Monthly Notes

Philanthropy Notes: September 2013

The high-profile William J. Clinton Foundation, which runs the Clinton Global Initiative, a glitzy annual meeting of chief executives, heads of state, and celebrities, is a hotbed of corruption and incompetence, according to a surprising New York Times exposé. The 12-year-old presidential foundation has become “a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest … [and] ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.” Hillary Clinton, who is widely expected to run for the U.S. presidency in 2016, will use the foundation’s offices in Manhattan as an unofficial campaign headquarters. The charity was recently renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Northwestern University will pay $3 million to resolve claims that one of its cancer researchers used federal grant money for personal expenses from 2003-2010, the Wall Street Journal reports. The school claims to have cooperated with authorities but did not admit wrongdoing. The researcher, Charles L. Bennett, was co-director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern. He left in 2010 and is now director of the Center for Medication Safety and Efficacy at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy. Bennett also denies wrongdoing.

Independent Sector, a left-of-center trade association for nonprofits, is unhappy with a proposal from religious leaders to reduce restrictions on political activity by churches and other nonprofits, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The move to lower political restrictions was suggested by a panel advising Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on tax issues that affect religious organizations. Independent Sector says such a change could “undermine the public trust in these charitable organizations and do more harm than good.” Independent Sector president Diana Aviv said allowing charities to back candidates for office “would drag the charitable sector into the morass of political activity, driving a nail into the coffin of its integrity and credibility.” Michael Batts, who heads the 14-member Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations that produced the proposal, said it is “both disturbing and chilling that the federal government regulates the speech of religious and other organizations dedicated to improving the lives of people.”

Centre College in Danville, Ky., has received a gift of stock valued at $250 million from the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust, thought to be the largest outright gift ever made to a liberal arts college. The stock is from the closely held company Universal Computer Systems Holding Inc. The gift doubles the small college’s endowment, according to its president, John Roush. Centre College hosted the national vice-presidential debates in 2000 and 2012.


The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has subpoenaed Goldman Sachs as part of a continuing probe into complaints about inflated metals prices.  “The U.S. commodities market regulator has subpoenaed a metals warehousing firm, seeking all of its documents and communications related to the London Metal Exchange since January 2010, as an inquiry into complaints about inflated metals prices gathers steam,” Reuters reports.  The legal action suggests the futures regulator is ramping up enforcement in response to statements from industrial users of metal, such as Coca-Cola Co., which claims that warehousing firms have been artificially boosting metal prices by restricting the flow of metal out of their facilities.

Matthew Vadum

The author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011), Vadum, former senior vice president at CRC, writes and speaks widely…
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