Non-profit

Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation

Clinton Foundation logo (link)
Website:

clintonfoundation.org

Location:

LITTLE ROCK, AR

Tax ID:

31-1580204

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $70,776,528
Expenses: $87,415,298
Assets: $335,481,447

Formation:

1999 in Little Rock, Arkansas

Formerly:

William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation

Founders:

Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Chairman:

Bill Clinton

Vice Chair:

Chelsea Clinton

President:

Vacant (2017-Present)

Donna Shalala (2015-2017)

Previous Presidents:

Eric Braverman (2013–2015)

Bruce Lindsey (2005–2011)

Skip Rutherford (1997–2005) [100] [101]

The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation (also known as the Clinton Foundation and originally named the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation) is a global philanthropic organization created and run by former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their daughter, liberal pundit Chelsea Clinton. [1] The organization focuses on advancing a number of left-leaning policy items including global access to healthcare[2] and helping foreign and domestic governments respond to climate change by implementing alternative energy policies.[3]

Since 2001, the Foundation has raised over $2 billion from a global network of corporate executives, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests.[4] During Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy in 2016, the foundation was a focal point of criticism due to the fact that its fundraising efforts often intersected with Hillary Clinton’s official duties as Secretary of State.[5] While serving as Secretary of State, Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton Foundation.[6] Additionally, an Associated Press analysis found that 85 of 154 people outside government with private interests who met or spoke to Clinton while she was in office had contributed a combined $156 million to the Foundation.[7]

Critics also focused on the fact that the foundation failed to live up to a number of transparency promises that the Clintons had made as part of Hillary’s Secretary of State confirmation. The foundation did not provide complete transparency of its donors, failed to disclose a number of large donations with conflicted donors and foreign governments, and the Clinton Health Initiative spin-off entity did not provide a donor list or vet its donors as required.[8]

The foundation was also criticized as a perceived political backdoor that allowed donors, including corporate and foreign donors prohibited by law from making campaign contributions, to curry favor with the Clinton family while Hillary Clinton during served as Secretary of State and as the prospective Democratic Party nominee for president. [9] Half of the donors to the pro-Hillary Ready for Hillary Super PAC gave at least $10,000 to the Clinton Foundation[10] and the foundation has employed a number of individuals who also serve Hillary’s political apparatus, such as Clinton fundraiser Dennis Cheng[11] and Clinton “attack dog” Sidney Blumenthal.[12]

Organizational Overview

President Bill Clinton established the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation in 1997.[13] Originally the foundation was created to construct and endow the Clinton Presidential Library. In 2001, the foundation expanded its scope[14] to promote liberal health, economic, environmental, and ethnic interest programs worldwide.[15]

In 2013, shortly after former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left the State Department, the foundation was renamed the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation (in short, the Clinton Foundation) to represent the influence of all three Clintons.[16]

The Clintons also operate a second much smaller, independent personal family charity, the Clinton Family Foundation.[17]

Controversies

In 2015, The Chicago Tribune wrote that Bill Clinton used the Foundation ostensibly to “[wrangle] rich people’s money for poor people’s problems” and in the process, “elevates the wealthy by giving them entree to one of the nation’s most prominent political families.” Since it was re-organized in 2001, the Clinton Foundation has raised over $2 billion from a global network of “corporate titans, political donors, foreign governments and other wealthy interests.”[18]

In 2016, during Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, the foundation’s fundraising was heavily criticized for creating numerous conflicts of interest and creating that perception that donations to the foundation curried favor and good will from Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State and Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.[19]

Conflicts of Interest

The Hill reported that during Hillary Clinton’s 2009 Secretary of State confirmation hearing, “the Clinton Foundation was mentioned 62 times as senators worried that foreign governments could use donations to the foundation to curry favor with the Clinton State Department.”[20]

In late 2008, Bill and Hillary Clinton agreed to publicly disclose of all of the Clinton Foundation’s donors along with eight other operational restrictions meant to increase the foundation’s transparency.[21] During her confirmation hearings, Clinton said that that “all contributors would be disclosed,” and pointed to the agreement as proof of this fact.[22]

However, in many ways the foundation’s fundraising appeared to intersect with Hillary Clinton’s official duties,[23] suggesting that the Clintons’ promises for transparency were not kept.[24]

Foreign Government Donations

During her time as secretary of state, the Associated Press reported that “Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton Foundation.” [25]

During Clinton’s tenure the foundation took money from Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman, which according to the Washington Post, had “complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government.” [26] Qatar, for instance, spent more than $5.3 million on registered lobbyists while Clinton was Secretary of State.[27]

After Secretary Clinton left the State Department, in 2013 and 2014, at least nine countries — including first-time donors Germany and the United Arab Emirates — gave millions of dollars to the foundation. Some of these countries previously had interests that involved Hillary Clinton’s State Department.[28] For example, Clinton’s State Department was involved in approving the U.S. government’s initial environmental-impact statement for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Then in 2014, after Clinton left the department, a Canadian agency promoting the pipeline gave the foundation up to $500,000.[29]

Additionally, Reuters reported that from 2010 to 2013 the foundation filed erroneous tax documents indicating it had not taken any funds from for foreign and U.S. governments, when in fact several foreign governments gave the foundation tens of millions of dollars.[30]

Private Interests

An Associated Press analysis found that of the 154 people outside government with private interests who met or spoke to Clinton by phone while she was Secretary of State, 85 had contributed either personally or through their organizations to the foundation. They had contributed a combined total of $156 million.[31]

During Clinton’s State Department tenure, the Foundation took contributions from major individual donors who represented international interests facing scrutiny from the U.S. government. Victor Pinchuk a Ukrainian steel magnate who has faced formal complaints in the United States for unfair trade practices,[32] directed between $10 million and $25 million to the Foundation. While she was Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton hosted a dinner at her home that included Pinchuk.[33] Between September 2011 and November 2012, Douglas E. Schoen, a former political consultant for Mr. Clinton, arranged about a dozen meetings with State Department officials on behalf of or with Mr. Pinchuk to discuss the continuing political crisis in Ukraine.[34]

In 2015, a New York Times report found that from 2009 to 2013 a Canadian uranium mining company’s chairman and Clinton Foundation board member, Frank Giustra, directed $2.35 million worth of undisclosed money to the Foundation. Meanwhile, the same Canadian uranium mining company petitioned Clinton’s State Department to approve a deal that would give Russian interests a majority stake in the company and with it one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States.[35] In 2018, The Hill reported that “an FBI informant connected to the Uranium One deal told three congressional committees in a written statement that Moscow routed millions of dollars to America” with the expectation that the money would go to the Clinton charitable organizations while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton oversaw a “‘reset’ in U.S.-Russian relations.”[36]

Additionally, numerous emails revealed that Clinton Foundation staffers would request favors from Hillary Clinton’s government-employed staffers in the State Department.

In 2016 e-mails released by the conservative group Judicial Watch revealed a 2009 exchange where Clinton Foundation senior staffer Doug Band told Clinton’s top aide at the State Department, Huma Abedin, that an unnamed individual was “important to take care of” and that Abedin had in fact assisted the unnamed individual in finding a job with the administration.[37]

Another 2009 email revealed that Band had also asked Abedin and Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills, to put Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury in touch with a State Department “substance person” on Lebanon.[38] Chagoury had previously been convicted for money-laundering and aiding a criminal organization;[39] it was later expunged.[40]

Another email from 2012, showed that Clinton Foundation staffer Dennis Cheng had arranged for Huma Abedin to fly on a private aircraft owned by a foundation donor to Little Rock, Arkansas.[41]

Speaking Fees

In total, the Clinton family has given 97 speeches across the U.S. and around the world that brought in more than $12 million in revenue to the Clinton Foundation since 2002. According to Politico, some of those speeches were paid for by “special interests that have had numerous issues before the federal government and lobbying activities that include the U.S. State Department.”[42]

Transparency Failures

In 2015, the Washington Post noted that despite the Clintons’ purported transparency agreement, the foundation’s disclosure did not provide complete transparency since it only reported donors’ cumulative contribution histories, making it difficult to track trends in giving over time. The Post noted that it was impossible to determine how much particular donors contributed to the foundation after Hillary left the State Department.[43]

Similarly, in 2016, The Hill reported that it was impossible to determine which foreign individuals or entities funded a more than $25 million partnership between the Clinton Foundation and the foundation of Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra.[44]

Additionally, the foundation frequently failed to comply with the requirements set forth in the Clinton’s 2008 transparency agreement. [45]

The Foundation failed to disclose $2.35 million of donations from a family foundation linked to a company with business before Clinton’s State Department,[46] and also failed to disclose a new half million-dollar contribution from the Algerian government while the same government was spending heavily to lobby the State Department on human rights issues.[47]

In 2010 the Clinton Health Access Initiative was spun off as a separate legal entity subject to the same disclosure agreement as the foundation. That same year, the program breached the Clinton’s transparency pledge and stopped fully disclosing its donors. From 2010 through the end of Hillary Clinton’s State Department tenure in 2013, the foundation took in previously undisclosed contributions worth millions of dollars from at least five new foreign government donors and two government donors which more than doubled their support. [48]

Similarly, The Hill’s Jonathan Swan reported, “the Clinton Health Access Initiative did not submit foreign government donations to State Department ethics officials for review,” as also required under the Clinton’s transparency agreement.[49]

Political Donor Backdoor

In 2015 and 2016, the foundation was sharply criticized as a means of access to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign for corporate and foreign donors that were legally barred from giving contributions to U.S. political candidates. [50]

According to a 2016 Washington Post article, more than half (53%) of the foundation’s donors who had given $1 million or more to the charity were corporations or foreign citizens, groups, or governments.[51] The Clintons claimed that if Hillary were to win the presidency, they would halt any contributions from these donors; however, both liberal and conservative ethics critics questioned why they would wait until after the election to do so. Nina Turner, a former Democratic Ohio state senator and surrogate for Clinton’s primary rival U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), said that the restrictions should have been imposed immediately.[52] Left-leaning columnist Jonathan Chait wrote that the supposed transparency policy was an “inadequate response to the conflicts of interest inherent in the Clinton Foundation.”[53]

The Foundation also served as another avenue for Clinton’s legitimate donors to give her additional money. According to a 2015 Washington Post report, “Nearly half of the major donors backing Ready for Hillary, a group promoting Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, as well as nearly half of the bundlers from her 2008 campaign, [gave] at least $10,000 to the foundation, either on their own or through foundations or companies they run.”[54]

Democratic mega-donor Fred Eychaner — who funneled $32 million to liberal causes during the 2016 election cycle[55] — has given the Clinton Foundation over $25 million.[56] Liberal foundations including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Susie Tompkins Buell Fund, the M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, and the Cheryl and Haim Saban & The Saban Family Foundation, have all given between $10 and $25 million.[57]

Additionally, the American Federation of Teachers labor union, liberal billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (formerly the Open Society  Institute), liberal movie director Steven Spielberg, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation have also all given as much as $5 million. [58]

The Clinton Foundation has also received support from some right-of-center figures, including Newsmax chief executive Christopher Ruddy and conservative mega-donor Richard Mellon Scaife.[59]

Controversial Donors

The Clinton Foundation has often taken millions of dollars from controversial sources.

Sant Chatwal, for instance, gave the Clinton Foundation millions of dollars. According to the Washington Free Beacon, “in 2014, Chatwal [pleaded] guilty to felony charges in the United States for illegally funneling nearly $200,000 in campaign money to federal candidates.”[60] Email records also show that Chantwal asked Clinton’s State Department Aide Huma Abedin for help in securing an invitation to a state dinner featuring India’s Prime Minister to which Abedin responded by instead inviting Chatwal to a lunch hosted by Clinton and featuring the same Indian government official.[61]

In 2017, the Clinton Foundation said that it would not return $250,000 in donations from controversial film producer Harvey Weinstein after he was accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape by a number of female entertainment industry figures.[62]

“Bill Clinton, Inc.”

A 2011 memo written by Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band detailed what the Washington Post called “a circle of enrichment” in which Band would raise money for the Clinton Foundation from top-tier corporations such as Dow Chemical and Coca-Cola, which were in turn clients of his private consulting firm Teneo, and also hired former President Clinton for speeches that provided him with personal income.[63]

In total Band’s memo described how he helped run what he called “Bill Clinton Inc.,” raising over $8 million for the foundation, arranging for $3 million in paid speaking fees for Bill Clinton, and securing future contracts for the former president that would pay him approximately $66 million over the subsequent nine-year period.[64]

In December 2011, Chelsea Clinton, then serving as the foundation’s vice-chair, complained that she had heard “serious concerns” about the way Band’s firm Teneo was using her father’s name to set up meetings for clients. Clinton alleged that a staffer had called members of the U.S. House and British parliament on behalf of President Clinton for Teneo clients, specifically Dow Chemical. [65]

Clinton then pushed to implement conflict of interest rules that Band claimed were meant to push him out and take over the foundation.[66]

Clinton also initiated a 2011 audit that focused partly on potential conflicts of interest and that found many foundation employees and officials were unaware of the foundation’s conflict-of-interest policies. [67]

Programs

Since its inception in 1997, the Clinton Foundation has funded and run 13 different programs including the Clinton Presidential Library.[68] In 2014, according to self-reported consolidated expenses, the foundation spent $217.7 million on eight programs, and $31 million on fundraising and administrative expenses.[69]

The Clinton Foundation has several separate liberal health programs,[70] however the foundation’s largest program is the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), which in 2014 cost $143 million and comprised 57% of the foundation’s total spending. [71]The CHAI encourages governments and private business to increase funding for HIV/AIDS treatments and helps them accelerate large-scale treatment programs.[72]

In 2014, the Clinton Foundation spent $9 million on the Clinton Climate Initiative, which touts the fact that it led the city of Houston to implement costly environmental technology upgrades and pushed the state of Arkansas to provide environmental handouts. Abroad, the climate initiative seeks to help foreign governments increase renewable energy efforts and expand land preservation activities.[73]

Clinton Global Initiative

In 2014, the Clinton Foundation spent $23.5 million (9.4% of the Foundation’s total budget) on the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI),[74] a $15,000 per ticket conference at which corporate executives and celebrities are pressured to make philanthropic promises,[75] which were often costly multi-year plans costing tens of millions of dollars.[76]

The first CGI gathering in 2005 included corporate executives such as Mexican telecommunications industry billionaire Carlos Slim, and host of left-leaning celebrities such as Bono and Brad Pitt. In addition to the $15,000 entry fee, each attendee was required to pledge money and resources toward philanthropic projects that the foundation would then monitor. The first gathering recorded pledges totaling $2.5 billion from CGI attendees. [77]

Not all of these pledges were actually implemented. A 2005 $1 billion pledge to invest in renewable energies by multiple CGI attendees fell well short of its promised goal. [78]

Billionaires Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Rupert Murdoch; then-First Lady Laura Bush; and then-French President Jacques Chirac attended the second CGI gathering.[79]

In 2014, ten current or former heads of state, including then-President Barack Obama, attended CGI. [80]

After Hillary Clinton announced her 2016 run for President, critics noted that the conference lost the non-political air it once purported to have. Slate podcaster and former CGI panel moderator Adam Davidson said that CGI felt “like the worst version of an elite selling access to the aspirational” and creating a “theater” of doing good, while “it’s all about something else.” [81]

CGI has also assisted Democratic Party-aligned organizations. According to a Bloomberg News report, CGI helped broker a deal between three major labor unions (the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Building Trades Union) to invest $14.5 billion in infrastructure from 2011-2016.[82]

The Clinton Global Initiative’s final gathering was held in 2016.[83]

Operations

According to left-leaning fact-checking service Politifact, the Clinton Foundation is uniquely complicated to analyze when compared to most other charitable foundations. Rather than distributing its money through grants, the Clinton Foundation spends its money on an in-house staff to carry out its programs.[84]

Politico Magazine reported in 2015 that the foundation started with nine staffers in Little Rock, Arkansas, but at that time had grown to more than 2,000 staff around the world.[85]

In 2015, Charity Navigator said that due to its atypical business model, that it could not accurately rate the foundation.[86]

In response to criticisms that the foundation was wasteful, the Clinton Foundation proclaimed that it spent 88% of its revenues directly on programming. However, the Federalist, a conservative publication, questioned how travel and office supplies (which comprised at least 15% of the foundation’s budget) were direct programming expenses.[87]

Leadership

Donna Shalala served as president and CEO of the Clinton Foundation from 2015 through 2017 before leaving to run for Congress from Florida.[88] Prior to that she served as president of the University of Miami and was Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993-2001.[89]

Previous presidents of the foundation include Eric Braverman (2013–2015), Bruce Lindsey (2005–2011),[90]and Skip Rutherford (1997–2005).[91]

The Clinton Foundation’s current board of directors includes former President Bill Clinton (Chairman), vice-chair Chelsea Clinton (Vice-Chair), top Hillary Clinton Aide Cheryl Mills, past foundation presidents Donna Shalala and Bruce Lindsey, and Canadian mining billionaire and foundation donor Frank Guistra.[92]

Doug Band is President Bill Clinton’s longtime personal aide. Band worked for the Clinton Foundation and at the same time as President of the Teneo consulting company, which he founded. Band is credited with devising and building the Clinton Global initiative[93] and was a key player in what he described as “Bill Clinton, Inc.” [94]

Political Staffing Overlap

In 2015, Washington Post wrote that the “overlap between the Clintons’ political network and their charitable work was apparent” from the foundation’s staffing. The report specifically noted that the foundation’s chief development officer Dennis Cheng was leaving his position to take a position as a key fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.[95]

Similarly, the Post reported that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s longtime personal aide, “was paid a second salary as a contractor to the foundation.”[96]

The Clinton Foundation also hired as a consultant Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime “attack dog”[97] for both Clintons from their White House days, reportedly paying him $10,000 a month for years.[98] In 2015, Politico reported that some officials at the charity questioned his value and complained that his hiring was merely a favor from the Clintons and that his concurrent work for the foundation, the Brock groups and a pair of businesses seeking potentially lucrative contracts in Libya “underscored the blurred lines between her (Clinton’s) State Department work and that of her family’s charitable and political enterprises.”[99]

References

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Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Bill Clinton
    Founder and Board Chair
  2. Chelsea Clinton
    Vice Chair of the Board
  3. Doug Band
    Former Employee
  4. Sidney Blumenthal
    Former Staffer and Consultant
  5. Kathryn Murdoch
    Former Director of Strategy & Communications, Clinton Climate Initiative (2007-2011)
  6. Dennis Cheng
    Former Chief Development Officer (2011-2015)
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 1998

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $70,776,528 $87,415,298 $335,481,447 $8,746,251 Y $62,912,331 $2,912,432 $4,807,873 $2,641,123
    2015 Dec Form 990 $116,082,508 $98,877,350 $359,923,364 $13,314,443 Y $108,915,463 $2,628,406 $3,017,232 $2,458,381 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $177,804,612 $91,281,145 $354,190,170 $21,718,821 Y $172,579,474 $2,897,690 $95,611 $2,217,050 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $148,889,439 $84,684,494 $277,805,820 $30,506,362 Y $144,382,361 $1,926,241 $159,457 $1,358,372 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $54,712,950 $58,751,898 $225,703,274 $42,113,239 Y $51,456,352 $503,024 $39,358 $765,365 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $57,147,869 $57,606,827 $197,890,114 $10,261,131 Y $56,257,057 $194,148 $68,423 $553,534 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation

    610 PRESIDENT CLINTON AVE, 2ND FLOOR
    LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201-1732