The Wall Street Journal reported that the Clinton Global Initiative provided $2 million to a for-profit company partially owned by close friends of the family.

Scott Kleeb, who “twice ran for Congress” as a Democrat, founded Energy Pioneer Solutions in 2009. A document showed other friends of the Clintons also own the company:

An internal document from that year showed it as owned 29% by Mr. Kleeb; 29% by Jane Eckert, the owner of an art gallery in Pine Plains, N.Y.; and 29% by Julie Tauber McMahon of Chappaqua, N.Y., a close friend of Mr. Clinton, who also lives in Chappaqua.

Owning 5% each were Democratic National Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias and Mark Weiner, a supplier to political campaigns and former Rhode Island Democratic chairman, both longtime friends of the Clintons.

Tobias spoke with the Journal through email:

“With my modest initial investment, I wound up owning a small percentage of the company. It grew, because ultimately, between loans and equity investments, I’ve wound up putting a little more than $1 million into this effort.”

President Bill Clinton insisted the donation take place at a September 2010 conference.

He also recommended the company “to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a federal grant that year.” Chu claims he does not remember a conversation with President Clinton about the grant. However, Energy Pioneer Solutions received $812,000 from the government under the plan “to insulate people’s homes and let them pay via their utility bills.” The Journal continued:

The Clinton Global Initiative’s help for a for-profit company part-owned by Clinton friends poses a different issue. Under federal law, tax-exempt charitable organizations aren’t supposed to act in anyone’s private interest but instead in the public interest, on broad issues such as education or poverty.

“The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests,” the Internal Revenue Service says on its website.

Records showed Energy Pioneer Solutions “lost more than $300,000 in 2010 and another $300,000 in the first half of 2011.” Kleeb claimed these “losses are common” when a company begins, but the documents also claim an “audit found deficiencies in how the company accounted for expenses paid with federal grant money.”

Despite Kleeb’s explanations, he has “laid off most of his staff, closed his offices, sold a fleet of trucks and changed his business strategy, promising to launch a national effort instead.”

The Clinton Global Initiative has received “criticism this political season” since governments and corporations donated to the foundation when Hillary Clinton, now the leading Democrat presidential candidate, served as secretary of state. Some believe this could affect “decisions she would make as president.”


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