USA Today On Clinton Foundation: Hillary, Bill–Shut It Down

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Aug 24, 2016 9:00 PM
USA Today On Clinton Foundation: Hillary, Bill–Shut It Down

It’s not just Trump and the Republicans who are noticing the ethical dilemmas Clinton faces with her family’s foundation. Even members of the media are saying it’s time to shut it down to avoid any further pay-to-play allegations that could hamper her presidency should she win in November. The power couple has already said that they will sever their official ties with the Foundation should they win the election (Hillary has already resigned from the board), and they would stop accepting money from foreign and corporate interests. That still doesn’t shield them from paid access accusations, as we’ve seen from her time at State.

While Hillary vowed not to give preferential treatment to donors while she was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation was still used as a back channel to guarantee meetings with her and donors to the the non-profit. More than half of the nongovernmental meetings she had while she was secretary of state were with Foundation donors. USA Today’s editorial board wrote this week that should Clinton win, she would have to shut down the Foundation in order to be successful in her long-term campaign to build trust with voters, among squashing other ethical questions that will certainly zap her political capital (not saying that this would be a bad thing—as it could soften her up for 2020...maybe?):

Ending foreign and corporate contributions is a good step, but allowing them to continue at least through the first week of November looks more like an influence-peddling fire sale (Give while you still can!) than a newfound commitment to clean government.

And the complex plan for allowing donations from U.S. citizens and permanent residents, keeping some parts of the Clinton Foundation alive, and maintaining scores of Clinton-family allies on the payroll is less an opportunity for a clean slate than a guarantee of new controversy.

[…]

…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. If Hillary Clinton doesn’t support these steps, she boosts Trump’s farcical presidential campaign and, if she’s elected, opens herself up to the same kind of pay-to-play charges that she was subject to as secretary of State.

[…]

Should Clinton win, she’ll face an uphill battle to rebuild trust in government and find a way to get Washington working again. That task will be all the harder if millions of voters repulsed by Trump’s rhetoric and concerned with his volatile behavior find that his “Crooked Hillary” taunt had some substance in fact.

The New York Times  also noted how Hillary’s Foundation ties are beginning to impact her campaign, with polls showing that the vast majority of Americans were concerned about her nonprofit receiving millions of dollars from foreign donors while she was secretary of state. Even some of her staunchest allies, like former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, said that the Foundation should be closed in the circumstance that she becomes the next president of the United States:

A Bloomberg poll in June showed that 72 percent of voters said it bothered them either a lot or a little that the Clinton Foundation took money from foreign countries while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. In a CNN/ORC International Poll the same month, 38 percent of voters said Mr. Clinton should completely step down from the foundation, while 60 percent said he should be able to continue working with the foundation if his wife became president. Mr. Clinton said Thursday he would leave the foundation’s board if Mrs. Clinton won.

Edward G. Rendell, a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, said the foundation should be disbanded if Mrs. Clinton wins, and he added that it would make sense for the charity to stop taking foreign donations immediately.

The email fiasco is still plaguing her, and now she has to deal with the multitude of ethical questions concerning her dealings with her own nonprofit that’s been allegedly selling access for cash. The Clinton Foundation has been accused of being a bank for the wealthy and well connected to deposit their favors with the Clintons. And one of them could be the next president. Talk about all-access with America’s full faith and credit behind it. That’s the problem—and it should be taken seriously.