WikiLeaks: The Clinton Foundation Scandal Cycle Spinning New Complications

Related Stories The Disastrous Clinton Post-PresidencyIf This Is the Best Defense of the Clinton Foundation, She’s in Trouble The Clinton Foundation scandal cycle is already spinning off new complications. A case in point: After being the subject of a spate of negative newspaper accounts about potential conflicts of interest and management dysfunction this winter — long before Clinton Cash — the Clinton Foundation wound up on a “watchlist” maintained by the Charity Navigator, the New Jersey-based nonprofit watchdog. The Navigator, dubbed the “most prominent” nonprofit watchdog by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, is a powerful and feared player in the nonprofit world. Founded in 2002, it ranks more than 8,000 charities and is known for its independence. For a while, the Clinton Foundation was happy to promote Charity Navigator’s work (back when they were awarded its highest ranking). In September 2014, in fact, the Navigator’s then-CEO, Ken Berger, was invited to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative. Of course that was before the Foundation was placed on a list with scandal-plagued charities like Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and the Red Cross. Since March, the Foundation has embarked on an aggressive behind-the-scenes campaign to get removed from the list. Clinton Foundation officials accuse the Navigator of unfairly targeting them, lacking credible evidence of wrongdoing, and blowing off numerous requests for a meeting to present their case. “They’re not only punishing us for being transparent but are not being transparent themselves,” Maura Pally, the Foundation’s acting-CEO, told me by phone from Morocco last week. “Charity Navigator doesn’t disclose its donors but we do and yet that means we’re suffering the consequences.” Navigator executives counter that the Foundation has demanded they extend the Clintons special treatment. They also allege the Foundation attempted to strong-arm them by calling a Navigator board member. “They felt they were of such importance that we should deviate from our normal process. They were irritated by that,” says Berger. The feud is a microcosm of all that is exhausting about the Clintons’ endless public battles. Generally, it goes like this: bad press about their lack of transparency sparks some real world consequence or censure, the Clintons complain that they’re being held to an unfair standard while their critics contend that they expect to be able to write their own rules, and the resulting flare-up leads to more bad press. The trouble with Navigator started on Wednesday morning, March 11. Foundation officials became alarmed when they received an anonymous email from the watchdog’s Donor Advisory committee informing them they would be added to the list on Friday, March 13, unless they could provide answers to questions raised in newspaper accounts. Among the press controversies the Navigator cited: A Wall Street Journal report that noted “at least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during [Hillary Clinton’s] tenure donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation.” Politico, meanwhile, revealed that the Foundation failed to report to the State Department a $500,000 donation from the Algerian government, a violation of the ethics agreement the Clintons had arranged with the Obama White House. Politico also reported that the Foundation’s former CEO, Eric Braverman, quit after a “power struggle” with “the coterie of Clinton loyalists who have surrounded the former president for decades.” With the publication of Clinton Cash on the horizon, Clintonworld surely knew landing on the Navigator’s watchlist would be a public relations debacle. By early March, Clinton campaign officials were holding regular war room meetings to orchestrate their defense against the book. Over the next few days, Foundation officials desperately attempted to contact Navigator executives to rebut their claims but, inexplicably, couldn’t get through to anyone on the phone. On the evening of Friday, March 13, Pally sent a detailed email rebuttal. “All of the other organizations on your watchlist have had substantiated allegations of financial, fiscal or other impropriety,” she wrote, according to an email the Foundation provided toNew York. “The stories you cite about the Clinton Foundation merely point to donations, or gossip around our operations, none of which constitute any wrongdoing.” It didn’t work. During a tense phone conversation on the afternoon of March 17, Pally and Berger argued over the merits of the media’s claims about the Foundation. Pally said they were without substance; Berger insisted that since the newspapers published the articles, they were relevant. “Our whole thing is: if major media outlets say there’s something here that you should be aware of, we’re not going to be judge and jury on what the media says,” Berger later told me. “We felt there had been enough questions.” As a matter of practice, the Navigator doesn’t conduct its own investigations. On its website, they state: “Charity Navigator…takes no position on allegations made or issues raised by third parties, nor does Charity Navigator seek to confirm or verify the accuracy of allegations made or the merits of issues raised by third parties that may be referred to in the CN Watchlist.” The Navigator invited the Foundation to respond publicly on their website. Instead, Pally asked Berger to meet and review confidential copies of the Foundation’s handbook, “Global Code of Conduct,” and board bylaws. Berger declined, feeling it was another effort of back-room dealing and spin. “We were not opposed to having a sit-down meeting. The point was, what is it that we’re going to cover? We’ve already been around the block. What’s the value of this?” Last week, after I contacted the Foundation about being on the watchlist, Pally rekindled talks with the Navigator. “I remain at a loss as to what information we can provide to address Charity Navigator’s concerns and be removed from the Watchlist,” she wrote Tim Gamory, the Navigator’s acting CEO. (Berger left the group last month to start his own consulting business.) Sure enough, the watchlist designation has provided Clinton’s antagonists with more ammunition with which to attack Hillary’s campaign. Already, critics are citing Charity Navigator’s list as a reason to open a federal investigation into the Clintons’ finances. For its part, the Clinton camp sees the episode as another reason to feel aggrieved. But even some Clinton advisers have been frustrated that they don’t appear to have learned from past self-inflicted wounds. One source told me that last year, a senior adviser lobbied the Foundation to appoint a Republican co-chairman to its board, which was stacked with Clinton loyalists. The adviser submitted a list of GOP names. “It was to shield [the Clintons] from the things they’re reading about now,” the source said. “It didn’t happen.” Unfortunately for Hillary’s campaign, the Navigator’s policy is that charities that land on the list stay there for a minimum of six months. Sandra Miniutti, the Navigator’s spokesperson, told me that, in order to get off the list, the Clintons need to publicly address each of the controversies raised by the media with a convincing response. The clock is ticking. Under pressure, Clinton Foundation’s Canadian arm reveals 21 donors <http://www.sentinelsource.com/news/mct/under-pressure-clinton-foundation-s-canadian-arm-reveals-donors/article_15e0c887-62ce-5971-a2aa-3414e76c22b3.html&gt; // McClatchy // Greg Gordon – May 10, 2015 WASHINGTON — Under pressure to lift the veil of secrecy over who bankrolled his Canadian charity that’s affiliated with the Clinton Foundation, Vancouver-based mining mogul Frank Giustra late Friday released the names of 21 of its largest donors, most with connections to the mining and oil-drilling industries. The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada) did not list the amounts of the various donations. It said it only disclosed the identities of those leading contributors who provided written authorization, while releasing a second legal opinion asserting that under Canadian law, the rest of its 1,100 contributors should be kept confidential unless they agree to be identified. Those named include Giustra, a major Clinton Foundation benefactor who has forged a globetrotting philanthropic partnership with former President Bill Clinton, Giustra’s estranged wife, Alison Lawton, and his family foundation. The partnership’s secrecy has triggered controversy because the contributors’ money ultimately benefited the U.S.-based foundation that Clinton built into a global force to fight poverty and disease, posing possible undisclosed conflicts of interest for his wife, Hillary Clinton, during her tenure as secretary of state between 2009 and 2013. Disclosures about these entanglements — and questions about whether some are being concealed — are now dogging Hillary Clinton as she seeks the Democratic presidential nomination. Before she took office, the Clinton Foundation agreed to disclose all of its donors and to limit donations from foreign governments. On its website, the foundation lists the names of more than 300,000 donors, organizing them by dollar ranges, and says it will update the list quarterly during her presidential candidacy. The Canadian affiliate said Friday it has taken no donations from foreign governments. While Giustra says the Canadian partnership turns over all of its revenue to the Clinton Foundation, it operates as a separate entity. Giustra said this week that $16 million of the money was raised at a star-studded 2008 gala on Toronto’s waterfront, which was attended by some 1,200 people. Most of the donors identified Friday fit into a tight ring of Giustra’s present and former mining industry friends, associates and financiers. Prominent among those listed was Ian Telfer, whose company, Uranium One, swallowed Giustra’s firm, handing him windfall profits, after it won the right to mine key uranium deposits in Kazakhstan and in the United States. The New York Times has reported that Giustra’s UrAsia Energy Inc. consummated a deal for the Kazakhstan deposits in 2005, days after Giustra and Bill Clinton met with the country’s president, though Giustra has contended the purchase would have gone forward anyway. Public records reviewed by McClatchy show that Telfer’s Fernwood Foundation, which also was among those named, donated $2.45 million to the Clinton Giustra Canadian partnership over several years. Sergey Kurzin, a Russian-born engineer who has publicly taken credit for arranging the meeting involving Clinton and Kazakhstan’s president, also acknowledged donating. The Toronto Globe and Mail reported in 2008 that Kurzin pledged $1 million at the gala. Kurzin also gave $50,000 to $100,000 directly to the Clinton Foundation. However, the biggest donors to the Canada partnership were Giustra, who has pledged $100 million to the Clinton Foundation and donated more than $30 million directly so far, and his Radcliffe Foundation, which gave more than $18 million between 2007 and 2013, according to public records. Others on the list include: —Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp., a Canadian petroleum firm in which Giustra invested and which pursued drilling interests in Colombia. —Gran Colombia Gold Corp., a Canadian firm with mining interests in the South American nation. —Endeavour Mining Corp., a Canadian-based gold mining firm, and its chief executive officer, Neil Woodyer. —Stephen Dattels, a British-based mining industry financier. —GMP Securities, LP, a Canadian firm that has been instrumental in underwriting mining ventures. —B2Gold Corp., a Canadian gold-mining firm. —Sam Magid, a former business Giustra business partner. —The London-based Dragon Group of companies, which deal in silver, copper and diamonds. For the Clintons, a big question: What to do with Bill? <http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-the-clintons-a-big-question-what-to-do-with-bill/2015/05/10/1f5b6212-f4db-11e4-bcc4-e8141e5eb0c9_story.html&gt; // WaPo // Phillip Rucker – May 10, 2015 MARRAKESH, Morocco — The scene that unfolded here last week as Bill Clinton convened world leaders for a philanthropic conference was hardly what his wife’s champion-for-everyday-Americans campaign would have ordered up. Gathered in Marrakesh for a Clinton Global Initiative confab, foreign oligarchs and corporate titans mingled amid palm trees, decorative pools and dazzling tiled courtyards with the former president and his traveling delegation of foundation donors — many of whom are also donors to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign. When daughter Chelsea moderated a discussion on women’s empowerment, the only male panelist was Morocco’s richest person, Othman Benjelloun, whose BMCE Bank is a CGI sponsor. For the week’s biggest party, guests were chauffeured across the city to an opulent 56-room palace that boasts a private collection of Arabian horses, overlooks the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and serves a fine-dining menu of “biolight” cuisine. Ahead of that event, Bill Clinton greeted Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal. “See you tonight, Turki,” he told his royal highness. It was a long way from Hillary Clinton’s campaign-trail visits to Chipotle. The luxe week in Morocco highlighted the over­arching question facing the Clintons and their co­existing circles of political advisers: What to do with Bill? The question applies not only to the campaign but also to his role as first gentleman if she gets elected. In a presidential race that could include two dozen candidates, none has a spouse like Bill Clinton — a former president whose sprawling charitable ventures are rife with potential conflicts of interest; an admired public figure whose common touch propelled his rise but who now charges up to $500,000 to give a speech; a curious ideas man whose penchant for speaking his mind drives news cycles; and a globe-trotting icon whose recognizable tuft of white hair draws onlookers everywhere, from his old Arkansas haunts to the bustling souks around Marrakesh’s central square. Bill Clinton is a political animal who logged 168,000 miles on the campaign trail in 2014. Yet senior aides say he does not plan to do any campaign activities for his wife in 2015, including fundraisers for her campaign or allied super PACs. He has said privately that she should lead the campaign on her own, aides said. “He’s completely focused right now on the foundation,” said Tina Flournoy, Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. “That does not mean that he does not realize his wife is running for president. But he is not directly engaged in the campaign. As he has said before, if his advice is asked for, he’s happy to give it.” But even if he’s off the campaign trail, Bill Clinton is never out of the limelight. He will remain prominent in the public eye with a busy schedule of appearances, including visits this week to a Harlem food festival and next month to Little Rock for a charity ball. In mid-June, he will be in Denver to host CGI America, a domestic-themed spinoff of his foundation conference. On Tuesday, he’ll be on the “Late Show with David Letterman.” He will also speak for pay at Univision’s presentation to advertisers in New York on Tuesday. The prominent Spanish-language television network is owned in part by Haim Saban, a foundation and campaign donor who hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton last week at his Beverly Hills mansion. One strategist said Hillary Clinton, shown here with Bill Clinton and former senator Tom Harkin, should not campaign with her husband: “It’s hard to shine when you’re standing next to the sun.” (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press) “Bill Clinton is like nuclear energy,” said David Axelrod, a strategist on President Obama’s campaigns. “If you use it properly, it can be enormously helpful and proactive. If you misuse it, it can be catastrophic.” ‘A supporting spouse’ Keeping the former president at a distance is one way the 2016 Clinton campaign is trying to prove it has learned from the mistakes of 2008. Although as her aides know well, it is impossible to truly isolate him from her campaign. “He is a very smart political strategist and practitioner,” said Ann Lewis, a longtime Hillary Clinton adviser. “He has never thought that politics is beneath him. He believes that politics is the way that we govern ourselves.” Bill Clinton has many assets. He is universally known and unusually popular; 73 percent of voters approved of his job performance as president in a Washington Post-ABC News poll in March, while his personal favorability rating stood at 65 percent in a CNN-ORC poll in March. He also is considered one of the Democratic Party’s most talented communicators; his 2012 convention speech was a standout moment in support of Obama’s reelection. “Any conversation about Bill Clinton and his impact on the campaign has to start with the fact that Americans like him and they’ve liked him for a long time,” said Geoff Garin, a pollster for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign who now works for Priorities USA, a pro-Clinton super PAC. But as Bill Clinton showed in 2008, he can be an undisciplined and rogue surrogate. Some of the ugliest episodes in his wife’s campaign were his making, including his stray remarks about Obama that angered black voters in South Carolina and his behind-the-scenes meddling in the campaign’s strategy. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), who feuded with Bill Clinton in 2008 over what he saw as race-baiting, said in a recent interview that the former president should be “a supporting spouse” this time around. “He should refrain from doing anything or saying anything that would take the attention off of her candidacy,” said Clyburn, who has not endorsed anyone in the 2016 race. “It’s got to be about Hillary. It’s got to be about her vision, and he’s got to be supportive of that.” Axelrod, recalling the Clintons’ joint appearance in the fall at retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s steak fry in Iowa, said it would be foolish for the them to campaign together regularly. “It’s hard to shine when you’re standing next to the sun,” he said recently. “He’s a luminescent character, and it is diminishing to have him out there at her side.” Aides insisted that Bill Clinton is not calling up campaign aides, devouring polls or mapping out strategies. The campaign has no “Bill whisperer” tasked with managing him, although Flournoy is in regular contact with top aides at Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters. The former president also has long-standing relationships with campaign chairman John D. Podesta and other advisers. The Clintons speak to each other often, sometimes multiple times a day, but usually about personal matters and rarely about the nity-gritty of her race, aides said. Some days, he doesn’t know where she’s campaigning. And on the Africa trip, he was more attuned to the British elections — glued to the BBC — than to her campaign. One afternoon in April, Bill Clinton looked up at a television in his midtown Manhattan office and saw the grainy security-camera photo of his wife and her aide, Huma Abedin, at a Chipotle in Ohio, appearing incognito in dark sunglasses. He turned to aides and wondered, “What are she and Huma doing? Are they robbing that place?” Far away, but still making news As Hillary Clinton raised money in California last week, Bill Clinton was about as far away as he could get, visiting the family foundation’s projects in Africa and convening the CGI meeting in Morocco. Yet he was still making big headlines. In an interview with NBC News in Kenya, he appeared testy while defending the foundation’s foreign fundraising. He also said he would continue giving six-figure paid speeches: “I’ve got to pay our bills,” he said, sounding out of touch, considering he has reported earning $105 million in speaking fees over 12 years. There were other awkward moments as well. As Bill Clinton wrapped up the CGI meeting in Morocco, a top Coca-Cola executive joined him onstage to announce a $4.5 million program to help African youths obtain job skills and career counseling. Then Curtis A. Ferguson, the company’s regional president, shifted to the sales pitch. “I hope they’re thirsty,” he said, referring to the young Africans. Then he said he wanted to “share a Coke with Bill,” pulling out a Coke bottle inscribed with the former president’s first name in Arabic. They posed for photos holding the bottle, smiling. But much of the Africa trip — which stretched for 10 days and included stops in Tanzania, Kenya, Liberia and Morocco — was aimed at showcasing the good works of the foundation and its partners. At a hearing-aid fitting in Kenya, Bill Clinton witnessed a young man hearing the voice of his sister for the first time. In Tanzania, he met farmer Wazia Chawala, a single mother with seven children, who with foundation help has improved crop yields with modern soil, seed and crop-rotation techniques. Clinton also visited a drab Nairobi laboratory, where he listened to a presentation on tracking carbon emissions and rainfall patterns so farmers could improve their yields. When he asked the donors with him if they had any questions, Drew Houston, the chief executive of Dropbox, asked, “What were your biggest technical challenges?” For Clinton and his staff, it was a proud moment of synergy — the founder of one of the world’s largest cloud-computing companies asking a Kenyan lab technician a question about uploading data to the cloud. Clinton, who declined a request to be interviewed for this report, is grappling with what the future might hold. He is continuing to raise money for the foundation, where his daughter has assumed a greater leadership role. Last year, the foundation raised a $250 million endowment to provide long-term stability in his absence. His advisers understand that the foundation’s activities could complicate a Hillary Clinton presidency. “In his heart and mind, I think he wants there to always be a scenario where his foundation is doing the work that he’s deeply invested in,” Flournoy said. “How does that look, and what does experience and time and history mean you might have to change? We don’t know. But this is his life’s work.” ‘What does she want me to do?’ Bill Clinton says his role would be determined by his wife. “What does she want me to do?” he said in an interview last week with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “I have no idea.” One option is that Hillary Clinton could draft him as a special envoy somewhere or give him a portfolio in her administration. He is continually fascinated by science, aides said, and lately has been thinking about creating a fairer economy. He also has talked about bringing together corporate partners to rebuild Baltimore after last month’s riots. A return of the Clintons to the White House would also usher in a blurring of traditional gender roles, not to mention titles: Bill Clinton’s aides still refer to him as “the president.” “Even if he were assigned the responsibility of picking out china, I think others would probably overrule him on taste,” said Skip Rutherford, a longtime adviser and friend. “People used to kid him about picking out his crazy ties. I can’t imagine.” The closest historical parallel is Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. During Franklin’s presidency, Eleanor earned personal income from paid speeches, newspaper columns and a weekly radio show, which was sponsored by Simmons mattresses, said Carl Anthony, a historian at the National First Ladies’ Library. He said she gave most of her income to the March of Dimes Foundation, which her husband founded to combat polio. “She made a lot of money on her own, but not without a congressional investigation and media attacks on her commercializing the presidency,” Anthony said. Fred Wertheimer, president of the reform group Democracy 21, said the couple should completely withdraw from the charity if Hillary Clinton wins: “Change the name of the foundation, and make a clean break.” Foundation supporters believe otherwise. “It would probably be one of the greatest wastes of human talent in the history of the world” for Bill Clinton to withdraw, said Jay Jacobs, a major donor who traveled with him to Africa. “How do you say to these poor farmers, to mothers whose children can’t hear, ‘Sorry, no more because politics can’t abide by it?’ That would be morally wrong.” Paul: Clinton made Libya a ‘jihadist wonderland’ <http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/241555-paul-clinton-made-libya-a-jihadist-wonderland&gt; // The Hill // Mark Hensch – May 10, 2015 Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) argued Sunday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s policies had created a terrorist utopia in Libya. “Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya, I think, made it less safe,” Paul told host John Catsimatidis on his New York radio show “The Cats Roundtable.” “It was a big mistake for us to go in there in the first place, because a lot of the times when we topple secular dictators, we’ve gotten chaos and then we’ve gotten the rise of radical Islam,” he said of Clinton’s decision in 2011 to help oust then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. “It made it a hotbed for jihadists,” Paul added. “And, in fact, I Libya is now a jihadist wonderland.” Paul’s harsh criticism comes as the 2016 presidential race first heats up. The Kentucky lawmaker is seeking the GOP nomination, while Clinton is pursuing the Democratic bid. Paul on Sunday additionally touted his liberty credentials as the best in the entire 2016 field. “I’m one of the few in the race that thinks that we need to defend the country, but sometimes being involved in foreign war doesn’t help us,” he said. “And I’m one of the few who thinks we need to talk about defending the entire Bill of Rights, not just a couple of ones cherry-picked here and there,” Paul said. Paul said among the GOP contenders, he stood out for his opposition to the nation’s current intelligence policies. “I’m probably the only Republican in the race who thinks that the government shouldn’t be collecting all of our phone records … without a warrant,” he said. “I want to be a part of the leave-me-alone coalition, which basically says if you’re not hurting anybody, the government, particularly the federal government, ought to stay out of your life,” Paul added. Paul’s remarks followed a federal appeals court ruling Thursday that the bulk warrantless collection of phone records by the National Security Agency was illegal. The GOP senator hailed that judgment Friday as a “monumental decision for all lovers of liberty.” He vowed Sunday to continue his work on privacy rights while still making progress on what he saw as the average American’s real concern. “The top three issues are the debt, the debt and the debt,” Paul said. Hillary’s Immigration <http://iowastartingline.com/2015/05/09/sunday-grab-bag-gops-keystone-conundrum-hillarys-immigration-and-isis/&gt; // Iowa Starting Line // Pat Rynard – May 10, 2015 Progressives who decry Hillary Clinton as insufficiently liberal have increasingly fewer examples to point to. This week while in Nevada, Clinton staked out very progressive views on immigration, calling for a full pathway to citizenship, supporting executive actions that are to the left of President Obama’s stances, and signaled strong protection for DREAMers. Immigration activists were absolutely ecstatic with her remarks. Some in the party’s left who distrust Clinton won’t believe it, but her words and the forcefulness in which she delivered them is a big deal. It’s also a fascinating look into Clinton’s electoral strategy. If she wanted to, she could play it safe on certain issues and run a centrist campaign to win over what’s left of America’s swing voters. This is clearly a play at building upon the same coalition of young and ethnically diverse people that Obama used for his victories. Her immigration stance could rejuvenate Hispanic support for Democrats, many of whom have felt burned by Obama’s presidency, a time during which his administration has deported more people than any one before him. All of this is very, very good news on both the policy side of things, but also on the electoral side of the future of the Democratic Party. If Clinton wins White House, an uncertain future awaits her family’s charitable foundation <http://bigstory.ap.org/article/1f7b174b170b44d3a7644f16fdd2555d/if-clinton-wins-family-foundation-faces-uncertain-future&gt; // AP // Julie Pace – May 11, 2015 WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton’s family foundation, already the subject of intense scrutiny in the early days of her White House campaign, faces an uncertain future if she is elected president. Among the unresolved questions: Who would be able to raise money for the Clinton Foundation? Could it begin new projects, both at home and overseas? Is there any way it could operate unburdened by conflicts of interest, real or perceived, while one of its founders sits in the Oval Office? “I’m not sure the rules have been invented to apply to this situation,” said Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector, a network of nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs. While Clinton stepped down from the foundation’s board after launching her 2016 campaign, husband Bill and daughter Chelsea still hold leadership roles. They currently have no plans to stop their fundraising and management activities during the campaign, nor is there a blueprint for their involvement if Hillary Clinton wins the election, people close to the foundation said. Options being considered include Chelsea Clinton taking the helm, with her father playing a more behind-the-scenes role; fully banning the acceptance of donations from abroad; and implementing a more rigorous vetting process for domestic donors. Neither the foundation nor Clinton’s campaign will pledge publicly to give voters answers about the organization’s future before the November 2016 election, but some people close to the Clintons want decisions made before Election Day. The people close to the Clintons and the foundation spoke on condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to speak publicly about internal planning. Campaign officials are also pushing the Clinton Foundation to be more aggressive in answering the criticism of its high-dollar fundraising. The organization has raised more than $2 billion since former President Bill Clinton left office, money it uses to run 11 initiatives focused on global health, climate change, economic development, wellness and opportunities for women and girls. That aggressive fundraising is currently the subject of intense scrutiny, as Republicans and others look for potential conflicts of interests and signs that donors to the foundation sought to influence the Obama administration during Hillary Clinton’s four years as secretary of state. The Clintons deny any improprieties. But the former president has started to hint that if his wife wins the White House, he may have to step down from the organization to avoid blurring the lines between U.S. government policy and the interests of donors. “I might if I were asked to do something in the public interest that I had an obligation to do. Or I might take less of an executive role,” Clinton said in a recent interview with NBC News. “But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Some people close to the Clintons and the foundation say it’s unlikely the former president could continue directly raising money if his wife wins election. But they say that could be a slow and difficult realization for him to come to, given how much of his post-White House legacy is linked to the foundation’s work. “The challenge isn’t necessarily the organization surviving the founders — it’s the founders letting go of the organization,” said Steven Lawrence, the research director at the Foundation Center, an organization that collects data on philanthropic organizations. There is far less certainty about the role Chelsea Clinton might play in the foundation’s future. The 35-year-old has taken on a more direct role in recent years and is an obvious choice to take over from her parents. But despite being well-liked by donors, some question whether she would be able to raise the same level of money as her popular father. Clinton Foundation officials have discussed how to sustain the organization financially if the former president can no longer directly raise money. The conversations with donors and others have focused not just on the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming president, but also the possibility that Bill Clinton’s health leaves him unable to keep up his role as chief fundraiser. A drive launched in 2013 has endowed a $250 million fund to help keep programs running under those circumstances. Donna Shalala, the former Health and Human Services secretary and University of Miami president who takes over as the foundation’s president and chief executive next month, is expected to do her own accounting of its activities. Her appointment is also seen as a signal to donors that there would be continuity in leadership if the Clinton family becomes less involved in its operations. The foundation is also weighing whether new projects, both in the U.S. and abroad, could start during a Clinton presidency, or whether worry about potential conflicts of interest would limit it to its existing work. While the foundation says there were no conflicts during Clinton’s four years as the nation’s chief diplomat, the potential for such conflicts is far greater should she become president. The foundation has already agreed to stop taking money from most foreign governments during her campaign, with exceptions for six Western nations. Campaign officials suggested additional changes to foundation activities are not imminent. Spokesman Brian Fallon said that for now, Clinton is “proud of the foundation’s work and glad that her husband and daughter continue to lead its day-to-day mission.” OTHER DEMOCRATS NATIONAL COVERAGE Sanders: I’m ‘most progressive’ member of Congress <http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/241564-sanders-im-most-progressive-member-of-congress&gt; // The Hill // Mark Hensch – May 10, 2015 Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Sunday that he considered himself the most liberal lawmaker in Congress. “I think it’s fair to say I am perhaps the most progressive member of Congress,” Sanders told host Bob Schieffer on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I am proud of being the longest-serving independent in the history of the United States Congress,” he added. Sanders, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, additionally reiterated his interest in copying some policies from socialist European nations. “We can learn a whole lot from some of those countries,” he said, citing Austria, Denmark and Germany as examples. “College education is free in those countries,” Sanders said of those nations’ undergraduate educational programs. “That makes a lot of sense to me,” he said. Sanders also advocated eliminating the role of wealthy special interests in political campaign spending. “Billionaires like the Koch brothers are owning the political process,” he said of businessmen David and Charles Koch. “Billionaires should not be able to buy elections,” he said. Sanders argued that if elected president, he would additionally vet potential Supreme Court justices by their desire to overturn the landmark Citizens United ruling on campaign contributions. “That decision has undermined U.S. democracy,” he said of the case, which prohibits restrictions on political expenditures from organizations on the basis of free speech. Sanders’s rejection of political action committees is a key part of his 2016 campaign. The Vermont lawmaker argued on Sunday his freedom from wealthy special interests separates him from Hillary Clinton, the other current contender for the Democratic nomination. 

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