This past week, Chelsea Clinton, who once tried to care about money but really couldn’t, revealed that as an adult, she’s learned well from her parents and that the acorn, indeed, does not fall far from the tree.
As Hillary studiously works to avoid any media confrontation about the scandals surrounding her and poo-poos this latest one as a “distraction,” the younger Clinton found herself taking on the role of Defender of the Foundation when the moderator at a Council on Foreign Relations event on women’s rights asked her about the foundation “bubbling up a little bit in the news”. (Side note: Bubbling up a little bit?? Seriously? That’s how you choose to refer to a full-blown explosion of brazen corruption involving a presidential-hopeful that has left a money trail throughout the world and in bank accounts far and wide, including uranium holdings and God knows what else? This is not what any reasonably objective person would term “bubbling up a little bit”…)
In response, Clinton demonstrated the smooth art of ‘diplomacy’ avoidance while defending the “important work” of the foundation and their “transparency”:
“What the Clinton Foundation has said is that we will be even more transparent, even though Transparency International and others have said we’re among the most transparent of foundations.
“I very much believe that that is the right policy. That we’ll be even more transparent. That to eliminate any questions while we’re in this time, we won’t take new government funding, but that the work will continue as it is,” Clinton continued, referring to the foundation’s recent policy change to limit donations from foreign governments, like Saudi Arabia.
It’s interesting that Clinton cited Transparency International, as it appears they also have their own issues of credibility. I was unable to check out Clinton’s reference to “others” for obvious reasons.
With that, at the charity clearing house, Charity Navigator whose mission is to “examine two broad areas of a charity’s performance; their Financial Health and their Accountability and Transparency”, the Clinton Foundation currently stands as “unrated”:
We had previously evaluated this organization, but have since determined that this charity’s atypical business model can not be accurately captured in our current rating methodology. Our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity. We reserve the right to reinstate a rating for The Clinton Foundation as soon as we identify a rating methodology that appropriately captures its business model.
What does it mean that this organization isn’t rated?
It simply means that the organization doesn’t meet our criteria. A lack of a rating does not indicate a positive or negative assessment by Charity Navigator.
And speaking of those transparent Clintons, Hot Air is now reporting that the progressive group Common Cause is surprisingly making a reasonable request of accountability from Hillary and the foundation:
Citing concerns about potential conflicts of interest and the influence of hidden overseas donors, Common Cause called on presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Clinton Foundation today to commission an independent and thorough review of all large donations to the foundation and to release the results.
“As Mrs. Clinton herself observed earlier this week, voluntary disclosure is not enough,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport. “A report in Thursday’s New York Times indicates that the Clinton Foundation violated an agreement to identify all of its donors. The foundation’s omissions create significant gaps in the information that voters need to make informed decisions at the polls.”
To ensure that the audit is complete, Rapoport said the foundation should enter into a contractual agreement with auditors to open its books fully and to make public the complete report of their review.
UPDATE: I’m adding this breakdown of the Clinton Foundation expenditures:
The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.
The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.
On its 2013 tax forms, the most recent available, the foundation claimed it spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on “conferences, conventions and meetings”; $8 million on fund-raising; and nearly $8.5 million on travel. None of the Clintons are on the payroll, but they do enjoy first-class flights paid for by the Foundation.
In all, the group reported $84.6 million in “functional expenses” on its 2013 tax return and had more than $64 million left over — money the organization has said represents pledges rather than actual cash on hand.
Some of the tens of millions in administrative costs finance more than 2,000 employees, including aid workers and health professionals around the world.
But that’s still far below the 75 percent rate of spending that nonprofit experts say a good charity should spend on its mission.”
The Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group, has come out and said that it appears the foundation works as a “slush fund” for the Clintons.
As the Foundation’s impact has grown, so too has its commitment to transparency. When Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State, we took unprecedented steps to avoid potential conflicts of interest by going above and beyond what is required of any philanthropy and instituted voluntarily annual disclosure of all of our donors on our website. We also established a policy around the foreign government contributions we accept, recognizing that in order to continue our life improving work we rely on the contributions of government, as is the case with most large scale global charities.
Today, our donor disclosure and foreign government contributor policy is stronger than ever. Since Secretary Clinton decided to run for President, we have committed to disclosing all of our donors on a quarterly basis. In addition, we announced that we will only accept funding from a handful of governments, many of whom the Foundation receives multi-year grants from, to continue the work they have long partnered on.
So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don’t happen in the future. We are committed to operating the Foundation responsibly and effectively to continue the life-changing work that this philanthropy is doing every day.