Philanthropy Notes: April 2015

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley A. Strassel mocked the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, referring to it in a headline as “The Clinton Foundation Super PAC.” With the revelation that foreign governments have been plying the philanthropies with large gifts, “it’s long past time to drop the fiction that the Clinton Foundation has ever been a charity. “ The Clintons “have simply done with the foundation what they did with cattle futures and Whitewater and the Lincoln Bedroom and Johnny Chung – they’ve exploited the system,” Strassel wrote. The Clinton Foundation was profiled in the September 2014 and February 2008 issues of Foundation Watch.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is demanding that the Internal Revenue Service investigate U.S. government funding given to OneVoice (PeaceWorks Network Foundation), a radical anti-Israel group that aimed to drive Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office in that country’s March 17 parliamentary elections. In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Cruz said the Obama administration ought to be focused on Iran, not Israel. “The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet, and there can be no doubt that their first target will be Israel, followed by the United States,” Cruz reportedly wrote in the letter. “Yet the Obama administration seems much more interested in regime change in Jerusalem than in Tehran.” The U.S.-based group receiving federal money, OneVoice International, in turn is working with V15, an “independent grassroots movement” in Israel, according to Ha’aretz. OneVoice has hired Obama campaign aides such as Jeremy Bird of political consulting powerhouse 270 Strategies to take on Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Bird was national field director for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Our friends at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) have another notch in their belt: After years of struggling to defend donor intent against a recalcitrant Trinity College, ACTA and Diana Davis Spencer have succeeded in having the college respect the wishes of Mrs. Spencer’s father, Shelby Cullom Davis. Mr. Davis endowed a fund to support a professorial chair who would “teach students about private enterprise and entrepreneurship, the practice of which made Mr. Davis so very successful as a businessman and investor.” The battle began in 2008, when it was learned Trinity was quietly diverting the funds to projects opposed to the donor’s wishes, and it was only resolved this year.


London-based Goldman Sachs analyst Sonia Pereiro Mendez claims the investment bank refused to pay her bonus after she revealed that she was pregnant, according to Business Insider.  The trial judge is allowing Mendez, who specializes in distressed investments, to seek damages regarding a bonus in 2010 even though he dismissed allegations that her male co-workers were given better opportunities by the firm.  Mendez, who joined Goldman in 2003, “said she was left out of meetings and client dinners, and was told she would be getting no bonus in 2012, months after she told management that she was pregnant.”  She has been with the company since 2003.  Goldman says she is not entitled to a bonus because her job performance has been ranked in the bottom 25 percent of Goldman employees.

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