What’s wrong with this picture?
Senator Hillary Clinton is urging President George W. Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in order to protest China’s crackdown in occupied Tibet. At the same time, Bill Clinton’s foundation takes money from a Chinese Internet company alleged to be part of the same crackdown in Tibet that Mrs. Clinton feels so strongly about.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Senator Clinton’s
recent stern comments on China’s internal crackdown collide with former President Bill Clinton’s fundraising relationship with a Chinese Internet company accused of collaborating with the mainland government’s censorship of the Web. Last month, the firm, Alibaba Inc., carried a government-issued “most wanted” posting on its Yahoo China homepage, urging viewers to provide information on Tibetan activists suspected of stirring recent riots.
Alibaba, which took over Yahoo’s China operation in 2005 as part of a billion-dollar deal with the U.S.-based search engine, arranged for the former president to speak to a conference of Internet executives in Hangzhou in September 2005. Instead of taking his standard speaking fees, which have ranged from $100,000 to $400,000, Clinton accepted an unspecified private donation from Alibaba to his international charity, the William J. Clinton Foundation. [emphasis added]
As we’ve noted before, Bill Clinton, despite considerable pressure, has refused to disclose the names of his foundation’s donors, saying donors expect their names to be held in confidence.
Federal law does not require nonprofit charities to disclose the identities of their contributors, and that applies to presidential foundations. Donors, including corporations and foreign governments, may give unlimited amounts of money-even while a president is in office-to the presidential library foundation. Those donors may want something more than a discount at the Clinton Library gift shop, especially if Hillary Clinton becomes president.
Bill Clinton’s predecessor in the White House was less secretive about donations to his foundation. When the George (H.W.) Bush Presidential Library opened in 1997, it voluntarily disclosed the names of donors who gave amounts over $10,000. Only a few names were withheld at the request of individual donors.
We have to wonder what other suspect donations the Clinton Foundation might be hiding.
Given the revelations that Deborah Corey Barnes and I noted in our February 2008 Foundation Watch article, namely, that the Clinton Foundation put its supposedly anonymous donor names up for sale, that some donors gave money while pushing the Clinton administration for policy changes, and that two donors pledged $1 million each while they or their companies were undergoing Justice Department probes, the American people have ample reason to be curious about the origins of the money flowing into the Clinton Foundation’s bank accounts.