Politics

Red Flags Show Clinton Foundation Abusing California’s Charity Disclosure Regs

Filing mandatory annual reports months late and failing to disclose required details about grants and spending are just two of many signs

During 2016, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) was the largest and most visible piece of the Clinton charity empire, lauded by many and criticized by some for its work around the world in “fighting HIV/AIDS internationally.”

But look past the stream of public relations claims and unquestioning media coverage, and what comes into view are so many red flags it’s difficult to decide where to start. So let’s just start here: In California, CHAI filed a RRF-1 Report for 2016 on Feb. 28, 2018, 105 days late.

A summary suggests that CHAI reported $143 million in revenue to California for 2016; however, this report and key disclosures concerning government grants are not yet posted on the website maintained by the California attorney general’s Registry of Charitable Trusts, as was required by Nov. 15, 2017.

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According to Part VI, Section C, line 17 of CHAI’s 2016 annual report to the IRS on Form 990 (available in the Key Documents portion of the CHAI website), reports concerning 2016 may have been filed in 10 states, including California (see page 6).

In Part VIII, on line 1h, CHAI declared $142.7 million in total revenue, and, on line 1e, $66 million in government grants to the IRS, yet CHAI still has not filed mandatory disclosures in California concerning the particulars of government grants it received during 2016.

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Government grants normally entail significant due diligence by each donor, including requirements placed on recipient charities to file detailed after-action reports and even more rigorous audits explaining how a given government’s contribution was actually spent. In many cases, these reports are available to the public at large.

Why would the governments that contributed 46 percent of CHAI’s 2016 revenues fail to care that CHAI had not bothered to meet filing requirements in the key state of California? And were CHAI’s sloppy filing practices in 2016 an aberration, or part of a continuing pattern and practice of disregard for state and federal charitable laws and regulations?

CHAI’s Registration Renewal Fee (RRF) Report for 2015 was filed 70 days late on Jan, 24, 2017. Note CHAI told the federal authorities that during 2015 it received a total of $91 million in government grants, according to its IRS Form 990 (see page 9, Part VIII, line 1e).

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Since the total of all grants and contributions came to $171 million (line 1h), that means government grants were a majority (53 percent) and therefore an important component of 2015 CHAI revenues. But which governments contributed most to CHAI in 2015? (Governments were $91,190,815, and the total [Part VIII, line 1h] was $170,688,566, so the percentage was 53.4 percent.)

According to that late 2015 report to California, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the only American government entity that donated to CHAI. In contrast, 10 foreign governments may have supported CHAI during 2015: Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Ireland, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

(To see these foreign grants, go here. Then punch in 271414646 to the FEIN field and hit the link for the foundation. When the results emerge, you will see a link for the 2015 RRF-1. Pages two and three of this link confirm the above details on government grants.)

In addition, on March 13, 2017, California sent a delinquency notice to CHAI, in which CHAI was reminded to supply information for 2015 concerning “all government funding, foreign and domestic … with the name of agency, mailing address, contact person, and telephone number.”

This notice, sent under the letterhead of Xavier Becerra, warned one year ago: “Unless the [requested information is] filed … within thirty (30) days … the California Franchise Tax Board will be notified to disallow [CHAI’s] tax exemption … The Franchise Tax Board may revoke the organization’s tax exempt status at which point the organization will be treated as a taxable corporation …”

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As of this writing, compliance forms concerning the Clinton Foundation in 2016, and its CHAI in 2015 and 2016, do not appear on the California website, yet both organizations actively solicit contributions in California, in most U.S. states, and in numerous foreign nations.

A state that will not enforce its own laws will attract hardened criminals, including those who operate charities as slush funds for personal enrichment and political advantage.

Does anyone in California care?

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.To read Ortel’s earlier op-eds for LifeZette on the Clinton Foundation, click here

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