In response to a New York Times piece examining the millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation received from foreign countries with questionable backgrounds, Hillary Clinton‘s campaign spokesperson fired back. Brian Fallon said that “[t]he policies that governed the foundation’s activities during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state already went far beyond legal requirements.” He added that the foundation submitted to “even more rigorous standards” when Clinton declared she was running for President. Last week, President Bill Clinton announced that if Hillary were to win, the Foundation would not longer accept foreign donations. But these announcements come amidst a cloud of negative coverage concerning the Clinton Foundation and its activities when Clinton was Secretary of State. One legal expert even called the Foundation a “walking conflict-of-interest.’
The Foundation has raised about $2 billion over the years, and includes on its board former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. Among the controversial donations, The Times reports that Saudi Arabia has given between $10 million and $25 million.
As we previously reported, Clinton also came under fire for placing a big foundation donor on a State Department committee dealing with nuclear arms issues. Rajiv K. Fernando had given $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and Clinton’s 2008 campaign. He was appointed to the committee despite not having any experience in the subject area.
Also, as Bloomberg reports, Huma Abedin stepped down as the deputy chief of staff at the State Department, only to be rehired as a “special government employee.” At the same time, she took a paying job with the Foundation and Teneo Holdings, a group founded by Bill Clinton’s long-time personal aide.
“The Clinton Foundation for Hillary Clinton is kind of a walking conflict-of-interest problem,” Meredith McGehee, policy director for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, said in a Bloomberg interview. “Clearly this notion that it could continue to operate while she was secretary of state — it was a built-in problem. If you’re really looking at what should happen if she’s elected, neither her husband nor her daughter, certainly no relative, should have any connection with the foundation.”