The vast, nonprofit charitable organization run by Bill and Hillary Clinton, known as The Clinton Foundation, has become a source of questions heading into 2016. The organization, which does many good things around the world, takes in millions of dollars from individuals and many foreign governments. As a result, some are asking whether this creates a conflict of interest for Hillary as she seeks the presidency.
Report from the StarTribune:
The foundation launched by former President Bill Clinton more than a decade ago has battled HIV and AIDS in Africa, educated millions of children and fed the poor and hungry around the globe. It also has the potential to become a political risk for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she moves toward a second presidential campaign.
The former secretary of state has struggled with some recent bad headlines over large donations given to the foundation by foreign governments in the past two years, and the $200 million-plus the organization has raised since 2013, ahead of her anticipated White House campaign.
Republicans contend that foreign governments donating to a foundation led by a potential U.S. president creates unacceptable conflicts of interests. Also, the involvement of big money reinforces a long-standing narrative pushed by the GOP of the Clintons as a couple who frequently mix business and politics.
“Unless Hillary Clinton immediately reinstates the ban on foreign countries giving to her foundation and returns the millions of dollars these governments have already donated, she’s setting an incredibly dangerous precedent,” said the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. “The American people are not about to elect a president in Hillary Clinton who could expose them to the demands of foreign governments because they dumped massive sums of cash into her foundation.”
The foundation, which is scheduled to hold events in Morocco and Greece this spring, defended its financial support and addressed how it might function if Clinton runs for president. If she seeks office again, something taken as a given by most, the foundation said it would ensure its policies and practices are “appropriate, just as we did when she served as secretary of state.”
Some are making quite a big deal out of this, and it might very well be an issue, but I actually don’t think it is something that will preclude her candidacy. As stated, Hillary was Secretary of State while the foundation was operating normally so I don’t see a reason to think they won’t do the same if she announces a presidential run.
This sounds like a story that will not make it much further than the outer loop of the 495 beltway since it will seem like a weak political reach of her opponents. There certainly could appear to be the potential for impropriety if the Clinton Foundation is beholden to foreign governments for untold millions in support. However, will this really become a campaign issue that could turn voters against Hillary? Surely they must be well-aware of her national and international connections after a couple decades in positions of power.