The Clinton Global Initiative announced that it would be closing its doors for good on April 15th, 2017. The Clinton Global Initiative is the largest of the Clinton Foundation’s programs. According to the Clinton Foundation website:
“The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes leaders to drive action through its unique model. Rather than directly implementing projects, CGI facilitates actions by helping members connect, collaborate and make effective and measurable Commitments to Action. The CGI model drives action among its members in the following four ways: Inspiration..Networking…Knowledge Building…Collaboration.”
I’m not sure exactly what those words mean – and finding concrete descriptions of CGI’s actual activities is not that easy – but one thing about CGI is clear. The Clinton Global Initiative was the primary doorway connecting the Clintons to corporate and foreign donors interested in gaining political access to Washington. And the Clinton Foundation had been very good at collecting donations. Note that I used the past tense. Since Hillary’s presidential loss, foreign donations have plummeted. The Australian government confirmed it has not renewed any of its partnerships with the Clinton Foundation ending a contribution streak that totaled $88 million over ten years. Norway slashed their donations by almost 90% from $20 million per year. Germany has quietly inferred it will stop any donations after it was disclosed that Merkel had directed $5 million of German taxpayer money into Hillary’s campaign fund in late 2016. These donation cuts were simply the latest – and unlike others these were publicly announced. The Clinton Foundation’s latest 2015 tax filings noted donations were down 37% from the prior tax period. Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer stated in an interview that he had heard donations to the Foundation had plummeted as much as 70% in 2016. Marquee speakers cancelled on the 2016 CGI Conference in New York and the WSJ reported that at least six major corporations that had been long-time CGI sponsors did not make donations this past year.
The Clintons have always disavowed any pay to play allegations that have swirled around the Clinton Foundation and have staunchly defended the Foundation as a real charity – although they often struggled to come up with examples of actual projects and an accounting of where the massive amounts of donations have gone.
Which leads to one very simple question. If the Clinton Foundation is and always was a legitimate charity why would the Clinton Global Initiative need to close down? The Clintons had announced – after political pressure from both Republicans and Democrats – that CGI would close its operations if Hillary won the presidency – but she unexpectedly lost. So, why the closure?
The answer is, of course, the obvious one. The Clinton Foundation is – and always has been – all about financial access to power represented by the Clintons. That power is now gone and so are the donations. Looked at another way, if the Clinton Foundation had always been a pure charity than nothing should have changed – poor people in the world still need help and assistance – and the recognizable Clinton name should be well poised to continue to generate that help. Donations that were being made before – if those donations came in for purely charitable reasons – should continue to be made now. But they are not.
As Sean Davis, co-founder of the web magazine The Federalist, tweeted:
“Sustainable and effective charities don’t close up shop just because someone lost an election. CGI’s demise is proof it was never a charity.”
Author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza noted:
“When you can’t sell influence any more, the customers start leaving and the business shuts down.”
And my personal favorite – from National Review’s Jonah Goldberg:
“You would think the Clintons would keep the CGI going out of their own pocket for another year, just to avoid confirming the obvious.”
Foreign governments would not suddenly stop charitable donations en masse unless those governmental donations never actually had anything to do with charity in the first place.
Doug Band, long-time “body man” and advisor to President Clinton, had some interesting things to say about CGI and the Clinton Foundation in an email leaked by WikiLeaks – more fully detailed in an earlier post Wiki(d) Leaks – here are some key excerpts:
“WJC (Bill Clinton) …is personally paid by three CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home” – Doug Band
“President Clinton’s business arrangements have yielded more than $30 million for him personally with $66 million to be paid out over the next nine years, should he choose to continue with the current arrangements” – Doug Band
“We have dedicated ourselves to helping the President secure and engage in for-profit activities” – Doug Band
“We have also solicited and obtained, as appropriate, in-kind services for the President and his family – for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like” – Doug Band
“We have been fortunate to raise funds…to help defray additional Foundation costs by securing in-kind gifts of private airplanes for Foundation trips, office space for CGI (saving $5 million over 5 years), $2 million through an arrangement that I made with Sonia Gardner to relieve the Foundation’s obligation to the AHA initiative, raising $21 million for the 65th birthday, $2 million when the President recovered from his heart surgery and many other arrangements of this kind to fundraise. We have achieved these outcomes primarily through developing, cultivating and maintaining a global network of donors.” – Doug Band
I noted earlier how the Clinton Global Initiative served as the primary doorway connecting the Clintons to corporate and foreign donors interested in gaining political access. In every single example laid out in Mr. Band’s email, initial corporate or foreign “donations” to the Clinton Foundation started with the payment for an annual membership to the Clinton Global Initiative – and these “donations” then grew dramatically in size each successive year.
The closing of the Clinton Global Initiative affirms what many have been saying for years – the Clinton Foundation is the most massive and far-reaching “Pay-for-Play” scheme ever seen. I hope that CGI’s closing signals the beginning of the end for the Clinton Foundation itself.
A charity it is not.
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