Now who in their right mind would think that anything dealing with Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation would be above reproach. Take a second and gather yourself. Now proceed with reality…
Clinton Foundation officials used an obscure New York state charity board filing to disclose that the non-profit received nearly $18 million in donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned. The specific foreign governments were not identified in the document, entitled “Exhibit A.”
The latest filing was submitted last January before the public charity division operated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermann, a Democrat. The money was given between 2010 and 2013, the exact years when Clinton was America’s chief diplomat.
The January filings also were unusual in that the latest submission now constituted a third “official” revised version of the Clinton Foundation’s financial statements for the foundation’s activities while Clinton was in public office.
Last November, amid much fanfare, foundation officials issued a second revision of the foundation’s federal tax filings for the four years.
But a new line was added in the January submission that stated: “All other government grants came from foreign governments.” The total figure for each of the four years equalled $17.7 million.
The foreign government donations are still not listed on the foundation’s web site despite a claim in November by the non-profit’s president, Donna Shalala, that “there is nothing to suggest that the foundation intended to conceal the receipt of government grants, which we report on our website.”
Criticism of the the latest revelation concerning Clinton Foundation tax returns came from across the political spectrum.
Leslie Lenkowski, an expert on philanthropy who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993 as a founding director of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a government-operated volunteer organization, told TheDCNF that the Clinton Foundation was “an appearance of a conflict of interest waiting to happen.”
President George W. Bush later appointed Lenkowski to also serve as CEO of the corporation in 2001.
Similarly Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, which grades and ranks the financial disclosures of charities, said her group expects more transparency, not less from non-profits.
“I think more transparency is better than less and this is an issue that the public is questioning. Yeah, they should make it a point to be more transparent about it and share that information,” she told TheDCNF.
Former U.S. Attorney Joseph DiGenova told TheDCNF that the foundation’s failure to break out foreign government donations specifically was part of an effort to “protect” Clinton while she headed the Department of State.
“There is no doubt that the foundation purposely refused to make public certain things as a way of protecting the Secretary of State during her tenure,” DiGenova charged. “The entire process to hide information from the public is completely inconsistent with a public charity.”
DiGenova predicted that “the new revelations will up the ante for the FBI. This will just add fodder to the ongoing investigation.” The former federal prosecutor also doubted that the $18 million figure was accurate.
“There is no reason to believe that the $18 million figure is complete,” he said, citing the “unreliability” of past foundation accountings. “It may very well be much, much more.”
Cleta Mitchell, a partner in the Washington, D.C. law office of Foley & Lardner LLP who frequently represents conservative nonprofits, slammed the Clintons for “their determination to disguise what they are doing.”
During Clinton’s tenure at State, the foundation operated in at least 29 countries, including places that contained rampant corruption such as Nigeria, Uganda, Ukraine, Haiti, Mozambique, China and South Africa.
The amended Exhibit A also revealed how foreign government gifts vastly overshadowed domestic government contributions during her State Department tenure.
In the foundation’s revised 2010 filing, $7.8 million of $8.8 million in all government grants originated from foreign governments, according to the exhibit. In 2011, $2 million of the $3 million were foreign donations.
In 2012, $3.5 million came from foreign governments while only $300,000 came from domestic government sources. And in 2013, nearly 100 percent of the $4.4 million of the government donations came from overseas governments. Only $23,000 came from U.S. government entities, according to the exhibit.
The disclosures likely will fuel charges by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who claims Clinton turned her secretaryship into a huge “hedge fund” where “the Russians, the Saudis and the Chinese all gave money to Bill and Hillary and got favorable treatment in return.” Trump demanded that the foundation return $25 million it received from the Saudis.
Clinton defended the foundation but admitted last week in a Politico interview that in “one or two instances” some foreign donations aiming to influence her office may have “slipped through the cracks.”
A 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between the Clinton Foundation and Valerie Jarrett, then-vice-chairwoman of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team attempted to limit and in some instances to ban foreign government funds to the Clinton Foundation and its many projects.
The FBI currently has two criminal investigations involving Clinton and the foundation, with one focused on her use of a private email server located in her New York home to conduct official diplomatic business instead of a secure government communication channel.
The second investigation is reportedly focused on allegations of “pay-to-play” efforts in which Clinton traded policy or other official actions in return for contributions by foreign donors to the foundation.
DiGenova and Mitchell were also critical of Schneidermann for his inaction on the foundation’s filing.
“One has to wonder what the New York State Attorney General is doing,” DiGenova said. “He’s a very partisan Democrat. And it is readily apparent that he intends to do nothing about the Clinton Foundation.”
Mitchell agreed, saying “the Attorney General of New York has a statutory and fiduciary responsibility to conduct an investigation into the Clinton Foundation to determine whether this entity is engaged in fulfilling its charitable mission.”
Neither the Clinton Foundation nor Schneidermann responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment.