Not a Happy Thanksgiving for the Clinton Foundation
The Clintons may be forced to run an actual charitable foundation
Amid the flurry of pay-to-play allegations against the Clinton Foundation, donations to the “charity” dried up over the past couple of years, and along with those, the Clintons’ speaking fees also took a nosedive.
Donations to the Clinton Foundation nose-dived last year amid Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, pay-to-play allegations, internal strife and a black mark from a charity watchdog.
Contributions fell by 37 percent to $108 million, down from $172 million in 2014, according to the group’s latest tax filings.
The cash plummeted as Hillary Clinton left the nonprofit in April 2015 after announcing her ill-fated candidacy.
. . . . Not only did contributions drop, but so did revenue the Clintons brought in from speeches. That income fell to $357,500 from $3.6 million in 2014.
By the time the foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative held its annual conference in September 2015, many donors had bailed, including Samsung and ExxonMobil.
This was all before she lost the White House; presumably, these donors didn’t want to be associated with the scandals tied to the Foundation. Now that she will no longer be associated in any way with the federal government, still more donors, particularly foreign governments, are drastically cutting their donations.
It now appears that Norway, one of the most prolific foreign Clinton Foundation donors, is decreasing its annual donation from $20 million in 2015 to $4.2 million this year—a significant drop suggesting the foreign government had expected to receive benefits in return for its generous donation.
Norway’s move also provides further evidence that the Foundation serves more as a front to sell access to the Clintons than as an organization focused on philanthropy. While the Foundation may have conducted some charitable work, its greater purpose has always been to boost the Clinton brand, market the Clintons on the highly paid speech circuit, and offer donors access to the Clintons and their prolific network of elite and corporate connections.
It appears that further losses are likely.
. . . [N]either Clinton will occupy a prominent role in government in the immediate future—curtailing the willingness of at least some big donors to try and curry favor with the foundation by writing large checks.
Because Hillary Clinton is no longer seen as a president in waiting, contributors may look elsewhere and the foundation may have to rethink its scope and priorities, these experts say.
The foundation did not respond to numerous requests for comment from CNBC.
“I would expect there will be much greater difficulties in fundraising for the organization,” Leslie Lenkowsky, a professor with Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, told CNBC in an interview.
Hillary Clinton “technically has no political prospects ahead of her. They’re both important people, but dealing with a past president and future president were attractive to a number of donors,” Lenkowsky said. Some of the largest checks came from a range of influential donors like the governments of Norway, Australia and Kuwait.
“Some of that goodwill will disappear, [and] they will have to raise money the old fashioned way, which is proving they deserve it,” he added.
The problem with peddling influence is that when you no longer have any influence to peddle, your contacts lose your number.
So, what’s next for the Clinton Foundation? It seems that if it is to continue, it must become what it has pretended to be, an actual charitable foundation.
While no one expects the Clinton Foundation to close its doors, a few observers expect a reorganization of priorities and management, at a minimum.
“Obviously they’re not going to attract that much money, but they’re becoming more of a legitimate foundation with a professional staff,” said Pablo Eisneberg, senior fellow at the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at Georgetown University. He cited last year’s hiring of former University of Miami president Donna Shalala as part of the organization becoming more of a “regular foundation.”
Better late than never, I guess.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.
What, with a cloth?
A Clinton actually being charitable is unbelievable. It must really hurt. :<)
Refund requests are up 1,000%, though.
(Note to Hillary – ‘Charities’ are an excellent way to launder money, for a fee, of course).
I’d rather see the Foundation shut down. All proceeds either returned to donors or confiscated and used to buy a bridge or repair an insterstate or two. Infrastructure, don’t ya know? Perhaps in Clinton, Arkansas…..
Or heck, even to a real Haitian Relief Organization or something that is vetted properly and uses its funds wisely.
Confiscate the funds and liquidate the rest of the foundation’s assets at auction.
That, if nothing else, will make a punitive and exemplary sharp stick in the eye for future practitioners and donors to think long and hard about.
I’d like to see part of the money spent to build a new federal prison which would rightfully be named for the Clintons. We Texans are a funny bunch. Down here our prisons are named for politicians.
These numbers don’t make any sense.
If we make the reasonable postulate that the Clinton Whatever is only a “charity” in name, and is really an influence-peddling scheme, then “donations” should have increased as soon as Hillary started campaigning. Why? Hillary’s not the Secretary of State. But that apparently didn’t matter; witness State’s efforts to stonewall investigations for the last few years, exactly the way the department would have behaved if it was still a full-blown component of Team Clinton, rather than just doing a few little favors for an ex-Secretary. And obviously access to State is worth quite a bit to those buying favors. And access to the President would be worth far, far more. Corruption revenue should have increased as soon as she announced. Buy now—prices can only go up after she’s President! And of course she was going to be President—all the pundits and all the polls said so, right?
We’d expect contributions to drop somewhat after leaks began to appear in wholesale lots. The more cautious suppliants would be wary of seeing their names in headlines, and decide that discretion was the better part of good business.
Then on election day, we’d expect contributions to drop to zero. She’s destined for either the ash heap of history, or jail; in neither case is she of any use to influence-buyers.
From what little we can tell, Hillary seems to have been reliable. Want to expedite weapon sales? Make a suitable donation, and sure enough, State will give approval for whatever you wanted within the next few weeks. Whatever these governments were paying, they seem to have believed that Hillary would come through for her customers. But now that racket is over.
So in sum, it would be reasonable to expect Foundation revenues over the past year or so to increase with the announcement of Hillary’s candidacy, then drop a bit with the Wikileaks hemorrhage, and finally, a week ago, stop entirely. Any other pattern means that something else is going on. I think we can dismiss out-of-hand the notion that genuine charity ever enters into any Clinton’s head. The idea that donors need a third wheel to distribute their largess to the genuinely needy is also insupportable. So, what is going on? I strongly suspect the usual—the numbers are bogus, and the Clintons and their foundations are lying about everything … just to keep in practice, if nothing else.
Not really. It was the “wait and see” attitude. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was a bad candidate from the get-go. I mean, at the peak of her power in 2007, she ran a campaign for the Presidency, and was beaten by a 1st term senator from Illinois.
Think about that for a moment. Someone who has literally been involved with the federal government in one form or another for 40 years, had been first lady of Arkansas for 12 years, had been United States first lady for 8, and had been a United States Senator for 7, being beaten by a Black guy with a background in “community organizing” 7 years in a State Senate and 4 years in the United States Senate.
The Donors were correctly skeptical of Clinton’s ability to win (regardless of what the media polling was saying). They decided to hedge their bets, and hold off on the big-time donations until and unless she actually won, in which case the donations would have resumed, and ostensibly the foundation would have been being run by Chelsea.
In the end analysis, it largely doesn’t matter. The foundation had about $455 million in net assets. If it can leverage those assets to generate even 5%, that’s still $22 million net annually, of which they can pay their directors and staff whatever they want (and they SHOULD be able to do better than 5%). They’ll still be a handful of trickling-in donations.
He cited last year’s hiring of former University of Miami president Donna Shalala as part of the organization becoming more of a “regular foundation.”
Donna Shalala? United States Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001? Obviously a completely professional neutral party brought into run the foundation in a professional manner purely as a professional charity. So what if she had previous ties to the Clintons? So what if she was appointed to a cabinet position by Bill? How could that possibly affect her running the Clinton Foundation in any manner? Just not possible…
Wonder why he mentioned former University of Miami president without mentioning former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton?
Actually, I would expect to see a large shift to donations to the Trump foundation shortly while everybody thinks that the Graft they got used to with the Clinton Global Initiative will be repeated.
I expect that in short order a whole lot of money will change hands, and then the donors will be sorely disappointed the first time they call in asking for a “favor” and get told “get in line like everybody else.”
Is there really any doubt that Trump will be involved with the biggest pay to play scam in history.
I’d say zero chance, because Trump will be subjected to a nonstop anal exam by the press. Perhaps the most unmitigated benefit of having a president who is hated by the press.
Did contributions to Hillary Inc. really decline while Clinton was running for President, or were they merely redirected from the Clinton Foundation to Hillary’s Presidential campaign?
More than likely, redirected to Chelsea’s wedding…but of course, we wouldn’t want to talk about that. How unprofessional.
The Clinton Foundation is simply “Rev” Jackson’s shakedown operation (aka the Rainbow Coalition) writ large. Even the mere threat to open its ‘real’ books would cause an increase in ‘contributions’ to Chelsea’s Presidential campaign.
A huge purpose of the foundation was to employ the Clinton retainers who would form the backbone of the political operation at the Hillary White House. Without that prospect, there’s no reason for those people to hang around. If they want that power, they’ll have to hitch their ride to a different politician now.