Chorus grows for Clintons to shutter charitable foundation

Mike Segar—Reuters
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton stands with her husband

WASHINGTON, D.C. — National media outlets are calling for The Clinton Foundation, the family philanthropy organization of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, to be shut down. This after an Associated Press article revealed that more than half of the non-government meetings that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held were with donors to her foundation. The investigation reinforced accusations that the Clintons allowed access to the State Department in a “pay-for-play” system. Clinton called the accusations “absurd” saying that the media scewed the data in her calendar by omitting those meetings that she took with federal employees or foreign dignitaries, meetings that would be expected from the U.S. Secretary of State. Of those foreign dignitaries taken off of the list, 16 of them donated $170 million to the Clinton Foundation. The AP did not include those meetings in their investigation because they were tied to her official duties.The investigators said that out of the remaining 154 meetings, approximately 85 people who Clinton met with at State donated about $156 million dollars to her family charity. Forty of those gave $100 thousand or more, Twenty gave more than one million dollars. “Hillary Clinton ran The Clinton Foundation like her own personal hedge fund,” said Republican presidential opponent Donald Trump.The calendar of Clinton activities was requested through a public records request six years ago. The Associated Press sued the State Department in federal court for the schedules they have, which so far only accounts for half of her tenure as secretary of state. The Washington Post and USA Today said in editorials on Wednesday that if Hillary Clinton wins the Nov. 8 election the global charity must close for the Democratic candidate to avoid any appearance of unethical ties. “The only way to eliminate the odor surrounding the foundation is to wind it down and put it in mothballs, starting today, and transfer its important charitable work to another large American charity such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” the paper’s editorial board wrote. In an effort to quell criticism, the foundation announced that it would stop accepting at least some foreign and corporate donations if Clinton wins the presidency and that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, would resign from the foundation’s board. However it did not address whether the more than 6,000 donors that have already put $2 billion into the foundation since its formation in 2000 would get special White House treatment. The Washington Post said in its editorial that these changes were insufficient and should have happened sooner, before Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. “The foundation undoubtedly does worthwhile work,” the Post’s editorial board wrote. “Should Ms. Clinton win, all of that work and all of the foundation’s assets should be spun off to an organization with no ties to the first family.” The Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea Clinton, remains on the board of the charity, the full name of which is the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The foundation has said Hillary Clinton was not involved with the group while serving as the nation’s top diplomat. The Clinton campaign denies Clinton ever took any action because of donations to the foundation. The reporters investigating this case say they expect to release more information on Clinton’s schedule and emails later in the fall, but before the general election.Reuters News Service contributed to this report.