Clinton Foundation defends fundraising practices

AP News
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Posted: Feb 19, 2015 7:05 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The charity founded by former President Bill Clinton defended its financial support from foreign governments on Thursday and said it would continue "appropriate" policies and practices if former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton runs for president again.

The foundation run by the Clintons and their daughter, Chelsea Clinton, has come under scrutiny for its practices of raising money from foreign governments as Hillary Clinton considers a presidential campaign in 2016.

The Wall Street Journal reported the foundation received money in 2014 from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The Washington Post found the foundation had raised nearly $2 billion since the former president launched it in 2001. About one-third of the foundation's donations of $1 million or more came from foreign governments or entities based outside the United States, the Post analysis found.

The Clinton Foundation said in a statement Thursday it receives support from "individuals, organizations and governments from all over the world" and that its programs improve the lives of millions of people.

"Should Secretary Clinton decide to run for office, we will continue to ensure the foundation's policies and practices regarding support from international partners are appropriate, just as we did when she served as secretary of state," the foundation said.

The foundation stopped raising money from foreign governments in 2009 when Hillary Clinton became President Barack Obama's secretary of state amid concerns the foundation's dealings with foreign entities might present a conflict of interest. The foundation resumed fundraising among foreign governments in 2013, after she left the administration.

The foundation also agreed to disclose its donors online and noted in the statement that it has a "record of transparency that goes above what is required of U.S. charities." The foundation has said its Clinton Global Initiative has improved the lives of 430 million people in 180 countries since 2005.

While Hillary Clinton remains the leading Democratic presidential contender should she launch a campaign, the foundation has been aggressively raising money in recent months with a goal of building a $250 million endowment to provide long-term stability.

A spokesman for the Republican National Committee, Michael Short, said the "alarming rate at which these contributions are now coming in presents a massive conflict of interest problem."