When the entire premise of your operation is disguising a political slush fund as a charity, and the whole thing is named after you, there are going to be a few teeny tiny conflicts of interest. That's what happens when you're a walking, talking conflict of interest.
And yes, everyone knew it. And the good folks at the Clinton Foundation lied about it.
What the governance review lawyers found was a board and charity in disarray organizationally. It was staffed mostly with insiders, practicing weak oversight and inattentive leadership, and possessed of a loose dedication to best practices for foundations of its size and to Arkansas state and IRS regulations governing conflict of interest. According to the review, the Clinton foundation submitted a Form 990—signed under penalties of perjury—which said that it had a written conflict-of-interest policy, required annual disclosure of potential conflicts of interest, and monitored and enforced compliance with the policy. “However, we did not find evidence of that enforcement,” the review reads.
But the issue of conflict of interests went beyond the fact that the board did not enforce compliance with its written policy. The review seemed to find some of the issues that have come up on the campaign trail recently. “Some interviewees reported conflicts of those raising funds or donors, some of whom may have an expectation of quid pro quo benefits in return for gifts,” according to the review.
I'm shocked. Shocked.
What sort of people would donate to a fake Clinton charity set up for quid pro quo benefits and then expect to get them?
First of all, the Clinton Foundation is a legitimate charity from which neither Bill nor Hillary draw a salary. The idea that the Foundation operates as a “slush fund” for the couple has no basis in fact, as there is no evidence the money raised by the foundation is used for any other purpose than running the foundation.
A much better analogy is that the Foundation runs like a perpetual political campaign. Donors give to political campaigns ostensibly because they believe in the causes a candidate will pursue, but we all know that many give because they will believe it will give them access to the candidate and help them develop relationships with other important people that can be beneficial to the donor. The degree to which a politician devotes his time to raising money and glad-handing versus solving problems is obviously pertinent to voters evaluation of that candidate, but nobody would say that glad-handing is in and of itself corrupt or illegal. It’s simply part of how politics works.
The trouble with that argument is that CF is not a charity. And it is a political campaign. The two are at odds with one another. And the left has always argued that we need limits on political contributions.
The CF setup allowed what amounted to massive political contributions without oversight or legal restrictions.