Philanthropy Notes: June 2015

John M. Templeton Jr., RIP: As we go to press, the sad news has arrived of the death at age 75 of John M. Templeton Jr., a former pediatric surgeon who was president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation of Pennsylvania. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and family. Dr. Templeton not only presided over the giving done by his father’s foundation but was also a very generous donor personally. Foundation Watch will feature a fuller tribute to his philanthropy in our next issue.

ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos was forced to admit that he failed to disclose a major conflict of interest—$75,000 in donations to the embattled Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation—to viewers while covering Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Just two weeks before on the “Daily Show,” he said, “Everybody knows that when donors give that money, what you get is access and the influence that comes with that access.” The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove mocked the former Clinton White House aide’s mea culpa as “a passive-aggressive non-apology.” Stephanopoulos said the gifts “were a matter of public record … [but] in hindsight, “I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation.  I apologize.”

Stephanopoulos has since recused himself as moderator of ABC’s February GOP debate in New Hampshire but stubbornly refuses to refrain from covering the 2016 presidential election, a fact that has some Republican lawmakers urging a boycott of the news network. The anchor’s bias was obvious in an April 26 interview with Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer. When the author said there was a “troubling pattern” between donations to the foundation and Mrs. Clinton’s actions as secretary of state, Stephanopoulos slapped him down hard. “We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action,” the disingenuous anchor said.

New leftist-inspired Federal Communications Commission regulations aimed at strangling the Internet with red tape “make 46 references to a group funded by billionaire George Soros and co-founded by a neo-Marxist,” the Daily Caller reports. The group is Free Press and its key co-founder is extreme-left academic Robert McChesney. “Advertising is the voice of capital,” McChesney told the Socialist Project in 2009. “We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propaganda, regulate it, minimize it, and perhaps even eliminate it,” said the man who calls his advocacy nonprofit “Free Press.” “The fight against hyper-commercialism becomes especially pronounced in the era of digital communications.” Free Press favors so-called net neutrality which would cripple the Internet by turning it into a regulated public utility. (See “The Push for State-controlled Media,” Organization Trends, September 2014.)

The National Football League, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, said it will give up its tax-exempt status because it had little financial impact on the NFL and the tax exemption had become a “distraction.” Sports law professor Michael McCann said, “The NFL just probably realized it didn’t have much to give up and they’re gaining the ability to not reveal salary information.” In 2013 NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took in a hefty $35 million in salary and bonuses.

 

GOLDMAN SACHS WATCH

 

Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton $200,000 for a speech in 2011, a few months before the bank began lobbying Hillary Clinton’s State Department, the International Business Times reports. It is unclear if Mrs. Clinton provided a quid pro quo but the revelation of the payment is likely to bring more scrutiny “of the Clinton family’s often overlapping personal, philanthropic and official business interests.” Government records “show that the firm was specifically lobbying the department on ‘proposed legislation’ linked to a series of budget bills.” One of the measures called for the “continued congressional authorization for the Export-Import Bank,” a government-backed lender criticized for its pork-barrel spending on large corporations.

 

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