Donations to the Clinton Foundation, a huge charity run by Bill and Hillary Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, plunged by almost 60 percent in the year after Hillary Clinton’s election loss in 2016, according to new reports, bringing new attention to the question of what exactly donors were expecting from their money.
Speculation has raged for years that a pay-to-play scandal was at work with the Clinton Foundation. This latest revelation about the dropff in donations certainly will not do anything to quash those suspicions.
Back in January, The Hill reported that the FBI had opened an investigation into the foundation based on such allegations. The heart of the investigation was focused on the time period when former first lady Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state.
Even commentators in liberal publications knew that development looked bad. As Tufts University political science professor Jeffrey Berry wrote in the left-leaning Pacific Standard, his own research had shown most foundations to be scandal free, but not the Clinton Foundation, “which has repeatedly stirred controversy over its unusual fundraising practices.”
As Berry pointed out, the foundation had more than 200,000 donors since beginning in 1997, but the real money was coming from a relatively small pool.
“Despite its vast donor base … much of its funding comes from major donors, including other foundations, wealthy individuals, and, of course, foreign governments,” Berry wrote.
“The foundation’s own records show that it has received seven gifts of more than $25 million and another 19 worth $10 to $25 million.”
This brings us to the latest financial information about the foundation.
In federal tax filings obtained by the New York Post, it is clear that the Clinton Foundation has suddenly seen a massive nosedive in contributions.
Donations have dropped by nearly 58 percent, the Post reported, or an approximately $36 million hit.
Representatives for the Clinton Foundation have consistently denied any wrongdoing. A spokesman also has claimed to the New York Post that the dropoff in funding is due to restructuring within the organization, especially the closure of an arm of the foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative.
“We anticipated a decline in both revenue and expenses for 2017, largely attributable to the absence of sponsorship and membership contributions for CGI. Moving forward to 2018, our work has expanded into new fields — for example, establishing a new CGI Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery; beginning new work with faith leaders to help address the opioid epidemic, particularly focusing on issues of stigma; and forging new partnerships to promote early childhood literacy and development.”
However, next month House Republican lawmakers will be following up with hearings related to a federal corruption investigation, according to a report last week in The Hill.
The crux of it revolves around if donations to the foundation were related to policy decisions made by Clinton between 2009 and 2013, when she was secretary of state in the first Obama administration.
With Clinton losing the presidential race to Trump and no longer being an insider with the government, her value as an influencer and deal-maker conceivably could be highly diminished. And therein lies more fuel for the theory that pay-to-play is a legitimate concern, particularly in light of the sudden dropoff in funding.
If a charitable organization is doing good work, a poor economy would likely be the major factor in funding declines. But if the economy is doing well, including for big donors and companies, what reason is there for funding to suddenly get cut off or lowered?
Good causes are still good causes. People in need are still people in need.
But if something else was going on, if pay-to-play was really occurring, then the decline makes perfect sense. It certainly is not the only explanation, but in light of the facts now publicly known, it is arguably one worth looking into further.
As numerous reports have pointed out, foreign governments would find something like the Clinton Foundation to be an ideal way to channel money to the Clintons in hopes of favorable treatment from the U.S. government during the Obama years, when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state from 2009 to 20013.
Legally, foreign governments cannot directly donate to candidates in U.S. elections, although they can retain lobbyists. So, the cover of charitable donations and excessive speaking engagement fees could be an enticing one.
One example of such a possibility has been outlined by Breitbart and is commonly known as the “Uranium One deal.” It goes like this: While she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton approved a deal with that sold control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium to a company controlled by the Russian government.
Simulaneously, while other agencies were also involved, Clinton “was the only head of an Obama administration agency whose foundation directly benefited from the sale,” Breitbart noted.
In 2015, The New York Times noted multiple facets of the scandal, including how it also involved a former president, Bill Clinton, and that Hillary did not publicly disclose the donors as she promised the Obama White House she would.
Additionally, it stated: “As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation.”
The four transactions from the Uranium One chairman’s family foundation totaled $2.35 million. Also, after the Russians announced they’d be getting a “majority stake in Uranium One,” Bill Clinton “received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”
While liberals will claim that the investigation and upcoming hearings are politically motivated, the evidence that something untoward may have occurred has been mounting for years.
At the very least, well-intentioned donors deserve accountability. And American taxpayers deserve answers.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.