The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation
Pay no attention to the First Family behind the curtain
By Jonathan M. Hanen, Foundation Watch, September 2014 (PDF here)
This special report on the Clinton Foundation supplements our previous report on the philanthropy, published in the February 2008 Foundation Watch.
Summary: The Clinton Foundation portrays itself as a noble enterprise whose lead actors, a former U.S. president and secretary of state, use their combined political capital and star power to unite philanthropists, CEOs, and governments of afflicted countries to solve the most pressing problems of global economic development, health care, and education. Yet close inspection of the foundation’s inner workings suggests a pattern of chronic mismanagement and graft that the mainstream media downplays for the benefit of Hillary Clinton’s all-but-announced 2016 presidential campaign. Worse still, Clinton is using the foundation as a launching pad for her expected White House bid.
The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is a largely legitimate enterprise, a philanthropic organization that apparently helps people somewhere. But helping humanity has become its secondary objective in recent years. Its charitable purpose has been subordinated to the political ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who now appears to be using the foundation as a de facto campaign organization in a bid to recapture the White House. Mrs. Clinton is arguably the most famous living woman in the world, but she still benefits whenever the foundation that bears her family’s name is in the news. Such publicity reinforces the Clinton “brand,” providing free campaign advertising for Mrs. Clinton in her all-but-announced presidential campaign.
Money has been streaming in to multiple entities in the Clinton camp, as left-wingers begin to show their support for Clinton, despite the waves of laughter that erupted earlier this year when she claimed her family was “dead broke” after leaving the White House in 2001. She compounded the faux pas by talking about how it was a struggle to have to pay mortgages on the various houses—plural—her family owns.
Political action committees known to support Clinton are doing a brisk business while the person who may become the first female president gears up for what amounts to a third Obama term. Large sums some observers suspect are payoffs designed to curry favor with a future president have also been flowing to other Clinton-related entities. For example, Clinton reportedly receives six-figure payments for speeches. She claims she donates payments from universities to the family’s foundation, but has not provided evidence to support that claim. Her ridiculously large book advance—reportedly $14 million—from Simon & Schuster for her memoir, Hard Choices, published in June, resembles an in-kind contribution from the publisher. No one thinks the publisher will earn a profit. Making money off a nonfiction book after such a hefty advance would be a long shot even if the book were a mega-bestseller. She may be high-profile, but she’s still Hillary Clinton, not J.K. Rowling of “Harry Potter” fame.
Bill Clinton was worried enough about potential conflicts of interest and legal troubles at the foundation that he ordered an internal review of the organization’s practices. After a fortnight of interviews with Clinton Foundation executives and ex-employees, lawyers arrived at disturbing conclusions. “The review echoed criticism of Mr. Clinton’s early years in the White House: for all its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.” (New York Times, Aug. 13, 2013)