World Opens Wallet for William J Clinton Foundation
Rhonda J Mangus | December 19, 2008 at 04:51 amby
697 views | 37 Recommendations | 9 comments
President-elect Barack Obama made Hillary Clinton's nomination as Secretary of State contingent on her husband, former President Bill Clinton, revealing contributors to the William J. Clinton Foundation.
The world opened its wallet for Bill Clinton. Governments, corporations and billionaires with their own interests in U.S. foreign policy gave the former president’s charity millions of dollars, according to records he released Thursday to lay bare any financial entanglements that could affect his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton as the next secretary of state.
Saudi Arabia, Norway and other foreign governments gave at least $46 million, and donors with ties to India delivered millions more. Corporate donors included the Blackwater security firm, at risk of losing its lucrative government contract to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq, and Web company Yahoo, involved in disputes over surrendering Internet information to Chinese authorities that led to the imprisonment of dissidents there.
Other high-profile Clinton donors don’t suggest inevitable collisions between U.S. policies and their giving. Celebrities Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Paul Newman, Carly Simon and Chevy Chase all gave. Sports figures included New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, retired Formula One driver Michael Schumacher and owners of the Indiana Pacers basketball team.
The records account for at least $492 million in contributions to the William J. Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit created by the former president to finance his library in Little Rock, Ark., and charitable efforts in dozens of countries to reduce poverty and treat AIDS. President-elect Barack Obama made Hillary Clinton’s nomination as secretary of state contingent on her husband revealing the foundation’s contributors, to address questions about potential conflicts of interest.
The foundation disclosed the names of its 205,000 donors on its Web site Thursday, ending a decade of resistance to identifying them. It released only the names of donors and the range of their contributions. It did not identify each contributor’s occupation, employer or nationality or provide any other details. The foundation said separately Thursday that fewer than 3,000 of its donors were foreigners but it did not identify which ones.
Presidents typically do not release the names of donors to their foundations, and the Clintons were no different. There also was no legal obligation for them to do so.
The foundation notified all donors by letter within the last 10 days to let them know their names would be published on its Web site. Almost no one objected, and none asked to have their donations refunded rather than have their names released. The foundation has a robust fundraising operation that solicits money by e-mail and direct mail. It said 90 percent of the donations to the foundation were $250 and under.
Most Recommended Comment
wbsfr8 (not verified)
SputnicThese members have powered this story: