The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Clinton Foundation Gives Family Foundations a Bad Name

In response to Obama’s Really Getting His Money’s Worth Out of That $8 Million Spent in Florida, Huh?

Charlie, it as indeed intriguing to see that the Clintons’ 2015 charitable giving boils down to giving $1 million to their own foundation and $42,000 to fund an affiliated golf tournament, but it’s honestly not that unusual for extremely wealthy families to funnel the bulk of their charitable donations through their family foundations. The Clintons, however, are not your ordinary wealthy family.

The Foundation allowed an ex-president and a presidential hopeful to not only employ their own family members though tax-deductible donations but also to utilize tax-deductible donations to help keep the Clintons in the center of the political conversation. Moreover, it allowed them to build and maintain a financial power base far larger than they could sustain even through their own enormous personal incomes — and they did all this while cultivating and maintaining a high-dollar donor base that even the most well-connected politicians would envy. 

The Clinton Foundation doubled as Clinton Incorporated, and we now see that it facilitated far more than the provision of charitable services to the poor and vulnerable (though it did do some of that). It provided a real-world mechanism for exercising power and influence. It provided an alternative entry point into the Clinton universe. Indeed, it’s growing increasingly unclear where the foundation ended and the State Department began. 

Yes, the double standard argument is obvious and tired, but can one even imagine the outcry if a serious Republican candidate merged his charitable giving and political opportunism as completely as the Clintons? They do what few other politicians would dream of doing, and then they count on an army of loyal apologists to provide them with all the political cover they need. If Hillary wins, get ready for four more years of relevation and scandal. The Clintons’ greed and cynicism knows few limits.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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