Clinton Global Initiative to close its doors

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and former secretaries of State Hillary Clinton

NEW YORK – The Clinton Global Initiative filed paperwork this week saying that it is closing its doors. At least 22 employees will be laid off on April 15, or possibly redirected into other Clinton Foundation projects. The CGI is a fundraising and networking organization associated with the Clinton Foundation that lists as its purpose to provide an avenue for “Commitments to Action.” “Rather than directly implementing projects, CGI facilitates action by helping members connect, collaborate, and make effective and measurable Commitments to Action—plans for addressing significant global challenges,” the website reads.The organization filed a WARN, Worker Adjustment of Retraining Notification, with the New York Department of Labor. According to the New York Observer, the paperwork says the reason the employees will be let go is the “dissolution of the Clinton Global Initiative.” CGI was founded by former President Bill Clinton in 2005 and had the Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, on the board of directors. It was funded through millions in donations from corporations and foreign governments, donations that have dropped off significantly over the last year as governments and companies began to cut ties. In November, the Australian government announced that it would end donations to GCI, that have amounted to nearly 90 million dollars over the last decade. Norway announced similar intentions this year cutting off what was estimated to be almost $20 million a year in donations from Norway’s federal government. The CGI also made an auspicious appearance in several of John Podesta’s email revealed by Wikileaks that indicates possible conflicts of interest”I signed a conflict of interest policy as a board member of cgi…On it, I wrote that my wife designs bags for cgi, and loses money doing so plus donating her time… Oddly, wjc (William Jefferson Clinton) does not have to sign such a document even though he is personally paid by 3 cgi sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc,” read an email to Podesta from CGI board member Doug Band. “I could add 500 different examples of things like this… I get the sense that they are trying to put some sort of wrong doing on me after the audit as a crutch to change things,” he continued. Band was also a close confidante of Bill Clinton’s but apparently had a falling out with them in recent years.The Clinton Foundation was a lightening rod during the 2016 presidential elections as critics called a “slush fund” for the Clintons to capitalize on their political connections. In 2015, the International Business Times published an article detailing connections between countries that donated to the Foundation and those who received favorable arms deals from the U.S. State Department where Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. According to IBT analysis, When Clinton was there, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments gave money to the Clinton Foundation.The Clintons have flatly denied any preferential policy treatment for those who donate to the Clinton Foundation, pointing out that similar deals with countries who had not donated also took place during that time. Instead, supporters of the foundation focus on it’s philanthropic activities around the world. The Clinton Global Initiative is not directly involved in any philanthropic projects. CGI says its unique model offers “inspiration” and opportunities to “network and collaborate” among business and government leaders on issues like fighting poverty among women, disease education, and increasing public awareness about the illegal ivory trade. The demise of the Clinton Global Initiative amid the dropping donations has some saying that the Clintons era of influence may be over. However, according to others, the perks of the Clinton Foundation itself will likely continue without CGI. In 2010, Laureate International Universities, a chain of for-profit international colleges, which donated to the foundation signed a contract to pay Bill Clinton $3.5 million a year to serve as it’s honorary chancellor. The deal ended when his wife, Hillary Clinton launched her campaign for president.Last week, Hillary Clinton appeared with four current and former U.S. secretaries of state at the State Department to mark the ceremonial opening of a museum on American diplomacy. The Clinton Foundation is one of the donors to the privately funded U.S. Diplomacy Center, which will formally open in 2018.”The longstanding bipartisan goal of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace is under enormous pressure,” she said in a speech to the gathering last Tuesday.”We should remember that the world looks to America as the indispensable nation not just because of the size of our military or the strength of our economy,” she said.”It looks to us because America stands for universal values and aspirations. And if we stay true to those values like the best of the men and women whose leadership and service will be commemorated here, then our country will weather every storm on the horizon.”Supporters of the center also include private American companies Boeing Co, Intel Corp and FedEx Corp ; the Kuwaiti, Qatari, United Arab Emirates and Brunei governments, according to a panel in the exhibition hall. Nearly $48 million in private sector funds have been raised for the center, and $18 million more is needed, according to the website of the Diplomacy Center Foundation created to support the museum.