven difficult to rate according to conventional terms.  Its various projects consist of:

  • The Clinton Health access Initiative or (CHAI) program was established January 2010 and began as the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative. This branched off into its current status, and it provides anti-malarial drugs to regions of the world that are affected by this scourge.
  • The Clinton Global Citizen Awards was established in 2001 to “Outstanding citizens who exemplify global citizenship through their vision and leadership” this is as defined by the Clinton Organization.
  • Clinton Climate Change Initiative (CCI) was established late 2006, to fight climate change by encouraging the purchase and production of more energy efficient equipment and provides technical and communications support.
  • The Clinton Development Initiative (CDI) was a collaborative effort to target African poverty and to help stimulate economic development in that area; it was formed in 2006.
  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation was the brainchild of Hillary herself in partnership with the American Heart Association to target the childhood obesity problem. It partners with schools to provide healthier meal alternatives and to stock the vending machines with healthier snacks for the school aged children of America.
  • It has also funded major disaster relief since the tsunami of 2004, in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, Bill Clinton partnered with George W Bush to raise some $ 160 million for disaster relief worldwide.

Even with all of the good it has done the Clinton Foundation has come under a lot of fire in the years since Hillary left the position of Secretary of State.  There has been the question of her donors.  Spokespeople for the foundation state that they have only 330,000 donors and the majority of those have contributed $ 100.00 or less.

The questions come into play when allegations arise of Hillary receiving major donations for the foundation from international donors that surpasses the allowable donations, or when the donations are allegedly made so that access is granted to top Clinton aides. Emails have shown that some of the aides were asked for favors but it never shows if any of those favors were granted.  It seems that even though there were restrictions place on its fundraising and many people have stated that the foundation needed to cease accepting donations as long as either Clinton is in public office or seeking public office.  This was intended to avoid the representation of impropriety.

In 2016 the Clinton Foundation was the victim of a cybersecurity breach such as the like of the one that attacked the Democratic National Convention and other institutions.  Suggesting a minimal level of security which has caused some concern for the Foundation and its donors.

Even though the law does not require that non-profit organizations disclose their donors’ names, around 2007 a controversy arose because Hillary was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.  This lack of transparency has proven to be a reason that most American’s question the integrity of Hillary Clinton.  After the controversy, a list of donors was published in 2008.  Donors such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia amongst others caused some concern among citizens.  Bill Clinton has stated that the foundation will cease accepting foreign donations if Hillary is elected president in November.

There was a federal subpoena issued in 2015 for all of the documents belonging to the foundation requiring federal approval during Hillary’s 2009-2013 tenure as secretary of state; it seems that at this time the Clinton Foundation neglected to make public some of its foreign donations. There was also a subpoena issued for documents regarding a man that was employed by the state department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, simultaneously.

According to the chief communications officer of the Clinton Foundation, some 88% of the foundations funding goes to its charity works. This totals about $217.6 million dollars annually, another 8.6% or $21.5 million goes to management and general operations, 3.7% or about $ 9 million goes to fundraising, the total annual expenses in 2014 were $249.5 million.

The Clinton Foundations revenues totaled about $337.9 million some 64.5 % coming from private contributions, 33.7 % from grants, and other revenue being about 1.8%.  These numbers have rated an “A” from Charity Watch, but out of 600 charities, Charity Watch gives an “A” to about 200 of them.

Regardless of the current opinion, it is no doubt that the organization has done many good things and has helped many people and countries.  This would be the only concern if the Foundation hadn’t come under such fire for not disclosing all of its donors as it has promised, and if some of the donors that it did disclose were not such a question of national security, and intent.  When there have been allegations of donations in exchange for favors from top aides, and security breaches, and certain people holding such relevant positions for different organizations all at once, it draws fire from those that are tired of government corruption.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency.