Though much has been said concerning the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, analysts have not yet trained enough attention on another tax-exempt organization the Clintons control, the Clinton Family Foundation.
Unlike the better-known charity started almost 21 years ago as an archive and research center for presidential records created during Bill Clinton’s eight-year White House tenure, the second entity — a grant-making charity whose Employer Identification Number is 30-0048438 — was formed in December 2001 and can only make donations to validly organized and operated public charities.
According to information provided by the larger Little Rock-based charity, the Clinton Family Foundation has contributed $5 million to $10 million cumulatively through the end of 2016. For now, let’s concentrate on problems seen through examining history from 2013 through 2017 and leave other problems dating back to 2001 for another day.
Records available through the New York State Attorney General Charities Database (insert “Clinton Family Foundation” or “30-0048438” into relevant search fields) show that the Clinton Family Foundation contributed a total of $3,365,000 in 2014 and 2015 to an entity incorrectly described as the “William J. Clinton Foundation.”
This receiving entity had been renamed the “Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation” on April 9, 2013. These donations were a majority of all grants made (53 percent) by the Family Foundation in those years, so they are material.
In federal income tax forms for the Clinton Family Foundation (found through the New York website), the donations were described as contributions to a “PC” or “public charity” and no relationships are identified as existing among Clinton family members, the larger Little Rock charity, and the Family Foundation.
These claims, made under penalties of perjury in documents signed by Bill Clinton and sent across state lines using the United States Postal Service (USPS), were and remain manifestly false for one primary reason: The larger Little Rock entity ceased being a validly organized and operated public charity effective Nov. 2, 2013, when the Clintons improperly took control in moves that appear to have been hidden from New York State authorities until June 27, 2017.
The New York Times Smells but Misses Real Rats
As the Clinton political machine prepared for the 2016 Democratic presidential election cycle, rivals, potential rivals and others with experience complying with charity laws and regulations began voicing concerns about the public filings of the several tax-exempt Clinton charitable entities.
My own interest in studying the Clinton charity network was piqued by an Aug. 13, 2013, story in The New York Times, written by Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick and titled “Unease at Clinton Foundation over Finances and Ambitions.”
Following Bill Clinton’s vociferous public attempts to rebut criticisms expressed by Confessore and Chozick in an open letter dated Aug. 28, 2013, the Clinton Foundation seemingly strengthened its internal governance by adding numerous persons to its board of directors who were neither relatives nor political allies, including some individuals with either extensive experience operating tax-exempt charities, substantial financial net worth at risk, or both.
But with the Clintons, one must always remember to look carefully beneath the surface while considering all of the strict federal and state rules that regulate American charities. In a lease agreement with the City of Little Rock signed Mar. 1, 2002 (Click here, then go to page 20 of the document), and in a crucial agreement with the National Archives effective Nov. 18, 2004, the Clinton Foundation bound itself to operate “exclusively for charitable and educational purposes” as a 501(c)(3) federally tax-exempt entity and to remain, at all times, a “publicly supported organization” or 509(a)(1).
To comply with its contractual requirements with the Little Rock and with the National Archives, and to meet statutory requirements , the Arkansas-based Clinton Foundation has never been allowed to fall under control of the Clinton family, yet that seems to be exactly what the board of directors authorized and attempted to hide from state government authorities, including those in New York.
But Somebody in Georgia Noticed
Documents obtained from the State of Georgia show that Clinton Foundation directors grievously failed to protect the federal, state and foreign tax-exempt status of the Arkansas Foundation on or after early November 2013. In the initial 2012 tax filing submitted in 2013 and the amended 2012 tax filing submitted in 2015 the Arkansas Clinton Foundation claimed just three directors: Bruce Lindsey (also a paid officer), then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (a long-time friend, political ally, and fundraiser) and daughter Chelsea Clinton.
According to the Georgia records, effective Nov. 2, 2013, the Clinton Foundation attempted to concentrate control over its operations in the hands of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton by naming these three family members “Class A directors.”
They also awarded extraordinary powers to the Clintons as Class A directors, including authority to control all aspects of the charity’s work in between official meetings of the board without oversight of Class B directors.
Only on June 27, 2017, did the Arkansas Clinton Foundation file amended bylaws in the Clintons’ adopted home state of New York that explained the move to a Class A and Class B structure. Strangely, this version only lists Bill and Chelsea as the sole Class A directors from Sep. 10, 2015, onward despite 2013 actions of the board.
So far, Georgia is the only state in which the Nov. 2, 2013, amended bylaws have been located. Pennsylvania learned of the 2015 change on Dec. 2, 2016, while many other states that enforce significant charity laws seem to remain blissfully unaware of the multiple vexing and, as yet unprosecuted, problems seen in the public filings of the Clinton foundations.
Meanwhile, we wait to see exactly what the IRS has been investigating since July 2016 and what the FBI has been doing since January 2018. Which of the 50 state attorneys general will be the first to hold Clinton family members accountable to applicable laws?
Or have the Clintons won lifetime immunity from prosecution for any criminal offense simply because Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election?
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.
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