Those who believe a certain Arkansas-based political family “always gets away with it” should know that the race to indict, prosecute, and convict multiple actors leading the sprawling, international Clinton Foundation fraud conspiracy is on.
Though long overdue, this seems eminently fair since prominent persons who operated porous and loosely controlled false-front philanthropies a tiny fraction the size of the known Clinton “charities,” including former Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), were sentenced to federal prison for lengthy terms.
For years, U.S. authorities have been keenly aware of provable crimes committed in the guise of philanthropy. But governments here and abroad have only been willing to take on the transplanted Arkansas dynasty and their many financial backers once it seemed beyond doubt that no Clinton was destined to take up residence again at the White House anytime soon.
Now, as President Donald Trump succeeds in filling key positions within the Department of Justice and the IRS, governments and their beleaguered taxpayers are stepping up demands for justice that increased in intensity as Hillary Clinton mounted her second attempt for the White House in March 2015.
Following a first call to investigate Clinton Foundation irregularities on May 19, 2015, that was given scant attention, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and more than 60 Republican colleagues again demanded on July 15, 2016, that the FBI, IRS and FTC investigate the foundation.
A central element in their argument was that the presidential charity had exceeded its specific authority to “construct a library, maintain a historical site, and engage in study and research.” This limited authority can be seen clearly in the original application for federal tax exemption, filed Dec. 23, 1997, with the IRS.
Blackburn drew pointed attention to the fact that the Clinton Foundation never sought authority to engage in foreign activities of any kind:
“No mention is made of conducting activities outside of the United States, which is one of the codes included in the I.R.S. ‘Application for Recognition of Exemption’ in effect at that time (see activity code 910). As a result, the foundation’s global initiatives appear to be unlawful pursuant to IRS guidance.”
Days later, IRS Director John Koskinen confirmed that he had referred Blackburn’s letter to the service’s Dallas office for examination. There, matters have rested ever since.
A federal tax-exempt charity must limit the scope of its work to precisely defined pursuits that are, in fact, charitable. It cannot fund activities beyond those authorized in its controlling organizational document, which, for the Clinton Foundation, are its articles of incorporation.
A records search in Arkansas and other key states reveals that the Clinton Foundation never amended its articles of incorporation to expand its purposes, though it did file amendments to change its name from William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation to The William J. Clinton Foundation on April 28, 2005; to William J. Clinton Foundation on July 8, 2008; and to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation on April 9, 2013.
Ongoing review of public filings on the main Clinton Foundation website and of documents filed in numerous states and foreign nations shows that trustees illegally allowed the presidential archive and research center in Little Rock, Arkansas, to use unregistered offices, open bank accounts, create subsidiaries and affiliates in numerous places, and solicit donations to further purposes that are not explicitly authorized in the articles of incorporation, by the IRS, the state of Arkansas, or in other U.S. or foreign governments as being validly tax-exempt.
Until recently, few seemed to care. But do not assume U.S. authorities (federal and state) are alone in investigating the long Clinton Foundation record.
For example, years ago, the French government attempted to unravel what might have happened to hundreds of millions of dollars it directed toward the Clintons to “fight HIV/AIDS internationally.”
Late in 2009 through 2011, France and the U.S. had different leaders and priorities, but much has changed in the years since. Government debts in both nations have soared, and taxpayer patience is stretched thin. The same can be said of other countries as well.
One must remember: All things, good and bad alike, eventually must end. To be continued.
Charles Ortel, a retired investment banker, concentrates on exposing complex frauds in his new career as an investigator, writer and commentator. Since August 2017, he has been hosting the “Sunday with Charles” podcast and covering the Clinton Foundation case in depth using publicly available source materials.