The Clinton Foundation has reportedly decided it will no longer accept foreign and corporate donations if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency.
The Associated Press was first to report on the announcement late on Thursday. According to the report, former President Bill Clinton dropped the news at an afternoon meeting with Clinton Foundation staffers. Here is how the AP summarized the meeting and announcement:
Bill Clinton said the foundation plans to continue its work, but intends to refocus its efforts in a process that will take up to a year to complete. The former president, who turns 70 on Friday, said he will resign from the board, and the foundation will only accept contributions from U.S. citizens and independent charities.
It will no longer take money from any foreign entity, government, foreign or domestic corporations, or corporate charities.
Additionally, Clinton reportedly told staffers today that the Clinton Global Initiative (GCI) will hold its final meeting this coming September, regardless of the outcome in November. Though, Clinton was said to have expressed hope that the CGI University college campus based organization could continue.
LawNewz.com reached out to the Clinton Foundation for a formal statement on the report, but we did not receive a reply by press time.
Recent history shows these self-imposed “regulations” and promises mean almost nothing to the Clintons, as a practical matter.
Upon her confirmation as Secretary of State, there was much fanfare surrounding a so-called ethics pledge Hillary Clinton agreed to follow.
“For the duration of my appointment as Secretary if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party, unless I am first authorized to participate,” Clinton wrote in a letter to a State Department ethics official.
Thanks to FOIA lawsuits brought by Judicial Watch and other media outlets, we now know this pledge was meaningless. The State Department refused to take any action over the blatant breaches of the ethics pledge that occurred during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Just last week, Meredith McGehee, policy director for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, told Politico there was no question that Hillary and/or her aides violated the spirit of the pledge — “yeah, of course they have,” McGehee said.
Given the boldness with which the State Department ethics pledge was broken, does anyone really think the Clintons will have any qualms about breaking these new regulations?
Here is the bottom line: The Clinton Foundation is remaining open for business and will still be taking donations. Even without breaking the meaningless self-imposed limitations on not accepting certain donations, there is still plenty of room for the appearance of (and actual) influence peddling under the new scheme.
Do not be fooled by the media-hype surrounding this announcement. In practical terms, the announcement is nothing more than a purely symbolic move to shift the conversation away from all the negative stories surrounding the Foundation of late. Including some reports that the Clinton Foundation may have also been hacked recently. That makes the timing of this announcement somewhat suspicious, as well. Perhaps Bill is trying to stay ahead of the next shoe to drop.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.