Former U.S. President Bill Clinton walks on stage at the Clinton Global Initiative. (AP)
While everyone’s been gearing up for President Trump’s inauguration, the Clinton Foundation made a major announcement this week that went by with almost no notice: For all intents and purposes, it’s closing its doors.
In a tax filing, the Clinton Global Initiative said it’s firing 22 staffers and closing its offices, a result of the gusher of foreign money that kept the foundation afloat suddenly drying up after Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency.
It proves what we’ve said all along: The Clinton Foundation was little more than an influence-peddling scheme to enrich the Clintons, and had little if anything to do with “charity,” either overseas or in the U.S. That sound you heard starting in November was checkbooks being snapped shut in offices around the world by people who had hoped their donations would buy access to the next president of the United States.
And why not? There was a strong precedent for it in Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. While serving as the nation’s top diplomat, the Clinton Foundation took money from at least seven foreign governments — a clear breach of Clinton’s pledge on taking office that there would be total separation between her duties and the foundation.
Is there a smoking gun? Well, of the 154 private interests who either officially met or had scheduled phone talks with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, at least 85 were donors to the Clinton Foundation or one of its programs.
In November, we asked the question: “Is The Clinton Foundation Doomed?” The answer is yes.
All the way back in May, we outlined how the Clinton Foundation had taken in $100 million from a collection of Gulf sheikhs and billionaires, along with millions from private businesses, who expected — and received — special access to the State Department’s top official, Hillary.
In his 2015 book “Clinton Cash,” author Peter Schweizer showed how during Hillary’s years in government “the Clintons have conducted or facilitated hundreds of large transactions (either as private citizens or government officials) with foreign governments, corporations and private financiers.” He called the sums going to the Clintons “staggering.”
Using the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch in August obtained emails (that had been hidden from investigators) showing that Clinton’s top State Department aide, Huma Abedin, had given “special expedited access to the secretary of state” for those who gave $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Many of those were facilitated by a former executive of the foundation, Doug Band, who headed Teneo, a shell company that managed the Clintons’ affairs.
As part of this elaborate arrangement, Abedin was given special permission to work for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and Teneo — another very clear conflict of interest.
As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time, “These new emails confirm that Hillary Clinton abused her office by selling favors to Clinton Foundation donors.”
The seedy saga doesn’t end there. Indeed, there are so many facets to it, some may never be known. But there is still at least one and possibly four active federal investigations into the Clintons’ supposed charity.
Americans aren’t willing to forgive and forget. Earlier this month, the IBD/TIPP Poll asked Americans whether they would like President Obama to pardon Hillary for any crimes she may have committed as secretary of state, including the illegal use of an unsecured homebrew email server. Of those queried, 57% said no. So if public sentiment is any guide, the Clintons’ problems may just be beginning.
Writing in the Washington Post in August of 2016, Charles Krauthammer pretty much summed up the whole tawdry tale: “The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc.,” he wrote. “Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons’ lifestyle (offices, travel accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration.”
Except, now there is no Clinton Restoration. So there’s no reason for any donors to give money to the foundation. It lays bare the fiction of a massive “charitable organization,” and shows it for what it was: a scam to sell for cash the waning influence of the Democrats’ pre-eminent power couple. As far as the charity landscape goes, the Clinton Global Initiative won’t be missed.