By Steven R. Maher
In the past several weeks Hillary Clinton has come under fire for the activities of the Clinton Foundation. According to her Republican detractors, Clinton granted access to foreign donors and governments who made substantial donations to the Clinton Foundation.
For the sake of the country – and for her own election prospects – Hillary should immediately announce the Clinton foundation will be closed down if she’s elected President; the fund raising, particularly from foreign sources, will cease at once; and neither Bill nor Chelsea Clinton will be involved in any successor organizations.
Foundation size and functions
Wikipedia states that the Clinton Foundation had revenue of $223 million in 2015. “A different charity monitor, CharityWatch, says that 88% of the foundation’s money goes toward its charitable mission and gave the foundation an A rating for 2016,” said Wikipedia.
“On February 15, 2015 the Washington Post reported that, ‘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.’”
The Clinton Foundation’s website claims the following achievements:
• “[M]ore than 31,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity;
• “105,000 farmers in Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania are benefiting from climate-smart agronomic training, higher yields, and increased market access;
• “[M]ore than 33,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced annually across the United States;
• “450,000 people have been impacted through market opportunities created by social enterprises in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia;
• “[O]ver 11.5 million people in more than 70 countries have access to CHAI [Clinton Health Access Initiative] negotiated prices for HIV/AIDS medications;
• “[A]n estimated 85 million people in the U.S. will be reached through strategic health partnerships developed across industry sectors at both the local and national level;
• “[M]embers of the Clinton Global Initiative community have made more than 3,500 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.”
These are all positive achievements, regardless of the motives which may have inspired them.
None of the Clintons’ draw salary for their good works at the Clinton Foundation.
No evidence of a “quid pro quo”, in which Hillary Clinton undertook an official action as Secretary of State in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation, has yet emerged.
Nonetheless, the Clinton Foundation’s past and future actions will inevitably become a campaign issue. Given the questions legitimately raised by Clinton’s actions as a Secretary of State, Hillary should immediately preempt concerns about her actions as a President by announcing plans to shut down the Clinton Foundation in the event she is elected and that the foundation’s programs will be transitioned to another charity without interrupting any ongoing foundation beneficial works.