The Clinton Foundation was founded in 1997 by Bill Clinton, who at the time was serving as the President of the United States. The Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
This is the same non-profit tax status that many churches and religious institutions have, which has always raised a question of ethics for me. Democrats have often gone after churches and other conservative non-profits who have gotten involved in politics. They claim that doing so violates the rules and regulations set down for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Democrats have used the threat of pulling the non-profit tax status from many religious and conservative organizations if they didn’t stop being politically active.
Yet, I’ve never heard of anyone making a similar threat against the Clinton Foundation when it was started by America’s top politician at the time or when Hillary Clinton was a US Senator or when she served as Secretary of State.
If churches and other religious and conservative non-profit organizations are not allowed to get involved or speak out on matters of politics or endorse any political candidate, then how could the Clinton Foundation have operated with the same non-profit tax status?
This is just one of many questionable actions involving the Clinton Foundation that has raised many eyebrows among conservative circles. For instance, when Bill Clinton was traveling to different countries speaking on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to give State Department permission to speak in some of the countries. Bill Clinton usually commanded a speaking fee in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and in some cases, his talks resulted in large donations from foreign entities to the Clinton Foundation. If nothing else, this should have been some kind of conflict of interest and question of ethics, if not a violation of the Foundation’s 501(c)(3) non-profit tax status.
Compared to some of the evidence laid out before Congress by Tom Fitton, President of the political watchdog group, Judicial Watch, the issue I raised above is minor. In part of Fitton’s testimony, he stated:
“Judicial Watch is, without a doubt, the most active Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requestor and litigator operating today. Thank you, Chairman Meadows and Congressman Connolly for allowing me to testify on this important topic.”
“It is no secret Judicial Watch has had longstanding concerns with the Clintons’ ethics and respect for the rule of law. So, it was with some skepticism that we greeted Hillary Clinton’s promises ten years ago to avoid conflicts of interest with her Foundation and her husband’s business activities as Secretary of State.”
“At the time, even CNN reported that Bill Clinton’s ‘complicated global business interests could present future conflicts of interest that result in unneeded headaches for the incoming commander-in-chief’.”
“To reassure President Obama and Senators of both parties that she would be above reproach, Mrs. Clinton sent a January 5, 2009, letter to State Department Designated Agency Ethics Official James H. Thessin, stating:”
“For the duration of my appointment as Secretary if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party….”
“Additionally, the Clintons promised that President Clinton’s speeches and business activities would undergo a State Department ethics review and that the Clinton Foundation would disclose its donors online and agree to significant restrictions on support from foreign governments.”
“Judicial Watch had zero confidence in these promises, so we began immediately monitoring the ethics process for the Clintons and submitted a Freedom of Information Act request in 2011.”
Fitton went on to say:
“In an accompanying letter to the State Department legal adviser, Clinton lawyer David Kendall noted that Bill Clinton would disclose proposed consulting deals and, for speeches, provide ‘the identities of the host(s) (the entity that pay the speaker’s fee)’ so that the State Department ‘in consultation with the White House as appropriate, may conduct a review for any real or apparent conflicts of interest with the duties of the Secretary of State’.”
“But an inspection by the Examiner and Judicial Watch of donations to the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s personal financial disclosure forms, and the State Department conflict-of-interest reviews show that at least $48 million flowed to the Clintons’ personal coffers from many entities that clearly had interests in influencing the Obama administration — and perhaps currying favor with a future president as well.”
“Saudi Arabia, for example, was a key Clinton benefactor. The oil-producing giant has had a relationship with the Clintons dating back to Bill Clinton’s time as governor of Arkansas.”
“In 1992, while running for president, then-Gov. Clinton secured a $3.5 million Saudi donation for a Middle East studies program at the University of Arkansas.”
“A few weeks after Clinton was inaugurated president, the Saudis kicked in another $20 million. Both deals were brokered by a close Clinton friend, David Edwards.”
“Overall, the Clinton Foundation has received staggering sums from Saudi benefactors — between $18 million and $50 million. (The foundation’s donations are reported in ranges, not specific numbers.)”
“While Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, Bill Clinton gave two speeches in Saudi Arabia, earning a total of $600,000.”
And Fitton’s list went on and on, spelling out more such questionable activities on the part of the Clinton Foundation.
In light of these revelations, a number of Democrats are still trying to accuse Donald Trump of inappropriate relationships over Trump’s attempt to broker a deal for a Trump hotel in Moscow, a deal that never went through. If what Trump did was wrong, then how does one classify what the Clinton’s have done?
Clearly, the Clinton Foundation along with Bill and Hillary Clinton have conducted themselves in many questionable and possibly illegal actions, enough to warrant a full investigation and indictments of the Clintons and many of those around them, kind of like what Mueller has been doing to those associated with Trump.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.