Monday, December 22, 2008

Is the Clinton Foundation a "Conflict of Interest for Hillary"?

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann claim that the 205,000 donors who have given close to $500 million to the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation create a clear conflict of interest for Hilary Clinton's appointment to Secretary of State.

The question before the American public is how can Hillary Clinton successfully negotiate international conflicts in the Middle East and other nations when those same nations are bankrolling her husband's non-profit foundation?

No one is denying that the recently released list of private donors to the Clinton Foundation is comprised of influencial financial and government players.

Morris and McGann allege that a number of former President Clinton's Foundation associates, including ultra wealthy Canadian mining finance Frank Giustra, receive lucrative business contracts because of their association with the Clinton Foundation. Giustra was recently granted a juicy contract to mine uranium in Kazakhstan. Shortly after receiving the contract, Giustra personally contributed somewhere between $10 to $25 million to Clinton's foundation and the Clinton-Guistra Sustainable Growth Initiative of Canada donated an additional $1 to $5 million to the Foundation. Do these contributions create a conflict of interest for Hillary?

Other controversial contributions came from Victor Pinchu, the son in law of the former President of the Ukraine and Lakshmi Mittal, a member of the Foreign Investment Council in Kazakhstan.

UNITAD, a French based organization donated $25 million and recent U.S. federal bailout recipients, AGI, Lehman, Citi, Merrill and General Motors have donated funds to the foundation.

The William J. Clinton Foundation's mission is to "strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence."

The Foundation focuses on four critical areas: health security; economic empowerment; leadership development and citizen service; and racial, ethnic and religious reconciliation. The Foundation works principally through partnerships with like-minded individuals, organizations, corporations, and governments, often serving as an incubator for new policies and programs.

The Charity Navigator gives the Clinton Foundation a 66.80 rating. Readers can review the rating at Charity Navigator. The link is posted at the bottom of the page. I found it interesting that a Washington state based foundation called the Evergreen Freedom Foundation was listed just below Clinton's Foundation. The Charity Navigator stated that the two organizations have similar goals.

In closing, Morris and McGann ask three questions; "how could a U.S. Senator possibly serve dispassionately while her husband was collecting money from these donors on this kind of scale? And how could we have almost elected a president without realizing these conflicts existed? And, how on earth can a secretary of State function with these conflicts hanging over her head?

Which raises a fourth question, How can any elected official, who is wholly dependent on campaign contributions from special interest PACs, wealthy business owners and other self-interested supporters be free of conflicts of interest?

If the William J. Clinton Foundation donor list raises the question of Hilary's ability to provide dispassionate service, shouldn't we also be concerned about the negative effects of campaign contributions on our elected officials?

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann can't have it both ways. If they oppose Hilary Clinton's appointment based solely on contributions to a 501 C-3 non-profit, they should also oppose the use of special interest funds and PACs for political campaigns.

What do our readers think? Does $500 million dollars in contributions to the William J. Clinton Foundation create a conflict of interest for Hillary Clinton?

Check out the facts for yourselves.
William Jefferson Clinton Foundation:
Charity Navigator Rating:
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann's article: 500M PROBLEMS FOR MADAME SECRETARY

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