NY Times : Clinton Foundation Rife with Cronyism

On Wednesday, the New York Times ran a blistering investigative report revealing the Clinton Foundation as a nonprofit rife with crony capitalist conflicts of interest and multi-million dollar deficits despite raking in at least $492 million from 1997 to 2007.

In 2007 and 2008, the Clinton Foundation, which is soon to be renamed the “Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation,” ran a $40 million deficit. Last year, it ran a deficit of over $8 million despite the Foundation and two subsidiaries generating $214 million in revenues.

Hillary Clinton plans to relocate her offices to the Foundation’s Manhattan headquarters in the weeks to come. Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Clinton planned to use the Foundation as a “launching pad into 2016,” a reference to her potential presidential run.

The nexus between Clinton Foundation donors, foreign governments, and corporate interests has long been a concern to government watchdog groups. As of 2008, the Clinton Foundation raised at least $46 million from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, and other foreign governments—the very governments Secretary of State Hillary Clinton eventually negotiated with. Wealthy foreign investors, like Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid and Indian politician Amar Singh gave at least $1 million each.

Previous news accounts have chronicled how Clinton Foundation donors have profited. In 2004, New York developer Robert Congel donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Shortly thereafter, Sen. Hillary Clinton reportedly helped the developer bag millions in federal assistance for his mall project. Congel and Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson denied any crony pay-to-play connection.

The New York Times says the cronyism and conflicts have reached critical mass. “The Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest,” reports the Times. “It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.”

Despite the apparent fiscal mismanagement, well-connected Clinton allies appear to be doing quite well. In 2009, Douglas Band, whom Clinton insiders describe as a “kind of surrogate son to Mr. Clinton,” co-founded Teneo, a consultancy that has since hired Hillary Clinton confidante and disgraced mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner spouse Huma Abedin. As the Times explains:

Mr. Band poached executives from Wall Street, recruited other Clinton aides to join as employees or advisers and set up shop in a Midtown office formerly belonging to one of the country’s top hedge funds….Teneo worked on retainer, charging monthly fees as high as $250,000, according to current and former clients.  The firm recruited clients who were also Clinton Foundation donors while Mr. Band and Mr. Kelly encourage4d others to become new foundation donors….Some Clinton aides and foundation employees began to wonder where the foundation ended and Teneo began.

Among Teneo’s earliest clients was now-defunct MF Global, run by disgraced Obama bundler Jon S. Corzine.

The Times says Chelsea Clinton “became increasingly concerned” that Band and Teneo’s outside business were negatively impacting the Foundation.

Now, the Times says Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea Clinton are gearing up for a $250 million fundraising push as Hillary prepares to use the Foundation “as a base for her to home in on issues and build up a stable of trusted staff members who could form the core of a political campaign.”


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