FOREIGN INFLUENCES: Clinton’s’ Foundation has Raised Nearly $2 Billion…And Some Key Questions

EDITORIAL: Illegal foreign influence is often a sign of domestic terrorism and organized crime. Are the Clintons plotting against Americans and for foreign control to take our nation?

Over the past 7 years, Democrats have let foreign entertainment pimps take control of our children. More than 50% of major porn industry leaders are NOT AMERICAN CITIZENS. Bill Clinton parties with these pimps, pedophiles and pornographers ALL THE TIME.

Hillary Clinton stand on her soapbox defending women’s rights, all the while taking money from countries who suppress women’s MOST BASIC RIGHTS. In 2016, will you let your vote really go to outside influences so they can take the rest of our country.

HILLARY CLINTON IS A MAN’S CANDIDATE WHO WORKS TO SELL HER OWN GENDER INTO OPPRESSION AND SEX SLAVERY! Will you cast your vote for a candidate who continues to support those who degrade women’s rights?

Clinton-Obama-foreignvisasREAD:Obama, Clinton Gave Visa Favors to Family of Foreign Donors

Hillary, Chelsea and Bill Clinton attend the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in September 2013. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Washington Post by Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Steven Rich

February 18 at 9:30 PM

Since its creation in 2001, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has raised close to $2 billion from a vast global network that includes corporate titans, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests, according to a Washington Post review of public records and newly released contribution data.

The total, representing cash and pledges reported in tax filings, includes $262 million that was raised in 2013 — the year Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped down as secretary of state and began to devote her energies to the foundation and to a likely second run for president.

The financial success of the foundation, which funds charitable work around the world, underscores the highly unusual nature of another Clinton candidacy. The organization has given contributors entree, outside the traditional political arena, to a possible president. Foreign donors and countries that are likely to have interests before a potential Clinton administration — and yet are ineligible to give to U.S. political campaigns — have affirmed their support for the family’s work through the charitable giving.

The Post review of foundation data, updated this month on the group’s Web site to reflect giving through 2014, found substantial overlap between the Clinton political machinery and the foundation.

Nearly half of the major donors who are backing Ready for Hillary, a group promoting her 2016 presidential bid, as well as nearly half of the bundlers from her 2008 campaign, have given at least $10,000 to the foundation, either on their own or through foundations or companies they run.

The Clintons have relied heavily on their close ties to Wall Street, with donations from the financial services sector representing the largest share of corporate donors.

And many of the foundation’s biggest donors are foreigners who are legally barred from giving to U.S. political candidates. A third of foundation donors who have given more than $1 million are foreign governments or other entities based outside the United States, and foreign donors make up more than half of those who have given more than $5 million.

The prevalence of financial institutions, both foreign and domestic, as major donors is likely to stir more unease in the Democratic Party’s liberal base, which is pushing Hillary Clinton to adopt a more populist and less Wall Street-focused economic agenda. The role of interests located in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Argentina may spur questions about the independence of a potential commander in chief who has solicited money from foreign donors with a stake in the actions of the U.S. government.

‘A philanthropy, period’

Foundation officials said the organization’s fundraising success reflects its track record of accomplishment. They said many other foundations have a similar international donor base.

“The Clinton Foundation is a philanthropy, period,” said Craig Minassian, the group’s chief communications officer. “We take pride in our programs, our efficiency, and our transparency. As with other global charities, the Clinton Foundation receives the support of individuals, organizations and governments from all over the world because our programs are improving the lives of millions.”

Minassian said it was a “false choice to suggest that people who may be interested in supporting political causes wouldn’t also support philanthropic work.”

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, declined to comment.

The foundation, which Bill Clinton created soon after leaving the White House in 2001, has become one of the world’s fastest-growing philanthropies.

It consists of multiple charitable initiatives that deal with climate change, HIV drug access and economic development in poor areas. One program, led by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, seeks to improve the lives of women and girls.

The foundation has won accolades from philanthropy experts and has drawn bipartisan support, with members of the George W. Bush administration often participating in its programs. Major donations have come from figures such as Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of the conservative Web site Newsmax.com and a onetime critic of Bill Clinton.

Foundation tax records show that it reported raising $1.69 billion in cash and pledges between 2001 and 2013, the last year for which documents are available. As of the end of 2014, donations reached nearly $2 billion, foundation officials confirmed.

The scope of the foundation’s finances show the unparalleled fundraising power of one of the world’s most important political brands.

“To be raising $250 million a year, certainly puts them in the top ranks of U.S. nonprofits in terms of fundraising,” said Steven Lawrence, director of research for the Foundation Center, which studies philanthropy.

Lawrence said the Clintons’ ability to draw support from overseas — a coveted goal for many U.S. charities and university endowments — was especially unusual.

“It’s all about building networks and connections,” Lawrence said, adding that donors are likely attracted both personally to the Clintons and to the highly regarded philanthropic work of their foundation.

The donor list shows that the foundation has relied most heavily on seven donors that have each given more than $25 million, including a foundation established by a Canadian mining magnate, Frank Giustra; the national lottery of Holland; and Chicago-based Democratic donor Fred Eychaner.

Other major donors giving at lower levels run the gamut of industries and interests, such as the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, beverage giant Coca-Cola, and the governments of Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Foundation officials say some of their public support comes from competitive grants that are also available to other charities.

Concerns in late 2008

The foundation’s fundraising sparked concerns in late 2008 when President-elect Barack Obama was preparing to nominate Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state. Some Republicans, raising the prospect of conflicts of interest, criticized the fact that the foundation’s donors were kept secret.

The Clintons struck a deal with the Obama administration to begin posting lists of its contributors online and to accept some restrictions on support from foreign governments.

As part of the deal, the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders, industries and charities to discuss global issues, was split from the foundation during Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department. In 2013, after she stepped down as secretary of state, the foundation and the global initiative were reintegrated. The newly published donor list is the first to provide a public accounting of the cumulative giving to both groups.

In posting its donor data, the foundation goes beyond legal requirements, and experts say its transparency level exceeds that of most philanthropies.

But that transparency has limits. The foundation identifies its donors within broad ranges — $1 million to $5 million and greater than $25 million, for instance. And the foundation tallies the giving of each donor only cumulatively, making it difficult to track trends in giving over time.

As a result, it is not possible to determine how much particular donors contributed in the months since Hillary Clinton joined the foundation in 2013.

Still, the organization has stepped up its solicitation efforts in anticipation of soon losing one of its chief fundraisers to the campaign trail — building a $250 million endowment designed to provide some long-term stability.

The recent efforts have at times looked like a political campaign. A contest offered foundation donors the chance to win a free trip to New York to attend a Clinton gala and have a photo taken with the former first couple.

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton hosted a “Millennium Network” event in 2013 aimed at cultivating a younger generation of philanthropists. According to an invitation, there were six tiers of donations, ranging from $150 for individuals to $15,000 for a couple seeking a photograph with Hillary Clinton.

The Post review found that the foundation provided another way for the Clintons’ longtime political donors to support the family’s endeavors between election campaigns. The analysis relied on a list of bundlers compiled by the advocacy group Public Citizen using campaign disclosures and news reports. Each donor had generally raised at least $100,000 for her 2008 campaign.

Susie Tompkins Buell, for instance, a close Clinton friend and 2008 fundraiser who has given to Ready for Hillary, has donated as much as $10 million to the foundation from her charitable fund.

Haim Saban, the billionaire creator of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and one of the Clintons’ most-prolific political givers, has donated as much as $25 million to the foundation.

Buell and Saban did not respond to requests for comment.

The overlap between the Clintons’ political network and their charitable work was apparent Friday, when Dennis Cheng stepped down as the foundation’s chief development officer ahead of his expected role as a key fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

U.S.-regulated donors

Some major foundation donors are corporations that are regulated by the U.S. government.

Tenet, a health-care giant that has been investigated in the past for overbilling Medicare, has given $1.75 million to the Clinton Foundation since 2012 to fund local health programs, such as one promoting more HIV testing in the Palm Springs, Calif., area, where the company has a major hospital.

“We really believe in their health-care model — the community-based model,” said Daniel Waldmann, Tenet’s senior vice president for public affairs.

The newly updated foundation donor list shows that, despite the restrictions on foreign-government support imposed during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the foundation continued to rely heavily on non-U.S. sources. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the foundation has now lifted the foreign-government restrictions.

The data shows that some major donors represent international interests that have faced scrutiny from the U.S. government.

All three Clintons, for instance, have attended meetings and private events with Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian steel magnate who has faced formal complaints in the United States for unfair trade practices. Spokesmen for the Clintons and Pinchuk waved away any suggestion of a conflict between the donor’s regulatory concerns and the charitable contributions to the foundation.

“No assistance with any business issues has now or ever been sought from the Clinton Foundation or its principals,” said Thomas Weihe, a spokesman for the Kiev-based Pinchuk Foundation.

He said Pinchuk supported the Clinton effort because of the foundation’s record and the “unique capacity of its principals to promote the modernization of Ukraine.”

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.
Tom Hamburger covers the intersection of money and politics for The Washington Post.

Steven Rich is the database editor for investigations at The Washington Post. While at The Post, he’s worked on investigations involving tax liens, civil forfeiture, cartels and government oversight. He was also a member of the reporting team awarded the Pulitzer for NSA revelations.

TRUTH METER: Conservative group claims Hillary Clinton’s foundation took millions from foreign governments

American Crossroads
“The Clintons’ foundation took millions from foreign governments” including United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

American Crossroads on Monday, February 23rd, 2015 in a video

An ad from American Crossroads alleges Hillary Clinton’s foundation took millions from foreign governments.

A group founded by Karl Rove launched one of the first salvos of the 2016 presidential election cycle with a Web video attacking presumed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

American Crossroads released a video Feb. 23 that features audio of a speech from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat from the party’s progressive wing, warning that “powerful interests have tried to capture Washington and rig the system in their favor.” The video shows photos of Clinton meeting with various foreign delegates and leaders.

Text on the screen alleges that “the Clintons’ foundation took millions from foreign governments” including “up to $5 million” from the United Arab Emirates and “up to $25 million” from Saudi Arabia.

We should note off the bat that Warren’s remarks were ripped from two separate speeches aimed at limiting money from corporations and Super PACs in politics, and they were merged together and cut in such a way to eliminate those references. They certainly weren’t about Clinton or foundations or foreign governments.

Still, we wanted to check whether Bill and Hillary Clinton’s foundation has indeed received large sums of money from foreign governments.

Former President Bill Clinton started the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2001 as a nonprofit philanthropy for global development. The organization partners with government, non-government organizations and businesses to tackle quality-of-life issues, such as AIDS, poverty and climate change.

When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, the foundation agreed to disclose its donors at the request of the White House. According to a memorandum of understanding, the foundation could continue to collect donations from countries with which it had existing relationships or running grant programs. If contributions from those countries increased significantly or a new foreign government wanted to make a donation, the State Department would have to first approve (more on that in a bit).

We should emphasize there is nothing illegal about the contributions. Candidates for office are prohibited by law from accepting campaign contributions from foreign governments, but foundations have no such restriction. The main issue is that the foundation presented ethical quandaries when Clinton was a candidate for president in 2008 and when she was Secretary of State. But at this time, the foundation was her husband’s project, not hers.

That changed when Clinton left the State Department. In 2013, the foundation became the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton foundation, with Hillary Clinton taking an active role in fundraising.

Throughout the years, donors have included celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz, businesses like eBay and Pepsi, and other nonprofits, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And, yes, some governments.

So which countries and foreign governments have donated to her organization? Not just Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, it turns out.

We pulled the information from the Clinton Foundation website, which tracks donors by contribution range. As it is, we don’t have exact amount for each donation, nor do we know when the contribution was made — except donations made in 2014, which were marked on the site.

Here’s what we found. Due to search constraints on the Clinton Foundation’s website and the vast number of small donations, we’re only including contributions larger than $25,000.

Foreign government Amount
Tenerife Island government $25,000 to $50,000
Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah $25,000 to $50,000
Government of Jamaica $50,000 to $100,000
Kingdom of Bahrain $50,000 to $100,000
Federal Republic of Germany $100,000 to $250,000
Embassy of Algeria $250,000 to $500,000
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada $250,000 to $500,000
Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office $500,000 to $1,000,000
State of Qatar $1,000,000 to $5,000,000
Government of Brunei Darussalam $1,000,000 to $5,000,000
Sultanate of Oman $1,000,000 to $5,000,000
United Arab Emirates $1,000,000 to $5,000,000
UK Department for International Development $1,000,000 to $5,000,000
Commonwealth of Australia $5,000,000 to $10,000,000
Government of the Netherlands $5,000,000 to $10,000,000
State of Kuwait $5,000,000 to $10,000,000
Australian Agency for International Development $10,000,000 to $25,000,000
Government of Norway $10,000,000 to $25,000,000
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia $10,000,000 to $25,000,000

 

Of the 25 donors that have contributed more than $5 million to the Clinton Foundation throughout the years, six are foreign governments.

Six of the 19 countries listed above made donations to the Clinton Foundation in 2014: Germany, Canada, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Australia and Saudi Arabia. It’s not clear whether those governments had donated previously, and if so, how much of their donation came last year.

So the assertion at the center of the ad is accurate: the Clinton Foundation did, in fact, take millions from foreign governments. Additionally, the ad singled out two countries — the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — that have donated to the foundation since Hillary Clinton officially joined her family’s foundation.

Clinton Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian said most of the money from foreign countries is earmarked for specific projects and grants, like AIDS relief. Minassian said that the ad implied nefarious dealings, and that isn’t the case.

“I just have a problem with the premise of the ad,” Minassian said. “It’s the same premise when people say we’re the same as a Super PAC. We’re not; we’re philanthropy. This is what NGOs do.”

Readers can decide for themselves how they feel about the charge. We’re just checking the fact behind the ad. American Crossroads did not respond to a voicemail and emails.

We should note that since the ad came out, and while we were reporting this story, the Washington Post reported that the contribution from Algeria, that had never donated previously, came while Clinton was Secretary of State and was not approved by the State Department.

Minassian said the donation from Algeria was related to Haiti relief efforts, and that, per the agreement with the White House, “the State Department should have been formally informed.”

“As the Clinton Foundation did with all donations it received for earthquake relief, the entire amount of Algeria’s contribution was distributed as aid in Haiti,” Minassian said. “This was a one-time, specific donation to help Haiti and Algeria had not donated to the Clinton Foundation before and has not since.”

Our ruling

An American Crossroads web ad claimed, “the Clintons’ foundation took millions from foreign governments” including “up to $5 million” from the United Arab Emirates and “up to $25 million” from Saudi Arabia.

As we noted, it doesn’t violate campaign rules for a nonprofit philanthropy to accept donations from foreign governments. Over the years, the Clinton Foundation has taken millions of dollars from foreign governments. This includes between $1 million and $5 million from the United Arab Emirates and between $10 million and $25 million from Saudi Arabia. At least a portion of those donations came in 2014, after Clinton left the State Department and formally joined the family’s foundation that had previously been in her husband’s name alone.

We rate the statement True.

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