The Question of the Clinton Foundation

It is not unusual for those in the United States who have made large fortunes to begin charitable foundations.  There are a few reasons for that.  One being the wealthy person wants to show that he or she cares about social justice, i.e. it looks good for their public relations.  The second and most importantly, charitable donations are tax deductible in the United States.

The Clinton foundation can trace its roots back to 1997 when Bill Clinton was looking for donors for the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock Arkansas. Bill Clinton technically founded the Willian J. Clinton Foundation after his presidency ended in 2001.  In 2013 it was renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.  The foundation’s focus has shifted over time depending on the interests of the Clintons at the time.  The foundation has been able to succeed

The foundation has been able to succeed because of Bill Clinton, especially, is able to get big donors in the room.  This foundation, while focusing on philanthropic work has always been supported by donations.  This is important considering the nature of politics in this country.  It wasn’t until 2013 that Hillary Clinton was allowed to have any active involvement with the Clinton Foundation, because of her political position, this was when the organization was renamed.  Chelsea Clinton takes the active, day to day role of running the foundation.

This is where some feel as though there is a conflict of interest with the Clinton Foundation.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is similarly minded in their philanthropy, but was founded by and mostly funded by the private wealth of the Gates and Buffet families.  The Clinton foundation is a fundraising apparatus, similar to one any candidate for president would need.

If the Clinton Foundation is to continue, and the Clinton family wants to continue with politics I do concur with Richard Painter of the New York times, “The family should promise now that if Hillary is elected president, all of the Clinton family members will step down from all positions with the foundation and they will not return. The foundation should continue to go about its business, but the Clintons should do something else. And in the meantime, between now and the election, the foundation should immediately suspend all fund-raising and acceptance of donations, not just foreign donations, as it has already done.”

Appearance matters and the Clinton family should know that better than any other family in America.

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